Phonics Suite Countdown™

AVAILABLE AUGUST 2017- Accepting Pre-orders March 2017 

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.

The program is designed for young students in Kindergarten who are beginning to learn the alphabetic principle. Countdown instruction can begin as early as the first week
of Kindergarten and some educators have used it (Book 1) successfully in PreK-4. There is no prerequisite knowledge for students entering Countdown.

More importantly, the program is designed by teachers for teachers. Countdown’s unique design allows for fast-paced, sequential delivery of vital instruction and practice.

Learn more, download the Countdown Overview>>

Teacher's Guide

Countdown Teacher's Guide Lesson Plan Set


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.

Teacher's Online Tool

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.

Student 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.

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).

[oneFourth]Learn more and pre-order now



Strands of Countdown

Countdown is Organized in Strands

Developing strong decoding ability is somewhat like assembling a puzzle. There are many interlocking pieces, each essential to the whole picture. Countdown is organized into skill strands, each “puzzle piece” contributing to the bigger picture of reading mastery. As each new piece is put into place it becomes more clear how additional pieces fit in.

Vocabulary and Key Concepts: First, Countdown lessons establish routines for optimal listening and multisensory learning behaviors. Next, concepts and vocabulary (such as one-to-one correspondence, first-next-last, same and different, and whole-part) are introduced through playful instruction, using words and images that are familiar to most young students. This enables teachers to confidently use specific terminology and apply key concepts to teach students about the sound structure of our language.

Rhyming: Recognizing and producing rhymes is an early sign that a child is developing phonological awareness. 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, it is also a first step toward building strong phonological awareness.

Phonemic awareness: 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: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 is critical to a students 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 firstencountered (‘come’ starts with /k/), the ultimate goal is to read such irregular words automatically, without conscious effort.


Pre-decoding Skills Survey


The most effective first step toward implementing Countdown is gathering baseline data and establishing goals. If your data indicates that your students are still emerging with basic literacy skills (letter sound knowledge, sight words, and simple decodable text), then Countdown might be right for them. Download our free Pre-Decoding Surveys and our free Beginning Decoding Survey. These complimentary packets contain everything you’ll need for initial assessment of an unlimited number of students. The packet also provides an explanation of how the survey results can be used to group students. Learn more and download our complimentary diagnostic assessments>>

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Reading

Grouping Students

Successful reading interventions start with accurate diagnosis and grouping. Really Great Reading’s Grouping Matrix helps facilitate differentiated data-driven instruction and reporting. It is a free, web-based data management system that enables educators to group students (K- 12). The same data management system can be used to monitor progress, report, and adjust.

Learn more and sign up for free access to the Grouping Matrix>>

Professional Development

Teacher background knowledge is a key component to successful reading intervention. Really Great Reading offers different training options to provide teachers and interventionists with the background knowledge they’ll need to successfully diagnosegroupand teach  decoding. Even if you don’t use our programs, our professional development will offer you valuable techniques for helping teach emerging and struggling readers. 

See a schedule of workshops or learn more about our workshops, webinars and training modules>>

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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