“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation” – Gordon B. Hinckley
When it comes to literacy development, it is the same as developing a great building. Without a strong foundation, it is difficult and next to impossible to build the understanding to the advanced level. Here comes the need for an effective structured program that addresses the same and works on building the core skills to support early literacy development.
You may end your search here as this post is going to talk about an effective and systematic fundations reading program in detail including what it is, how it functions, and why it is such a powerful teaching resource for reading.
A comprehensive overview of fundations reading program
The Fundations Reading Program is a thorough, research-based literacy course created to teach kids the fundamentals of reading and writing. It was developed by the Wilson Language Training Corporation and is utilized in many American classrooms today.
It is based on the science of reading which says that reading is the result of five critical components: alphabetics (phonics & phonemic awareness), vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension, and fundations reading program focuses on these to ensure a solid foundation and addresses the diverse learning needs of students.
Utilizing the structured literacy approach, Five levels make up the curriculum, which is geared toward young students in kindergarten through third grade and each level adds to the knowledge gained in earlier levels by introducing new skills and ideas.
How does the fundations reading program work?
While concepts like Phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and fluency, can be learned through various games and activities, the understanding of all is given a lot of attention in the Fundations program. Students learn to decode words utilizing the links between sounds and symbols and to use these abilities while reading and writing. In order to read and write, they also gain an awareness of word structure, including syllable kinds and patterns
The curriculum is organized and methodical, and each day’s teachings are delivered in a predictable order. The exercises in the classes range from whole-group teaching through small-group instruction to solo practice. Teachers often employ a range of tools to include their pupils in the learning process, including workbooks, games, and manipulatives.
It has been demonstrated that Fundations, especially for struggling readers, is beneficial in enhancing pupils’ reading and writing abilities. Additionally, it is made to be adaptable, enabling teachers to adapt classes to each student’s requirements.
Fundation Reading Program and MTSS/RTI Framework
Fundations reading program is integral to MTSS and RTI framework that provides systematic and scientifically research-based instruction to tier 1 and tier 2 students to address their reading difficulties. The use of the MTSS and RTI model is to carefully identify students with learning difficulties and provide early intervention in order to prevent their condition from worsening. Also, progress monitoring is built into fundations reading program to help implement the MTSS model and this allows to carefully identify students that require a more intensive program.
In a Tier 1 setting, K-3 students are served and the standard lesson is taught in a regular classroom. Here, fundation is delivered as a prevention program to all the students. Also, specific instruction is provided to advanced students, English language learners (ELLs), and students who need differentiated support to address their learning needs.
Tier 2 fundation is used for the students who do not benefit from Tier 1 instruction. These students receive targeted fundations intervention lessons in small groups for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week. Here, students achieve intensive instruction through small-group, targeted intervention instruction for a specified area of difficulty, and increased interaction time.
The pros of the fundation reading program
There are many advantages to using the Fundations Reading Program in classrooms. Here are some of the pros of the program:
1. Research-based: The Fundations program is founded on decades of academic study and cutting-edge literacy teaching techniques. It aims to provide students with the fundamental abilities they need to develop as good readers and writers. The program has been proven to be successful in enhancing pupils’ writing and reading abilities, especially for those who have trouble reading.
2. Complete: The Fundations program includes instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and understanding. Students are well-prepared to become confident and accomplished readers and writers by giving them a solid foundation in these subjects. Students are given the assistance they need to master each skill thanks to the program’s all-encompassing approach.
3. Systematic and structured: The Fundations program employs a consistent method of instruction that builds upon earlier sessions. This method guarantees that students have the abilities necessary to succeed while also assisting them in developing a thorough comprehension of the subjects being taught. The systematic style of the program also aids teachers in class planning and delivery.
4. Differentiated instruction: The Fundations program is adaptable and enables teachers to tailor their lessons to the requirements of specific pupils. No of their ability level, all students will receive the assistance they require to achieve thanks to this strategy. To ensure that every student reaches their maximum potential, teachers can employ a range of teaching techniques, including small-group work and individualized instruction.
5. Interactive and engaging: With a range of activities and resources that keep students motivated and engaged in learning, the Fundations program is created to be interactive and engaging. This strategy enables children to fall in love with reading and writing while also fostering a happy learning atmosphere. The program’s dynamic and engaging style supports pupils who might have difficulty learning through conventional teaching techniques.
6. Professional development: The Fundations program offers professional development to teachers, ensuring that they have the abilities and information required to successfully apply the program in their classrooms. To ensure that they can successfully apply the program’s instructional methodologies and resources, teachers get continuing assistance as well as training on these topics.
The cons of the fundations reading program
While the Fundations Reading Program has many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Here are some of the cons of the program:
1. Price: The Fundations Reading Program’s price is one of its main drawbacks. Materials for the curriculum, such as instruction manuals, student workbooks, and other teaching materials, must be purchased. Additionally, schools could need to pay for instructors’ professional development, which would raise the price. Even though the program may be financially advantageous in the long term, some districts and schools may perceive the initial expense to be a deterrent to implementation.
2. Time-consuming: The Fundations Reading Program’s possible time-consuming aspect for instructors is another issue. The program is extensive and organized, so teachers must carefully arrange and present classes to guarantee that students receive the education they require. This can be difficult for educators who are already stretched thin and have limited time for lesson planning and preparation.
3. Limited adaptability: Although the Fundations program permits some differentiation, it could not be as adaptable as other literacy programs. The program is quite planned and adheres to a set of rules, therefore teachers may not have much freedom to modify their lessons to suit the requirements of particular pupils. The program might not satisfy the needs of all children, particularly those who require more customized teaching, according to some teachers.
4. Limited use for older students: The Fundations program has a limited application for older pupils because it is intended for young learners, often in grades K to 3. The program may be beneficial to certain older pupils, but it might not be suitable or successful for students past the elementary grades. Schools that cater to older pupils would need to search elsewhere for literacy initiatives that are more suited to their needs.
5. Focus on scripted instruction: The Fundations program is quite scripted and planned, thus teachers may not have as much freedom to customize their lessons to each student’s requirements. For certain pupils, who could benefit from more dynamic and interesting learning strategies, this might be less interesting. Although the program contains some games and hands-on exercises, teachers may need to find methods to add to it in order to keep pupils interested and motivated.
Effective techniques and approaches for implementing the fundations reading program
Here are some strategies that teachers can use to effectively implement the Fundations Reading Program:
- Build a solid foundation first: The Fundations program is meant to be cumulative, therefore it’s crucial to make sure students have a solid base before moving on to more difficult abilities. In the beginning, teachers should go over fundamental ideas and abilities, including letter recognition and phonics, and then gradually advance those abilities.
- Employ multi-sensory methods: The Fundations program contains a number of multi-sensory methods, such as tapping out sounds and tracing letters, which can assist students with various learning preferences in connecting with the subject matter. For pupils to remain interested and involved, teachers should employ a range of strategies.
- Differentiate instruction: Despite the Fundations program’s framework, teachers may still tailor their lessons to each student’s requirements. Teachers can prolong the learning of more able pupils while providing additional help for problematic students.
- Track student success: It’s crucial to track student development and modify education as necessary. Continuous assessments should be used by teachers to monitor student development and pinpoint areas where pupils need more help.
- Add more resources: Although the Fundations program is extensive, instructors may need to add more resources and materials to the program to suit the requirements of all students. To reinforce topics and engage pupils, teachers might utilize a number of materials, including leveled books and interactive activities.
- Provide continuous professional development: Teachers may benefit from regular professional development to make sure they are successfully administering the Fundations program, which involves specialized training. To ensure that instructors have the information and skills they need to successfully execute the program, schools, and districts can offer training and assistance.
The Fundations Reading Program is a thorough and successful program created to teach young students the fundamentals of reading. It involves pupils and helps them develop mastery of phonemic awareness, phonics skills, fluency, vocabulary, and understanding through a systematic, sequential, multimodal approach.
Along with materials for parents and carers to help challenging learners at home, the program also provides ways for differentiating instruction for reading and supporting problematic students. The Fundations Reading Program is a helpful tool for schools and educators aiming to support kids in building strong reading abilities and achieving academic achievement because of its research-based methodology and demonstrated track record.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,