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Curriculum Details for
Wilson Fundations

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Practitioner Expert
Content Expert
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Practitioner Expert Background

Two practitioners were interviewed for this review of Wilson Reading Fundations.  One practitioner is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in a mid-sized school district. She has been using Fundations in all K-3 classrooms, in conjunction with another literacy program, for the past six years, and found it to be successful in helping students learn how to read.

The second practitioner has been using Fundations on a daily basis with K-3 students since its publication fifteen years ago. The students she works with are multicultural and have a range of reading abilities.


  • These practitioners took part in the one-day initial training and professional development, and felt it to be sufficient to start using the program. 
  • There are online teaching aids that can help answer teachers’ questions.  A DVD is also included which models lessons for beginning instructors.
  • Follow-up professional development is available.
  • Preparation takes around 20-30 minutes to prepare for a whole-group one-day lesson.
  • As instructors become more familiar with the curriculum, the basics of preparation and set up become easier, and might only take 5-10 minutes.
  • All necessary materials are included with the curriculum.
  • Practitioners have used Fundations effectively in whole-class settings and with smaller groups of 5-8 students. 
  • Fundations can also be used as an intervention curriculum. 
  • High quality, individualized customer service.

Student Engagement

  • Curriculum requires students to be involved orally, manipulatively, and physically. Requires student response at all times.
  • Parts of Fundations are student-led, and students are always enthusiastic to participate and be involved.  For example, students often are the leaders of an activity called “Quick Drill.”
  • Students are rarely just sitting and listening. They are often up out of their seats, moving around, and actively involved with the curriculum.
  • Teachers can make up games to add to the program.


Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Program is structured, but not entirely scripted.  A specific scope and sequence is offered.  Teacher needs to know students well enough to know which letters, stories, concepts, etc., to choose to teach students.
  • Important for teachers to stick to the scope and sequence.
  • Can target the curriculum to meet the learning needs and levels of the students.
  • Offers a progress monitoring piece that allows instructor to input data and have a sense of where students should be. Unit assessments are also available.
General skills taught
  • Social skills, such as responding appropriately to directions, etc.
  • Students develop an understanding how to expedite learning.
  • Student-led activities develop leadership, self-confidence, and give students practice speaking in front of groups.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Content is age-appropriate, and leveled curriculum is catered toward ensuring that students learn how to read.
  • Students who are struggling can continue at a slower pace, and more advanced students can move on to more challenging topics.
  • Has been effective with students who are English language learners.

Strengths and Challenges

  • Solid research base will lead students to be successful when Fundations is implemented with fidelity and integrity.
  • Uses direct instruction to address not only phonics, but syllables, decoding, and learning how to read. Especially effective with students who struggle with decoding.
  • Students are actively involved and engaged with the learning process. 
  • Can be difficult to help new students who enter during the middle of the year to catch up.

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