This year has been full of trial and error in regards to our homeschooling year. While we’ve focused on Math and Writing this year, Reading hasn’t been as easy, until I was chosen to review First Start Reading from Memoria Press. Oh how this classical curriculum changed our school day.
Reading has not been going well for us. Read aloud time is great, but when it’s my daughter’s turn to sound out letters and put them together to make words, there is frustration and sometimes tears. Honestly, when we first began, I wasn’t so sure it would be a great fit. But I was wrong. I am so glad I was wrong. Each lesson in First Start Reading builds on the next. First Start Reading offers “a balanced, age-appropriate approach to phonics and reading, and a serious focus on correct pencil grip and letter formation.”
Friends, this isn’t just another phonics and reading program. I had no idea how crucial correct pencil grip was in this process. Sure, we talked about it. I modeled it. We practiced. But I didn’t stop her every time she did it wrong, only sometimes. In the teacher’s manual they talk about having a pencil check. While that is mainly for classroom use, it’s adaptable to homeschooling too. Having my oldest stop and position her pencil correctly made a world of difference in her posture at the table and her letter formation.
First Start Reading isn’t just for homeschooling. In the teachers book they talk about using the curriculum in the classroom as well. I think it would also be an excellent resource to use for extra practice during the Summer months or to supplement reading and writing if you have a child struggling in these areas. They use the vowel-consonant approach combined with word families, which isn’t as common as one would think.
First Start Reading covers:
- short and long vowels
- 45 common words
- manuscript printing
- artist-drawn coloring pictures and drawing pages for every letter.
There are four student books and thirty-one phonetic stories. The Teacher Manual walks you through each lesson with pictures, explanations, assessments, and scripts for the teacher to use during the lessons.
My daughter was thrilled when she was able to read a sentence in the first lesson! There is something about the progression of the lessons that has clicked with her and her learning style. One of our biggest struggles this year has been because she thinks everything she does has to be perfect. Because each lesson builds on itself, she’s already mastered part of the lesson. It has been great for her confidence and now she actually likes when it’s time for reading.
The curriculum does focus on writing, which can be a bit much for children who haven’t mastered the fine motor skills of gripping a pencils and forming letters. Since my boys who are 4 and 3 have to see what their big sister is doing all the time, they would listen and chime in from time to time. When they wanted to “do school” too, we focused more on the sounds, reciting the lessons, and coloring the pictures. They loved it!
First Start Reading is perfect for families with a child in Kindergarten focusing on classical education or for those students who just need help in this area. Whether you are a teacher in a classroom setting or a teacher in a homeschool setting, I highly suggest you check out First Start Reading from Memoria Press.
Want to try the first couple of lessons for yourself? You can! Sample pages of the are available on the website. It’s always a good idea to try before you buy when possible.