Fundations Transforms Reading
As educators we are always seeking the best tools to help our students succeed in the classroom in each subject area. Phonics is such a key component to reading that we decided to explore how to enhance instruction here at Our Lady of the Lake School. With the support of Mrs. Kingsbury, and after doing some online research and speaking with reading specialists, we decided to focus on the Wilson Reading Fundations phonics program. This program is truly all encompassing. Fundations provides a systematic and explicit approach to reading and spelling with phonics.
In Fundations, students use all types of manipulatives along with fine and gross motor skills. Each day the class does a sound drill to focus on new sounds and review sounds previously taught. There are many picture cards (which the students love) and posters to aid in this process. Sound boards are used to help students spell words and allow teachers to observe exactly how a student is hearing a word. Fundations focuses on using fingers to tap the sounds of decodable words to assist students in hearing sounds. Students move quickly from spelling simple one-syllable words to multisyllabic words, which quickly increases their vocabulary. Expanding vocabulary is another huge component of the program.
Fundations has completely changed my approach to teaching reading. As a reading teacher I would often say “Use your finger to help you follow along and point to the words.” This program has taught me that we need to teach students to read in phrases as opposed to word-by-word. Teaching the “scooping” method always helps students to build fluency skills.
If you notice there is very little use of technology. After taking the class I learned this was done on purpose. The Wilson creators want the students doing everything by using fine or gross motor skills. They argue that students are relying too much on just opening a device and typing answers. This program really believes in muscle memory and how it helps the brain to remember faster and more easily.
We will be bringing the Wilson Reading Fundations phonics program to our entire Kindergarten through 2nd grade next year. Our teachers will all be attending training sessions over the summer. We know that implementation of this program will greatly benefit our students. We look forward to our coming 2016-2017 school year with enthusiasm and much excitement!
Lauren Zbiegien, Second Grade Teacher
Our Lady of the Lake School