Can I start Foundations at B? What materials do I need?

I think Foundations B may be the right starting point for my student. What materials do I need? Is there anything we'll need to go over before starting B?

In most cases, Foundations A is the best starting point. It is a wonderful introduction to the skills needed for reading and writing, and it is extremely helpful in strengthening foundational skills that are beneficial for all students!

However, if your child has already started reading and can sound out short vowel words like mend and flat successfully — to read them and to spell them — you may want to start at B. [Help Me Choose]

Most of the items in the Foundations A Set are also needed for B, but not all.

***January 2019 Update: We now have a new set designed specifically for those starting at B! Learn more!***

Exactly what you need and how you'll want to begin depends a bit on your student's prior knowledge and which concepts will be review. Here are some scenarios to consider, with tips on how to get started in each case. Below, you'll find notes on what materials you'll need for each.

NOTE: Older Struggling Students
If your student is 8 or older, regardless of reading or spelling level, you will want to start at Essentials. You can learn more about why on our Blog.

The child is reading well, can write the lowercase letters comfortably from muscle memory, and knows all the sounds of the A-Z phonograms as taught in Logic of English

This one's easy: Begin at Foundations B! Skip to the list of what you'll need at the bottom of this page.

If you think level B may be fairly easy for the child, also see Starting Foundations with children who are already reading on the LOE Blog for tips on how to increase the challenge and what to focus on.

The child is reading and can write the lowercase letters well, but does not know all the sounds of the A-Z phonograms as taught in Logic of English

Before beginning level B, use the Basic Phonogram Flash Cards to review all the sounds of the A-Z phonograms. Spend several days, or a week or more if necessary, practicing them, giving the child the opportunity to master all their sounds. Review with the Flash Cards and play phonogram games from Foundations (see a list of ideas in the Index of the Foundations B or A Teacher's Manual); in particular, focus on the phonograms with sounds the child did not know before.

When the child has mastered or nearly mastered all the sounds of all the A-Z phonograms, begin level B. (You'll continue to practice them in B lessons as you introduce new phonograms.)

The child can read and knows the A-Z phonograms' sounds, but does not know how to write the lowercase letters (or struggles to write them correctly).

The child will need to develop the ability to write the lowercase letters comfortably from muscle memory (in whichever handwriting style you choose, cursive or manuscript) before beginning level B. Three options for this:

  • The easiest way to do this is with Foundations A, doing only the handwriting portions of the lessons and skipping the rest. The A lessons include not only our Rhythm of Handwriting instruction for each lowercase letter, but lots of fun handwriting practice activities and tips for helping young children learn to write.
  • A more economical approach (if you aren't already buying A for another student) is to use our stand-alone The Rhythm of Handwriting book, along with the handwriting supplements from Foundations, to teach the lowercase letters before starting B.
  • Or, even more minimalist, you can even teach the lowercase letters using the Foundations handwriting supplements (Tactile Cards, Handwriting Quick Reference, and Whiteboard) alone; you'll want these for B anyway, so you won't need to buy anything extra. Follow the steps on the Quick Reference for teaching each letter, and find handwriting games in the B Teacher's Manual index, or see Ideas and Games for Practicing Handwriting on our blog.

Whichever approach you choose, be sure to practice all the sounds of each phonogram as you teach the child how to write it; this is a great way to be sure the child has mastered all the sounds of A-Z taught in Logic of English before beginning level B.

What do we need?

For Foundations B, you'll need the books used in level B:

  • Foundations B Teacher's Manual
  • Foundations B Student Workbook
  • Foundations B Readers and NEW Foundations B Readers: Young Artist Series (but see note below)
  • Whistling Whales: Beyond the Sounds of ABC

You'll also need the reusable supplements used in every level of Foundations:

  • Spelling Analysis Card
  • Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference
  • Phonogram Game Tiles
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game Cards (pair of decks)
  • Rhythm of Handwriting Tactile Cards (but see note below)
  • Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference (but see note below)
  • Student Whiteboard

These supplements are normally purchased in the Foundations A Complete Set, along with the books for A, when people are doing all four levels of Foundations. However, those starting at B do not need to purchase A. In 2019 we also released a special Starting At B Set so that those skipping level A can get everything they need in one discounted bundle!

Items you might not need

You'll need most or all of these supplements in B and again in C and D, and many of them are also used in Essentials as well. However, there are a few of these items that can be left out in some cases:
  • The B Readers and new B Readers: Young Artist Series are optional if your student is already reading fluently. These are designed to provide reading practice with the concepts taught in B. (That said, they are a lot of fun, so you may want them anyway! In either case, do not leave out the nonfiction Foundations C and Foundations D Readers when you get to those levels, as these are integral to the lessons.)
  • The Handwriting Tactile Cards and Handwriting Quick Reference are optional if your child is already writing lowercase and uppercase letters fluently and correctly, from muscle memory, in the handwriting style you are teaching. You may still find the Quick Reference helpful for review, though.
If you decide you don't need these supplements, you'll want to order your B materials individually. Otherwise, we recommend the set!
Shop now: Foundations "Starting At B" Set
Shop now: Foundations individual items

Learn more

To find out more about Foundations, check out:

The phonograms and spelling rules that explain the spelling of 98% of English words are taught in Logic of English curriculum and in Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy.

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