A First Grade Teacher’s Experience With Foundations A-Z

Struggling Readers Make Literacy Gains

There’s an elephant in our classrooms — 2/3 of all fourth-grade students are reading below grade level. It’s a harsh reality schools feel overwhelmed to confront. But research shows explicit and systematic foundational skills instruction can combat and prevent low literacy. That’s why we created Foundations A-Z, a K-5 foundational skills solution built on the Science of Reading and designed to promote literacy for every student.

By directly addressing the elephant in the classroom, we aim to start a meaningful conversation about low literacy rates in our country and hear from education experts and practitioners about how they’re working to set their students up for reading success.

From Low Motivation to “Looking Forward to Reading”

An educator for 12 years, Jordan Snyder knows firsthand about the struggle to keep kids reading at grade level. “Students are under a lot of pressure right now, leading to a lack of motivation,” Snyder said.

As a 1st grade teacher and principal at Collaboratory Prep Academy, a charter school in Tampa, Florida, Snyder used multiple platforms to help struggling readers catch up. But retention was still low.

Three students, in particular, struggled with digraphs like SH and CH blends. This decoding — matching letters and combinations of letters (graphemes) with their sounds (phonemes) — is the foundation of word recognition and reading. Decades of Science of Reading research tells us these critical decoding skills need to be taught in an explicit, systematic order to set the stage for literacy success.

Snyder was part of a group of educators to pilot  Foundations A-Z in the 2021-22 school year. In this video, she highlights how teaching these foundational skills led to better literacy outcomes for her students.

Even better, Snyder said Foundations A-Z sparked joy in her students. “What meant more to me than academic gains was that they looked forward to reading,” Snyder said. “For my class to get excited about reading, that made me happy.”

How Foundations A-Z Addresses the Elephant in the Classroom

Strong readers need solid foundations. The earlier the better. In fact, research shows children who cannot read proficiently by grade 2 do not “catch up.”

Built on the Science of Reading,  Foundations A-Z empowers teachers to develop the confidence needed, regardless of experience, to effectively teach all foundational skills and instill the joy of learning.

Lesson plans are systematic and explicit and help students develop the interwoven skills of word recognition and language comprehension necessary for skilled reading.

From phonics to fluency, Foundations A-Z’s scope and sequence covers all foundational reading skills for grades K-5. Educators new to structured literacy are supported by robust guided lessons with embedded training and tips every step of the way.

Let’s Address the Elephant in the Classroom Together

Foundations A-Z gives you the confidence that the curriculum you use is backed by solid literacy research. See for yourself how setting a strong foundation sets your students up for literacy success.

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A Cambium Learning® Group Brand