Countdown™ for Kindergarten

Countdown is an essential preventative supplement to any core kindergarten reading program. It’s designed to be taught 15–20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This powerful, sequential, and efficient exposure to key literacy concepts ensures that your students establish a firm foundation in the subskills that lead to strong decoding and fluent reading.

Kindergarten - Prevention
Tier 1, whole-class instruction.Supplemental Instruction
15-20 Minutes a Day

Learn more about our Countdown Classroom Set-up with Virtual Component for 20 students>>

Countdown Teacher Guides

Countdown Lesson Plan Set


Book 1 & 2 - designed to be taught in the first half of kindergarten and finishes with students reading simple CVC words. In this book, students learn about and build confidence with the alphabetic principle. They play with phonemes, learning simple letter-sound relationships, encoding and decoding simple words, and participate in rhyming activities.

Book 3 -  continues into more advanced concepts and is designed to be taught in the second half of kindergarten. It finishes with students reading and understanding the substructures of more complex single-syllable words like hush, flash, pond, and dust, and being exposed to two-syllable words like catfish, sunset, and insect.

Countdown Online

Countdown Online - Teacher Presentation Tool


Countdown Online Teacher Presentation Tool is a teacher presentation tool and an essential online companion piece to the Teacher Guide Lesson Plan Set. It is offered as a 6 month or 1-year subscription.

Countdown Online Teacher Presentation Tool is designed to facilitate smooth and efficient instruction. It helps bring your classroom to life with colorful, iconic imagery that allows the teacher to deliver lots of exposures and practice opportunities. It virtually eliminates teacher prep time. This web-based companion to Countdown can be accessed on any device, including an interactive whiteboard, LCD projector, laptop, tablet or standalone computer.

Countdown Student Practice


Introducing the Reading Playground and the Student Workbook Bundle. Design to ensure the best possible student outcomes. Use the student workbook for guided practice and the reading playground for independent student practice. The bundle ($21/student) includes: 

  • Reading Playground - School Year 2021/2022 - ($19 value per student seat)
  • Student Workbook Set - ($10 value per student seat)

Download our Reading Playground Overview PDF>> 

Countdown Student Kit

Countdown Student Kit


The Countdown Student Kit is designed to work in conjunction with the Countdown phonics lessons and provide visual and tactile elements to our multisensory approach. It includes the letter tiles, color tiles, and other components needed to complete all 27 units of Countdown.

Multisensory learning is learning that involves two or more of the senses within the same activity. Children learn more effectively when they take in information in a variety of ways: auditory (through listening) visual (through observing) tactile (through touching).

Note: Do you already have Blast Student Kits in your classroom? You can upgrade your Blast Student Kit(s) by simply ordering the Countdown Upgrade Board (CDUP $5).

Strands of Countdown

Countdown- Is Organized In Strands

Functional Vocabulary and Key Concepts For students to participate in and benefit from direct phonemic awareness and phonics instruction, they first need to understand specific vocabulary and key concepts. Initially, Countdown lessons introduce concepts and vocabulary (such as one-to-one correspondence, first-next-last, same and different, and whole-part) through playful instruction, using words and images that are familiar to most young students. Once this foundational knowledge is well established, instructors may confidently use specific terminology and apply key concepts to teaching students about the sound structure of our language.

Rhyming Recognizing and producing rhymes is an early sign that a child is developing phonological awareness (a general understanding of the sound structure of language). These skills often emerge spontaneously as young children engage in language play. Rhyming ability may indicate that a child has begun to notice global similarities in patterns of sound within words. While rhyming can be fun and engaging, and all students may benefit from some exposure to it, it is just a first step toward building strong phonological awareness.

Phonemic Awareness Beginning Sound Isolation (BSI) Blending Segmenting Addition / Deletion Phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken words are made of individual speech sounds, or phonemes, that can be combined in different sequences to create new words. The ability to manipulate phonemes (to isolate, segment, and blend individual sounds) supports students as they master the alphabetic code and apply this sound-letter knowledge to reading and spelling. Research shows that phonemic awareness has a powerful influence on early word decoding skills.

Alphabetic Principle Decoding Encoding Letter-Sound Relationships The alphabetic principle is the understanding that spoken words are composed of individual sounds, and that printed letters represent those sounds. Recognizing that there are predictable relationships between letters and sounds and that students can learn these relationships, is critical to their decoding success.

Sight Words Some words should eventually be known “by sight,” without analysis, either because they occur so frequently (high-frequency words), or because of their phoneme-grapheme (sound-letter) irregularities. In Countdown, we call these “heart words” because students should know them “by heart.” While it is possible to gain some phonemic (sound) information from the letters in these words when they are first encountered (‘come’ starts with /k/), the ultimate goal is to read such irregular words automatically, without conscious effort. 

Foundational Skills Survey

Kindergarten Foundational Skills Survey

The Kindergarten Foundational Skills Survey (KFSS) is a complimentary set of assessments that includes six informal diagnostic tools designed to help educators determine how well kindergarten students are acquiring the skills they need to become strong decoders. These Kindergarten Foundational Skills Surveys enable one-on-one assessment of basic literacy skills like phonemic and phonological awareness, sound-symbol correspondences, high-frequency word reading, and basic decoding skills.

There are three primary Kindergarten Foundational Skills Surveys found in this packet, each corresponding to one phase of the Kindergarten school year. Each assessment has a Form A (used for initial assessment) and a Form B (used for progress monitoring).

The three assessments are:

  • Beginning of Year Kindergarten (BOYK), Forms A and B
  • Middle of Year Kindergarten (MOYK), Forms A and B
  • End of Year Kindergarten (EOYK), Forms A and B

They can be used throughout the year to measure students’:

  • Functional Vocabulary
  • Phonological/Phonemic Awareness
  • Letter Knowledge
  • Decoding
  • High-Frequency Word Reading

Once the results of the surveys are gathered and scored, the data can be used to pinpoint specific deficits, group students, and then plan effective instruction. The Foundational Skills Surveys allow teachers to:

  • Group students according to strengths and weaknesses
  • Determine which skills students have mastered and which skills they are ready to learn
  • Identify students that need additional assessments or support
The results of these surveys can be plugged into our Grouping Matrix™, a free, web-based system that enables you to group students according to the type and depth of their decoding difficulties.

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Sight Word Survey

Sight Words Survey

The Sight Words Survey is a complimentary set of assessments that determine how well a student reads high-frequency English words. It is designed to be used:

  • at the beginning of Kindergarten through 3rd grade
  • and with older students who still struggle to read high-frequency sight words

One-on-one assessment of:

  • High-frequency sight word knowledge from the Pre-Primer through 3rd-grade levels of the Dolch 220 list
  • Automaticity reading sight words both in context (simple sentences) and in isolation

The data collected from these assessments can help determine the levels of sight words with which students are proficient and the levels with which they need more instruction and practice to gain automaticity.

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