Schedules for Slowing Down Essentials

If you are teaching Essentials and interested in slowing down your pace through the lessons, you may want to try one of the following options:

Two weeks per unit

Time per day: 25-35 minutes
Time to complete Essentials once: Two school years / 16 - 18 months
Divide every section into two days, adding extra phonogram practice to each day that doesn't have it and extra spelling games or dictation once or twice a week. Teach each unit over the course of two weeks.

Set time per day

Time per day: Predetermined by you
Time to complete: Varies
Choose how much time you will spend each day. Set a timer when you start; when it rings, stop. When you start the next day, do a quick phonogram practice and review any new concepts the students would like a refresher on. Then begin where you left off.

Three days of lessons, two days of review

Time per day: 30-60 minutes three days / 10-20 minutes two days
Time to complete: 12 - 13 months
Do a full part of a unit three days a week (for example, Monday: Part 1, Wednesday: Part 2, Friday: Part 3, Monday: Part 4...). On the other days, play phonogram games and other practice games. Complete about two units every three weeks. This schedule works well when there is not an equal amount of time for language arts available each day.

Three units per month

Time per day: 30-45 minutes
Time to complete: 10 - 11 months
Instead of teaching a unit per week (one full part per day), aim to complete a part most days, and to work on Essentials each school day, but to get through only about three units total per month. This will free you up to add in extra days as needed, about once a week, for games, review, practice, or finishing a longer part. A three-unit-per-month schedule moves almost as quickly as the written "one unit per week" schedule but provides greater slack in the schedule for adjustment as you go.

Custom schedule

Time per day: Varies
Time to complete: Varies

Create your own division of the unit parts according to what works for you. For example, you might decide that you will always split part 2 into two days, doing the phonogram review, Spelling Journal activity, and five spelling analysis words one day and then doing a new phonogram practice followed by the remaining ten spelling analysis words the next.

Remember, what matters is that the student practice the skills frequently and that you move at a pace that is comfortable for the student and works well for you!

Related resources

Overview: Scheduling Tips for Essentials 2nd edition
Schedules for Essentials with The Essentials Reader
Schedules for Intensive Spelling Remediation with Essentials
Schedules for Intensive Reading Remediation with Essentials and The Essentials Reader
Scheduling Ideas for Summer Reading Camps and Short-Term Interventions
Components of an Essentials Lesson