When you are seeking to provide additional reading practice, it is important to provide phonics-controlled texts to developing readers who need more practice applying the phonogram and spelling rule knowledge they have learned, rather than asking them to attempt to read books with words that they haven't yet been taught how to decode. Through decodable texts, students learn that they do not need to guess at the meaning of words and will be better prepared to read uncontrolled texts once they have learned more of the phonograms and are comfortable applying the knowledge they have learned to any word.
A great starting point is to have students reread the readers provided in the lessons; however, if you are looking for extra practice while teaching Foundations, please see our book suggestion list for more ideas (please note: our book suggestion page will going through an upgrade in early 2020 and will be temporarily unavailable). This provides books we have checked to confirm that they align with the knowledge students have learned by particular lessons of our curriculum. There is also a tool that you can use to assess a book in order to see where it would fit in the curriculum, based on the phonogram and spelling rules needed to successfully decode the text.
Unfortunately, there are not many good quality phonics-controlled readers available for older students completing Essentials besides The Essentials Reader. This is the reason that we found it so important to create this supplement and provide age-appropriate texts that respected the intellectual abilities of older struggling readers.
If you are teaching a struggling second grader with Essentials, we have created a resource to help you align some of the Foundations readers to correspond with the Essentials curriculum.
With older struggling readers using Essentials, encourage students to reread the passages from The Essentials Reader to gain confidence and fluency. Continue working through Essentials; every phonogram, reading, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary activity students complete in the lessons will help to strengthen reading skills, and every new phonogram and rule they learn will unlock new words. Provide access to more advanced texts and comprehension work by reading aloud to the student or using audio books.
Note: Once students are beginning to want to read other books and start to pick them up on their own, encourage them to do so. Do not restrict them to phonics-controlled texts. However, until they are comfortably reading, please continue to provide decodable texts in order to promote application of the knowledge they are learning as well as self-confidence in reading.