All Essentials books from 2015 and after ARE compatible with each other.
Since we first published Essentials in 2011, there has been only one major update and expansion, which started in 2015. All Essentials Teacher's Guides and Workbooks since this change (2nd Edition and later) are compatible with each other and can be used interchangeably.
1st Edition Essentials books, from before 2015, are NOT compatible with newer versions.
Essentials Teacher's Manuals and Workbooks from the 1st Edition, which was before this update, can only be used with the corresponding 1st Edition book. They are not compatible with newer Essentials Workbooks or Teacher's Guides (2nd Edition and later), since the lesson content was significantly expanded and restructured with the 2nd Edition.
Most flash cards and other core materials can be used with ANY edition of Essentials.
We continue to add new concepts and refine our materials, but most changes are small enough that different editions of the Flash Cards, Game Cards, and other core materials can still be used with any edition of the Essentials lessons with only minor adjustments necessary from time to time. See the bottom of the page for more detail about this.
However, there is one product we do recommend you update if you have an older version, due to how extensively it has changed: the Grammar Flash Cards. We made a major update and expansion in the 3rd Edition of these cards (2018) to match new concepts we had added to Essentials.
Essentials Teacher's Guides and Workbooks (more details on how they have changed)
We did a major expansion and update in the 2nd Edition of Essentials, which started in 2015. We added three levels of spelling, grammar, and vocabulary application in every lesson, built game instructions into the Teacher's Guides, divided the lessons into five parts for more flexible pacing, and added many new spelling, vocabulary, and grammar concepts. We provided assessment and review in every lesson instead of making every fifth lesson a review, and we also rearranged the sequence in which concepts were introduced, with the result that Essentials now teaches the same concepts (and more) in 30 lessons instead of 40.
All Essentials books from the 2nd Edition (2015) and later have the same basic structure and content and can be used interchangeably with each other, but here are the details about changes for those who would like to know more about what updates we have made.
- Lessons 1-15: The first half of the 2nd Edition, Lessons 1-15, was released in 2015, originally in one huge book called "Essentials 2nd Edition, Volume 1." We later divided these same 15 lessons into two smaller books, called "Essentials 1-7" and "Essentials 8-15." These are the same 15 lessons in a different format; we made a few minor tweaks and corrections, but the overall content and flow of the lessons is the same. "Volume 1" Workbooks can be used with 1-7 and 8-15 Teacher's Guides, and "Volume 1" Teacher's Guides can be used with 1-7 and 8-15 Workbooks.
- Lessons 16-30: In 2018 we released the rest of the 2nd Edition in two separate volumes: Essentials 16-22 and 23-30.
- Some of these books are now in later editions due to minor updates. These are also compatible with any 2nd Edition or later Essentials workbook for those lessons.
Core Materials (for those who have older versions of these resources and are wondering whether to update for newer Essentials books)
- Grammar Flash Cards: These went through a major update in 2018, adding many new concepts taught in the second half of Essentials. We recommend updating to the new set (3rd Edition) if you are teaching a newer version of Essentials. See detailed edition information.
Some supplements have had changes that provide clarification or new information. It is still possible to use the earlier products, simply adding the new concepts to your cards as you encounter them, but you may find it worthwhile to update. These include:
- Phonogram and Spelling Rule Quick Reference: This was updated in March of 2014 (2nd Edition) and again in 2018 (3rd Edition). Those who purchased older copies may find it worthwhile to order an updated version to go with newer Essentials books, but it is also possible to use the older one. See detailed edition information.
- Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards: We added 13 new advanced phonograms to this set in 2015 (2nd Edition), and two more in 2018 (3rd Edition). Students doing level C of Essentials (the most advanced level of spelling and vocabulary instruction) learn all of the advanced phonograms, so those teaching level C may want a newer set, especially if you purchased yours before 2015. You can also use index cards to add the new phonograms to your existing set as you come to them in the lessons. See detailed edition information.
Update optional/likely not needed:
These materials do include minor updates that reflect changes we have made, but the updates are probably not significant enough that you should purchase the new versions.
- Newer Basic Phonogram Flash Cards add a fifth sound of OU and add the phonogram ES. See detailed edition information.
- Newer Phonogram Game Cards and Phonogram Game Tiles include the phonogram ES. With older versions, you can use E and S tiles to spell this suffix and use the copyright card as an ES game card unless you want to update your set. See detailed edition information: Phonogram Game Cards / Phonogram Game Tiles.
- The newer Spelling Rule Flash Cards have had a few additional concepts added, including Spelling Rule 31 (added in 2014) and an expansion of Spelling Rule 7 (added in 2018). If you have older sets of these cards, we recommend adding new concepts to your deck with index cards as you encounter them in the lessons or purchasing a new set. See detailed edition information.
- Spelling Journal: This was updated in 2014 (2nd Edition) to include hints and rules for where different spellings may be used, and in 2018 (3rd Edition) to include new sections for schwa and other tricky words of students' choosing. The older editions will still work fine with Essentials lessons, so updating this supplement is optional. Page numbers in the Spelling Journal have changed, so use the Sound to Spelling Reference in the front to find the sound you are working on if a page number is mentioned in an Essentials lesson. See detailed edition information.
- Morpheme Flash Cards: Morpheme Flash Cards "Set 1," released with Essentials Volume 1 in 2015, contains the roots, prefixes, and suffixes taught in the first fifteen units of Essentials. This product has now been replaced by the following two sets: Morpheme Flash Cards 1-7 and Morpheme Flash Cards 8-15. You can use either format for the first fifteen Essentials lessons. Additional sets of cards, Morpheme Flash Cards 16-22 and Morpheme Flash Cards 23-30, introduce the new morphemes taught in these later units of Essentials. See detailed edition information.
The following items have had no changes since their release that affect use with Essentials.
- Rhythm of Handwriting materials.
- Student Whiteboard
- The Essentials Reader (This supplement was released with the 2nd Edition, so the lesson numbering does not match the 1st Edition. However, a table of phonograms and rules needed for each chapter, found in the appendix, enables you to correlate the reader with what concepts your students have learned.)
Products released after Essentials 1st Edition:
If you purchased Essentials before we released the 2nd Edition (in 2015), you may not have the following items. We recommend adding them if you decide to upgrade to a newer edition of Essentials.
- Spelling Analysis Quick Reference
- Morpheme Flash Cards
- Phonogram Game Tiles
For more detailed information about different editions of specific products, please visit the Product Details section of our Help Center.