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Teaching the alphabetic code for every sound of English in ten minutes a day—for Grade K

Knowledge of the code is the foundation for learning to read, write, and spell. The Code Is the Key uses the large bank of words in children's oral language to teach them to recognise and write every sound of English.

This early code knowledge quickly sets first-year students on the path to becoming successful writers and readers.

Learning to write is about learning the code—how to use alphabet letters in different ways to represent the sounds that make up the words we know. Learning to read is about recognising the code—turning graphemes into sounds and blending the sounds together to make words. Learning to write the code is the platform for learning to read it. Once you can write it . . . . . . you can read it.

To become fluent readers and writers, most students need systematic and explicit instruction in the alphabetic code—the way that words are made of sounds and sounds are represented by letters and combinations of letters. The Code Is the Key provides these learning opportunities in fast-paced, game-like lessons and activities that target the key foundational skills for learning to read and write.

Playful and interactive  The ten-minute lessons incorporate playful and interactive games to engage children's sense of discovery and excitement about learning.

Structured and systematic  Building on a foundation of oral language, the instruction scaffolds learning from speech to sounds to print, systematically and explicitly teaching the most reliable spelling patterns for every sound of English.

Research-aligned and evidence-based  A five-year research study showed the power of this unique instructional approach to accelerate reading and writing achievement for all children.

The Code Is the Key for Grade K includes a collection of engaging materials for use by students and teachers during lessons, in learning centres, and for independent learning.

Lesson Book

The 150 daily ten-minute lessons teach students to pronounce, isolate, and write every sound of English.

  • Sounds are introduced in groups, starting with those that are written most simply and reliably.
  • Three ten-minute lessons for each sound use consistent, interactive routines to teach the most essential foundational skills for learning to read and write.
  • The lessons also include teacher notes and support for English learners.
  • Additional daily routines, learning centres, practice activities, and links to reading and writing reinforce learning throughout the day, giving students ample opportunities to practise and apply their knowledge.

Sound Rhymes

Featuring rhymes written by Jill Eggleton and activities developed by Joy Allcock, the Sound Rhymes are a set of 46 large-format cards with an engaging rhyme for every sound of English.

  • The front of each card features an illustrated rhyme, and the back contains built-in activities and instruction.
  • Students listen for the focus sound in the rhyme, identify the spelling patterns used to write the sound, and develop many other phonological awareness and writing skills.
  • The cards are used in a variety of ways in the ten-minute lessons, daily routines, practice activities, and learning centres.

Sound Hunts

Students love hunting for the focus sound in the busy, engaging illustrations of the 39 large-format Sound Hunt cards.

  • The front of each card features a detailed illustration with many examples of the focus sound in different positions, e.g. kiwi, unicorn, duck.
  • The back of each card contains built-in activities and instruction.
  • A sentence to read and integrated activities on the back of each card build a variety of language, phonemic awareness, and decoding skills.
  • The cards are used in a variety of ways in the ten-minute lessons, daily routines, practice activities, and learning centres.

Code Cards

These 100 versatile cards feature an animal mnemonic on one side and a colour-coded grapheme for the sound on the other.

  • The Code Cards feature the spelling patterns students are most likely to encounter in their reading and writing.
  • The cards are used in a variety of ways in the ten-minute lessons.
  • Write-on cards are included for flexibility during word-building activities.

Sounds and Words Cards

A poster-size card for teacher use and individual cards for student use support daily routines and writing activities.

  • The cards feature the same animal mnemonics from the Code Cards and a high-utility grapheme for each sound.
  • Using the cards every day quickly builds and reinforces code knowledge for every sound of English.

Class Sound Dictionary

This unique large-format book is used throughout the year to create a useful classroom reference.

  • The Class Sound Dictionary is used during lessons to record the names and other words students supply and to identify the graphemes for each sound.
  • Students use the names and words to reinforce code knowledge and support independent writing.

Practice Book/Printables

Practice activities for every lesson reinforce the skills taught and help students apply their knowledge to reading and writing. The practice activities vary by edition:

  • The US edition features consumable Practice Books.
  • The New Zealand/Australia edition features printable practice activities.

Elevate & Evaluate

This useful resource is packed with professional development materials for elevating teacher knowledge, a full suite of easy-to-use assessments for evaluating student knowledge, and clear evidence of efficacy for Joy Allcock’s speech-to-sounds-to-print approach for teaching the code and structure of written English.

See how The Code Is the Key can help your students build the code knowledge they need to become successful writers and readers.

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