Essentials provides three levels of application for the concepts taught in each unit. This provides for individualized instruction and the right level of challenge based on the student's needs.
About the Levels
Within each unit in the curriculum, you will find concepts taught to everyone identified with the word All in a dark blue box. You will also find three different levels for spelling, grammar, and vocabulary instruction:
- Level A: beginning (light blue)
- Level B: intermediate (green)
- Level C: advanced (orange)
These three levels provide an appropriate level of difficulty to match and reinforce the spelling words students are learning.
Essentials lessons are designed to reinforce and practice spelling concepts students are learning. While the same phonograms, spelling rules, and grammar concepts are taught at every level, each level provides differentiated application and practice. Therefore, we do not recommend skipping lessons or moving between levels, as many activities are based on previous instruction and practice.
It is important to identify and choose one Essentials level that is the best overall fit for your student using the Essentials Placement Test. There are two versions available:
- Essentials Placement Test printable PDF
- Essentials Placement Test online interactive
Thirty Units of Essentials
We recommend going through all 30 units of Essentials using one level to introduce students to all of the basic phonograms and spelling rules.
Once you have completed an Essentials level through Unit 30, you have the option of repeating the curriculum from the start at a more advanced level. This is a great way to review the key concepts while applying them to more advanced spelling words and morphemes.
We do not recommend skipping lessons or moving between levels as many activities are based on previous instruction and practice that will apply to future learning. While the same phonograms, spelling rules, and grammar concepts are taught at every level, each level provides specific application and practice.
Essentials students should be learning how to spell new words during spelling analysis which are not too easy or too difficult. If a student struggles with reading and spelling high-frequency words, it is best to choose Level A because developing fluency should be the priority before working on more advanced words.
If a student in Level B or C is struggling, it is always appropriate to consider dropping to an easier level. You do not need to go back to the beginning, just begin using the lower level.
An older student using Level B for spelling might enjoy learning a few "challenge" words from Level C. However, we do not recommend moving up midway from a lower level to Level C. It can be challenging and confusing to switch mid-stream because dictation sentences, vocabulary lessons, and other activities are designed for students who have learned all the previous morphemes and spelling words for that level.
If you decide to change levels, be prepared to teach previously taught spelling words and morphemes that the student has not learned as you encounter them.