When I first began teaching, I used Open Court as our phonics program. As a first year teacher, I remember thinking that the program had SO many phonics rules to teach my first graders. It was a great program but at times I felt like I was teaching so many rules I wondered if the kids would remember them. I felt it to be overwhelming especially as a first year teacher!
After several years of teaching Open Court my district switched to Level 1 Fundations and that seemed like quite the change. I felt like Fundations went at a much slower pace. However, I did see my students handwriting and spelling improve over time.
The first year teaching Fundations was quite a challenge like any new program. Each unit had 2 to 3 weeks to teach certain phonics skills but you had to pick and choose words and sentences from a word list. It seemed a bit scattered flipping back and forth through the teacher manual.
When practicing the words and sentences, I definitely liked having the kids use magnetic trays to build words and dry erase boards to practice handwriting and spelling. However, I still needed more pencil paper work so I knew they were grasping the phonics concepts being taught. I decided to create worksheets and printables that helped support each unit. This really gave me a sense of who was understanding the concepts and who needed a little extra support. I started using these printables for word work, morning work and even homework. I saw great progress! Check them out below if you are looking for a little extra practice for your kids.
Also, you may be interested in my phonics bundles for Kindergarten and Second Grade too!