Countdown for Kindergarten™

Countdown is an essential supplement to any core kindergarten reading program. It’s designed to be taught 15–25 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. Download a Countdown Overview with Sample Lesson>>

Countdown Teacher Guides


Book 1 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 2 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 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 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 devise, including an interactive whiteboard, LCD projector, laptop, tablet or standalone computer.


Countdown Workbook

Countdown Student Workbook


Countdown has one student workbook that contains everything a student needs to practice and build mastery with the skills taught during the week.

This workbook is used in the second half of Kindergarten in conjunction with Teachers Guide Book 2. The activities increase student outcomes, and also serve as light formative assessment, so teachers can understand who really mastered the concepts and who may need more instruction.

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 multisesory 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 llistening) 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 (soundletter) 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. 



Really Great Reading Newsletter

Bringing words into high definition. Join us while we examine words, word parts, and the complex English language code.

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