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Fun with Fundations

Fun with Fundations
Posted on 11/30/2015
alphabet graphicBy Kathy Greeley, ELA Coach

You drive up to a stop sign, and your child shouts out, “S, snake, sssss!” Or you may see your child “tapping out” a word on her fingers /k/-/a/-/t/--cat. Or as your child signs his name on a paper, he says, “You start at the sky line and go down to the grass line…” What are these children doing? They are reinforcing what they are learning in Fundations, our new approach to teaching phonics in our K-2 classes.

English is very challenging to learn. Just think of the words “through” and “cough.” They both end in o-u-g-h, but they are pronounced very differently. Some languages, like Spanish and Kreyol, are totally phonetic. But English is constantly throwing curveballs at beginning readers and writers.

Fundations is a comprehensive and sequential program for teaching foundational language skills. While addressing phonics, it also includes fluency (how “smoothly” you read), vocabulary, reading comprehension, and handwriting. When you hear your child reciting the different letter names, key words, and sounds or tapping out words, they are developing key skills in both decoding words and spelling.

How can you support your child at home? First, look for the packet of information that teachers send home at the beginning of each unit. This will help you to know what they are working on and the specific language you can use to support these lessons. Secondly, ask your child! They are excited to show off what they know. Point to a letter in a supermarket and ask your kindergartener what that letter, keyword and sound are (have them explain to you how to “clip” the consonants). If you are reading with your first grader, ask them to point out a digraph (two consonants that make one sound, like “sh” or “th”). Second graders can teach you about vowel teams and “glued” sounds like “ing” or “all.” And all students are working on their handwriting.

Above all, have fun with them and keep reading to them! The most important way children become lifelong readers and writers is when they read and write a lot and find purpose and enjoyment in doing it!