Reduce reading and spelling failure in the general education classroom and help at-risk readers to achieve success before undergoing years of struggle.
Prevention is the Best First Step
Fundations® is a powerful foundational skills program for children in Grades K–3. Within a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) or Response to Intervention (RTI) framework, educators can implement it as high-quality foundational instruction (prevention) and/or as an early intervention (Tier 2) program for struggling or at-risk students. Fundations provides evidence-based content strategies that all students need to achieve reading and writing success.
The four levels of Fundations will most often correspond to the students’ grade level. However, the program can also be used sequentially with struggling students in other grades. Combine Fundations with a core- or literature-based language arts program so students receive a comprehensive approach to writing and reading.
Our Tiered Instructional Approach
Fundations provides the research-validated foundational strategies that complement core English language arts (ELA) programs to meet rigorous college- and career-ready standards and serve the needs of all children in grades K–3. Within a MTSS or RTI framework, Fundations serves as both a (Tier 1) prevention and an early intervention program (Tier 2), providing children of varying learning abilities with a foundation for reading, spelling, and handwriting. In a Tier 1 setting, Fundations is universally designed to serve all K–3 students in the regular education classroom. As a Tier 2 program, Fundations is appropriate for at-risk students in the lowest 30th percentile and in need of strategic and targeted intervention. Instruction is provided by the classroom teacher and/or an interventionist. Implementation details vary depending on whether Fundations is also used in a Tier 1 setting.
Tier 1 implementation of Fundations® occurs in a whole-class, general education setting as a supplement to the core language arts instruction.
As a supplemental program, Fundations emphasizes phonemic awareness, phonics-word study, high frequency word study, fluency, vocabulary, handwriting, and spelling, providing all students with the strongest possible start in mastering foundational reading, spelling, and handwriting skills. Although it includes comprehension strategies, it must be combined with a core/literature-based language-arts program for an integrated and comprehensive approach to reading and writing.
- Standard lesson is taught to the whole class: Fundations is delivered as a prevention program to all students.
- Instruction occurs in the general education classroom by the regular classroom teacher.
- Instruction is delivered for 30 minutes per day as a supplemental program or the word study block complementing the core literacy program.
- The lesson is built around specific classroom needs; teachers select specific words to teach based upon the needs of the students in their classrooms.
Specific guidelines are provided to address the needs of:
- Advanced students
- English language learners (ELLs)
- Struggling students who may need differentiated support
In addition to the daily whole-class lesson, students who struggle in general education classrooms (in the lowest 30th percentile) benefit from the use of Fundations as a Tier 2 strategic intervention. These students receive more intensive instruction through small group, intervention lessons. See the Tier 2 dropdown for more information.
If Fundations® is taught in Tier 1 (general classroom), students needing intervention support:
- Participate in the whole-class Fundations standard lesson (30 minutes daily).
- Receive targeted Fundations intervention lessons in small-groups (up to 5 students) (30 minutes 3-5 times per week).
- Achieve increased instructional intensity through:
- small, homogeneous group lessons,
- increased instructional time with intervention lessons, and
- targeted instruction in specific areas of difficulty.
If Fundations® is NOT used in Tier 1, students needing intervention support:
- Take the Intervention Placement Inventory to determine which Fundations Level to use.
- Receive the Fundations standard lesson in a small-group setting (30 minutes daily).
- Also receive targeted Fundations intervention lessons in a small-group setting (additional 30 minutes 3–5 times per week).
These students require explicit, cumulative, and multisensory instruction due to learning differences. For kindergarten and first-grade students, Fundations can be combined with a literature-based program to provide this type of required instruction as an alternative to the district’s core language arts program. Lessons should be scheduled daily, and students should receive:
- Fundations standard lessons in small-group settings (30 minutes daily)
- Fundations targeted, intervention lessons in small-group or 1:1 setting (additional 30 minutes daily)
- Literature-based comprehension instruction and other decodable text instruction (30 minutes – 1 hour daily)
The Wilson Reading System®, taught by a certified Wilson® Instructor, may be more appropriate for students in grades 2 and 3 who require more intensive instruction.
Explicit and direct instruction is introduced in a whole-class setting in the first semester; a combination of whole-class and small-group settings is used in the second semester. The amount of time for daily activities will vary, depending on where the class is in the school year and the number of students in small groups. Once students have learned many of the letters, more time will be needed for the activities, but it should not take longer than 10–15 minutes for each small group instruction (added in the second semester).
Monitoring student response to instruction allows teachers to design lessons that address students’ strengths and weaknesses. Student assessments ensure that intervention, when needed, is provided in a timely manner.
Formative assessment/progress monitoring is built into the Fundations® program with every single lesson. The teacher is able to assess students’ skills because instruction is visible and explicit, and all students are actively participating in the learning.
During each part of the lesson, a teacher assesses how students respond to their instruction and how students’ skills and understanding of concepts are progressing. The next lesson in Fundations® is written with the students’ needs in mind. The teacher selects sounds, words (real as well as nonsense), phrases and sentences for decoding and encoding to specifically target any trouble spots. This targeted instruction helps the teacher make sure the students are understanding new concepts.
Unit Tests, summative assessments that take place at the end of each Fundations Unit, measure a student’s knowledge of concepts that are taught in that specific Fundations Unit. Test results guide teachers’ decisions about whether to advance to the next Unit; whether particular students need support; or whether to reteach the Unit to the whole class.
For K–2 students receiving Tier 2 intervention, the Fundations Level K, 1, and 2 Progress Monitoring Tools specifically measure skills introduced in those respective Fundations Levels K, 1, and 2. Specific fluency measures are provided to measure progress after each week of instruction. Charts and class records monitor progress toward the benchmark.
When Fundations is exclusively implemented as a Tier 2, early intervention program, teachers can use the Intervention Placement Inventory to determine which Fundations Level a student should begin with (K, 1, or 2). The Intervention Placement Inventory provides a quick assessment of:
- letter names
- sound to letter correspondence
- single-word reading and spelling
Familiarize yourself with the skills and concepts taught in each of Fundations’ four levels and Pre-K.
Comprehensive program materials allow K–3 teachers to confidently present a carefully structured foundational skills program using engaging, multisensory techniques.
The FUN HUB®
The Fundations® Virtual Resource Hub that contains resources for educators teaching in remote or hybrid settings, including interactive teaching tools, video demonstrations, family guidance, and much more.
Learn about Professional Learning Opportunities
We provide educators with the training needed to enhance instruction and support implementation of Fundations® with fidelity to achieve student success. Whether it’s individual teacher support or school and district implementation plans, Wilson® is here to help.