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Pinwheels Comprehensive Early Literacy Curriculum
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Rooted in Language

Pinwheels Comprehensive Early Literacy Curriculum

Pinwheels Comprehensive Early Literacy Curriculum

PDF Downloads and Educator Videos

Regular price $149.00
Regular price Sale price $149.00
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Grow your confidence as a teacher while you build the strongest literacy foundation for your students. Teach the skills your students need from the start so that their learning has no limits!

Pinwheels includes unique step-by-step lessons that are fun, research-backed, and multisensory. Based in the Science of Reading, Pinwheels incorporates all areas of language arts:

  • phonics & spelling —  decoding, encoding, and sound-blending skills
  • phonological processing — multisensory activities and games
  • word-level reading practice — including blends and multisyllables 
  • morphology and word study — prefix and suffix usage
  • basic grammar and sentence mechanics
  • reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension 
  • handwriting practice, copywork, and original writing practice
  • oral language practice — storytelling, narration, and discussion
  • literary elements and basic plot structure
  • assessment tools and pacing suggestions

Scroll down for level-specific descriptions, specifications, and FAQs.

In conjunction with purchasing the complete Pinwheels curriculum, we also offer certain student materials in coil-bound print-on-demand books through Lulu Publishing:


Like all Rooted in Language products, Pinwheels incorporates research-based methods to support students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, developmental language disorders, and other literacy-based struggles.

View full details

Additional Description

Pinwheels Year 1 introduces the primary consonant sounds, short vowel sounds, and basic consonant digraphs.

Students practice handwriting while mastering their sound-to-letter connections and discovering the world of words. Through blending practice, copywork, controlled readers, simple writing, and oral story activities, students unlock the secrets of reading and writing.

Consistent reading and writing is expanded with engaging sound processing games and multisensory manipulatives. Students also explore simple grammar, sentence mechanics, basic suffixing, word study, and literary elements.

Year 1 is appropriate for the learner who:

  • is new to reading, writing, and spelling
  • does not know the primary sounds of all letters
  • cannot read and spell most simple 3-sound words
  • does not know most short vowel sounds

Pinwheels is a downloadable PDF program with educator video support provided on Thinkific, an organized online learning platform. Access Pinwheels anywhere, anytime, on any device, providing great flexibility in how you engage with the curriculum.

Whether your student is just beginning their literacy journey, or they need more support to move forward, Pinwheels Year 1 gives you the methods and materials you need to teach each child.


Downloadable PDF program with educator video support provided on Thinkific, an organized online learning platform

  • Grade level: K; 5-6 year old learners (see FAQs for use with other ages)
  • File count: 23 downloadable PDFs
  • Page count: 1,604 pages (40% printing optional)
  • Video count: 24 educator training videos
  • Video hours: 4.5 instructional hours
  • 31 units planned for 36 weeks of instruction; time to complete varies based on actual instructional hours per week and modifications to support student needs
  • Meets or exceeds a typical United States kindergarten curriculum
  • Ongoing access to future product updates
  • Ongoing support through Office Hours drop-in sessions


The complete scope for Pinwheels Year 1 is available as a PDF download by adding the Scope & Sample to your cart above.


PDF Downloads include the following:

  • Setup Guide and Plan & Prep (28 pages): overview, printing recommendations, setup steps, materials list (printing is optional) 
  • Assessments (37 pages): sound-level and word-level student assessments 
  • Educator Guides and Resources (625 pages): step-by-step instructions, scripts, and adjustable daily plans (printing is optional) 
  • Student Workbooks (505 pages): hands-on, engaged student writing practice to support each new concept
  • Reading Kits (306 pages): illustrated readers, word lists, sentences, and copywork & French dictation passages, providing practice for new learning in meaningful contexts
  • Appendix (100 pages): engaging, multisensory games and manipulatives

Viewing and Printing

  • PDFs and videos all viewable online, organized by unit
  • Download options for each resource include full PDFs and PDFs by unit, providing flexible engagement and printing
  • Print and setup recommendations are provided, including links to two print Partners who have all of the Pinwheels PDFs and recommended print settings, providing an easy process for ordering a printed copy.
  • Printing educator materials is optional (40% of total page count).
  • Printing can be outsourced to any printing company you choose, including an RiL print Partner. Please contact the print company to inquire about their pricing. RiL does not receive remuneration from any print company nor control their print prices.

Videos and More

  • Educator training videos for understanding assessments, key teaching strategies, games, and activities
  • Videos viewable by unit as new concepts are introduced
  • Student sample videos
  • Extra reading practice book recommendations
  • Additional supportive educator videos and downloadable educator resources

License and Terms of Use

  • For the homeschool educator and tutor, Pinwheels is licensed for the purchaser’s use with their own children and one-on-one tutoring students only.
  • For classroom teachers and schools, this Pinwheels product is licensed for homeschool educators and tutors only. Please see our Pinwheels School License for use in your school or classroom.
  • Please direct other educators to the Rooted in Language Shop to purchase Pinwheels for their own use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Pinwheels different?

  • Pinwheels is based on research-supported strategies and approaches from the Science of Reading.
  • Pinwheels supports all learners, including those who struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and developmental language disorders — the three most common causes of literacy delays. 
  • Activities and practice are both multisensory and multimodal, meaning that they use more than one mode of language—listening, speaking, reading, or writing.
  • Throughout Pinwheels, reading, writing, and spelling are taught together. Research supports teaching these in combination to ensure deep learning of new concepts.
  • Explicit lessons in every area of language arts include educator scripts and student materials that are meaningful and fun.
  • The practice of Intentional Copywork, Dictation & Editing is incorporated throughout, in a developmentally appropriate way.
  • Review is strategically incorporated throughout to solidify key concepts in long-term memory.
  • Student assessments are provided to help educators determine which concepts have been mastered vs. those that need more targeted practice. Assessments also measure growth over time.
  • Professional development is included: as you teach, you will learn the why as well as the how, gaining universally usable strategies along with the know-how and confidence to apply them.
  • Pinwheels is delivered through the online learning platform, Thinkific, for flexible engagement with materials and videos.


Where do I start with Pinwheels?

Start with Pinwheels Year 1 if your learner:

  • is new to reading, writing, and spelling
  • does not know the primary sounds of all letters
  • cannot read and spell most simple 3-sound words
  • does not know most short vowel sounds

Start with Pinwheels Year 2 if your learner:

  • can read and write most letters and say their primary sounds
  • can read and spell simple words with short vowel sounds
  • does not write and spell words with blends or multiple syllables
  • cannot spell with basic vowel teams and Silent-e

Note: Pinwheels Year 2 begins with two units that review key concepts from Pinwheels Year 1. If you are new to Pinwheels, starting with Year 2, take extra time with these first two units. If any concepts are new or challenging for your student, provide extra practice. If more explicit teaching is needed on these concepts, that is provided in Pinwheels Year 1.


How long will it take to complete Pinwheels Year 1 or Year 2?

Each Pinwheels product is designed to be completed in approximately one school year. However, actual completion time is dependent upon many factors, including your instructional hours per week, as well as each student’s learning pace and need for modifications. 


Who should use Pinwheels?

Pinwheels Year 1 is designed for the average 5-6 year old. However, Pinwheels targets a skill level rather than an age. This means that older students who need support in the acquisition of early literacy skills, alphabet knowledge, and letter formation should use Pinwheels. 

Pinwheels Year 2 is designed for the average 6-8 year old. However, Pinwheels targets a skill level rather than an age. This means that older students who need support as they begin to consolidate early reading, writing, and spelling knowledge should use Pinwheels. 


Can Pinwheels be used to teach an older student? 

Yes. Pinwheels is designed to support students who have dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or developmental language disorders — the three most common causes of literacy delays. Learners with these language-based struggles have unexpected gaps in their literacy knowledge that impede progress. Because Pinwheels is so thorough in its approach and develops foundational writing skills, both educators and older students benefit from working with this program. 

Note: Some of the content may be a review, but the explicit lessons strengthen foundational skills. Supplemental reading material may be needed.

Because Pinwheels Year 1 focuses on building a solid sound-to-letter foundation, it is appropriate for older these students. Older students with dysgraphia benefit from Year 1’s slower writing pace, sound-to-letter practice, and reduced writing demands. 


Can Pinwheels be used to teach a 4-5 year old who is already reading CVC words? 

Yes. Pinwheels Year 1 is still a good place to start. Remember that Pinwheels teaches not just reading, but also writing, letter formation, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word study, CVCC words, early suffixing, simple grammar concepts, and more. Some young Pre-K students may already read CVC words, but they usually need more practice writing and spelling at this grade level. Familiar material can be reviewed at a faster pace, but all the while, your student will build a solid literacy foundation: learning and using important strategies for accurate reading and fluent writing. In addition, younger children learn early editing skills presented in a kind and age-appropriate manner. The teaching strategies in Pinwheels are key ingredients to future success in spelling and fluent writing!

You may have to add additional reading opportunities to match your child’s reading level, so we provide a list of other readers that can be used with the program. 

Here is some helpful advice from our Rooted Community Pinwheels users with young learners:

  • “I’ve found with my kiddo when we have material she’s already familiar with, her confidence grows and she’s more open to the challenging aspects. We just finished Level 1 today and my kiddo is grasping suffixes, blending, CVCC, early grammar concepts, and more.” ~ Samantha
  • “My daughter was already reading at 4.5 when we started Pinwheels. We started at Level 1 and it was perfect. We skipped a lot of the extra practice ideas, the easiest worksheets (missing sounds 1-3), etc. but we did the majority of it. It was the correct amount of writing, and she developed amazing spelling skills to match her natural reading abilities.” ~ Ashley
  • “I did it with a kid who could read well, maybe 5th grade level self taught, but we needed handwriting, spelling, grammar, etc. She loved it! We definitely modified and went through it fast (a couple months). But there was so much to learn!” ~ Elisa
  • “It's a full language arts program so they learn other things as well. We recently finished Level 1. There's a lot of practice with capitalizing the beginning of a sentence, punctuation marks, editing, saying sounds as you write, phonemic awareness, reading, and writing fluency. You just may be able to go at a faster pace. There's actually way more of the other stuff. You'll probably be adding in other reading opportunities.” ~ Maryellen


Can Pinwheels be used to teach students with language delays? 

Yes. Pinwheels is designed to support students who have dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or developmental language disorders — the three most common causes of literacy delays. 

Learners who struggle will experience a slower learning pace and increased cognitive fatigue, resulting in reduced attention. In addition, writing tasks pose a particular challenge. Pinwheels is designed with therapeutic, short lessons which easily modify the daily pace. Hands-on manipulatives, games, and extra practice activities are abundant . . . essential tools for the struggling learner. Extra practice is built in the program, and educator guidance is provided. 


What if my student needs a quicker pace? 

Pinwheels Year 1 provides numerous engaging practice opportunities. If your student is advancing rapidly with strong sound-to-letter connections and needs a quicker pace, units can be combined to introduce more than one letter at a time. Suggestions are provided to reduce familiar practice and focus on the more challenging activities. Many students will progress more rapidly in their reading skills than in their writing skills, yet writing is the deepest form of learning. Always include writing practice activities so students have additional time for writing skills to progress.

Pinwheels Year 2 covers many areas of language arts. If your student is advancing rapidly with reading, writing, and spelling, educators can reduce familiar practice and focus on the more challenging activities. Be sure to do some practice for every new concept before moving on. Many students will progress more rapidly in their reading skills than in their writing skills. If so, provide supplemental reading material, but also have advanced readers engage in Pinwheels’ multisyllable reading practice. Always include Pinwheels writing practice because writing requires the application of all other literacy skills. Allow the time your student needs for original writing, editing, and spelling skills to progress. 


What supplies do I need to teach with Pinwheels?

  • A detailed Materials List is provided in the Pinwheels Plan & Prep PDF and the Print & Setup module on Thinkific. 
  • Most of the supplies needed are typical office and school supplies. Some craft supplies are also needed.
  • Paper: The Print & Setup module on Thinkific provides guidance for each document; 24lb. paper is recommended for double-sided printing; 28lb. paper is recommended for readers (24 lb. optional); cardstock is recommended for some Appendix materials
  • Lamination is not required, although we note when lamination may be beneficial for specific materials.
  • Documents can be stored in 3-ring binders or in folders by unit, depending on user preference.
  • Student binders are recommended for specific purposes; details are provided on the Materials list.


Do you have an alternative to printing and cutting all those Letter Tiles?

Yes. Treasures from Jennifer has created two wooden Rooted in Language Letter Tile sets — coins and square tiles.

The RiL Letter Tile set represents all the tiles for the complete code, including spellings that are beyond the scope of Pinwheels. The student’s working set of Letter Tiles should only include the sounds and spellings that have been explicitly taught. It will grow over time. Store the remaining Letter Tiles separately, for future use.


What are my printing options? Who are your print partners and how much does it cost to print through them?

  • Print and setup recommendations are provided in the Pinwheels Print & Setup module on Thinkific. 
  • Pinwheels can be printed at home, through one of our print Partners, or through a printing company of your choice. Some local libraries offer free or discounted printing.  
  • Some print Partners provide discounts for RiL customers. Please contact the print company to inquire about their pricing. RiL does not receive remuneration from any print company nor control their print prices. 


Do I have to print everything?

  • Printing is optional for the educator materials (40% optional for Year 1; 53% optional for Year 2). You decide which educator elements to print versus what you wish to read and reference on your screen.
  • Student materials should be printed, including: Student Workbooks, Reading Kits, and Appendix materials.
  • See the Viewing and Printing section above for more printing information.
  • After purchase, refer to the Pinwheels Print & Setup module on Thinkific.


How many pages are in each Pinwheels resource? 

See the Materials section above for all the details.


For the homeschool educator: How can I purchase Pinwheels using my charter school funds?

  • Charter schools can contact us to issue a purchase order to Rooted in Language. The purchase order must include the home educator’s email address for delivery of the digital product.
  • Charter schools can purchase Pinwheels on your behalf through our online Shop. The family's email address must be entered at checkout for delivery of the product; then the charter school proceeds to PayPal for payment where the school's email address is entered for a PayPal receipt.
  • If Rooted in Language is not already an approved vendor with your charter school, contact us so we can complete your charter’s vendor application.


For the homeschool educator: Can I teach with Pinwheels in a co-op?

  • We define a co-op as a learning environment where several homeschool families join together for academic pursuits, and parents work cooperatively in teaching different subjects in a group setting.
  • We believe students gain the most skill when they use Pinwheels in its entirety. Therefore, each student’s family should purchase the curriculum for weekly assignments to complete at home. This also supports students who struggle and will need extra practice at home.
  • Pinwheels is licensed for homeschool educators and tutors to use the program with their own children and/or private one-on-one tutoring students only. If you would like to pursue teaching with Pinwheels in a co-op (group setting), contact us for licensing options before purchasing Pinwheels.


For the school or classroom teacher: Do you offer a license to use Pinwheels in the classroom?

Yes. Please see our Pinwheels School License for all the details about licensing Pinwheels for a single school location.

Customer Reviews

Based on 48 reviews
Great program

Great multi sensory literacy program for adhd child

Jennifer Perez-Campbell
Works well for my child, is what they need but can be a pain for me to prep

I'm using pinweheels level 2 with my child (I'm currently in unit 4). They already knew how to read cvc words but as we continued phonics instructions I felt she needed mastery and I realized I was only focused on phonics and wanted to switch to pinwheels because it is comprehensive.
I am glad I made the switch because even though my child is covering sounds she knows how to read, she is now learning how to spell, and learning much more about grammar, writing, and stories (plot etc), that I was not previously including in her instruction. I am glad I don't have to pull all of those concepts together either. My child enjoys keeping her own notebook for the concepts. The FB group and office hours are great resources. This curriculum is FULL of info and helps so if you need to troubleshoot anything there is a lot of information to work with. They just came out with an online version of modules that I think might mitigate some of my overwhelm preparing and executing the lessons.
In theory I appreciate the incredible effort it had to have taken to pull these various concepts into a comprehensive curriculum. In practice, I wish navigating what I need to know (why of what we are doing), what I need to do and what I need to say in a lesson, was arranged differently on the page. I just find the pages overwhelming to work through in order to figure out the day's lesson although actually executing what needs to be done is not complicated. Some scripted lessons are clearer than others. Also, I've sometimes gone to prep for a lesson the night before only to find I am supposed to watch a 20 min video. I appreciate their willingness to comprehensively guide the teacher, it's just not always realistic for me to dedicate the full length of time for optimal preparation. So I know I am giving my child a strong foundation but because I can find the prep work in the midst of my life a challenge to sift through I can end up not working through the course material as quickly as we actually could. I remember wishing their manual was more like my math with confidence parent guide because that curriculum does a wonderful job of visually laying out various types of information clearly. Rooted in Language just came out with online modules and that may be a game changer for me.

Autumn Romano

My daughter was struggling through a curriculum that wasn't right for her. She lost all confidence in her ability to read until I started using Pinwheels. This has been amazing for our homeschool and I am so happy to continue!

I wish I could give this curriculum 10 stars!!!

Pinwheels has been life-hanging for our older students who have struggles with reading, spelling and writing. The multi-sensory components are engaging for those who struggle with attention around language arts lessons. Even though some aspects of the curriculum are desinged for younger learners, much of it fit perfectly for our 14 and 11 year olds at their areas of struggle. They now have a very solid foundation to build upon. After trying many LA curriculum I have found Pinwheels to be a unique blend of phonics and word study for learning to read and spell. And the introduction to functional grammar at a very early stage is so well done! Couldn't love this curriculum more!!!


This has been a warm welcomed truly multisensory addition to our homeschool routine for my busy body and busy minded boy!