This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Start Reading by Memoria Press ~ a TOS review

The thought of teaching my children to read used to make me tremble with fear? I know that’s probably silly to say out loud, but it is how I felt when we embarked on this homeschooling journey six years ago. I have since taught two children how to read and McKenzie, my 5 year old JrK’er, is the next in line to become a reader with the help of First Start Reading from Memoria Press.


McKenzie is a very eager learner, always has been since she was a little toddler. She was having trouble remembering her letter sounds and letter recognition so I held off on teaching her to read. When this program was offered for review, I jumped at the chance because of past success with Montana.


The First Start Reading Program takes on a classical, traditional approach to teaching phonics. We received the Teacher’s Guide and 4 Student books, A, B, C, & D. The program focuses on three important skills throughout the phonics program which include:

1.pencil grip & correct manuscript letter formation

2. mastering the sounds for consonants and vowels

3. mastering short and long vowel sounds, short 3-letter words and 45 common “sight” words

The Teacher’s Guide provides scripted lessons and everything you need as the teacher to successfully teach your child to read. It is a great resource for helping with vowel sounds, ear training, b-d confusion, and pencil grip.


Scripted lessons make teaching the classical phonics program so easy. You don’t have to worry about what to say or what to write because it is all there right for you. In the beginning it is a bit repetitive, but McKenzie did not seem to mind.


An important part of the daily learning is the phonics recitation. It includes 10 questions to ask your child each morning before beginning your lesson. Sample questions include asking “How many letters are there” and to “Name the vowels”. McKenzie and I went over this recitation in addition to our normal recitations each and every day.


Each lesson covers the following categories:
~ Letter sounds
~ CVC Words (Common Word, which include sight words)
~ Reading skills such as beginning punctuation and plural sounds
~ Beginning Sentences


{car schooling while waiting for big sisters at Girl Scouts}

McKenzie was so excited to get her mail. We began using the phonics program the day after it arrived! Because I had previously used this program with Montana, I also already had the supplemental Classical Phonics which is a handy little book for extra phonics practice. Since we are such huge fans of morning time recitations and Memoria Press I also already had the Kindergarten Complete Lesson Plans for One Year {First edition, 2009} in my possession. Inside this lesson plan book, the First Start Reading student books A-C are scheduled out for daily work over 27 weeks. I am confident that by the time we get to book D, I will be able to schedule out that book on my own. If not, I know I can upgrade my scheduled out plans.


Currently, McKenzie and I are on day 1 of Week 6 according to the plans. Since we got a late start, we just take one day at a time and don’t really pay attention to the weeks. We start out our days by completing the phonics recitation. At first she was not too keen on doing these questions, especially reciting the alphabet while pointing to each letter. However, it has helped her letter recognition tremendously! Before she would do the normal LMNOP, instead of separating them as individual letters. Once I had her slow down and point to each letter within 2 weeks she had it straight and I could say point to letter “N” and she would know it.


For the vowel’s I choose to highlight them in the back of her student book. McKenzie is a visual learner and seeing the vowels highlighted pink helped her know that those were the “special” letters that make their own special sounds.

20150319_101332 {pencil check}

I am so excited to continue to use this program to completion with McKenzie and eventually with little Micah. It just works and now my little girl can READ! Something she has wanted to do for so long.


I will sing praises to Memoria Press to all who will listen!  We LOVE this program and I have been recommending and sharing it with friends for the past few weeks whether or not they homeschool! 


{I can read!!!} 

***click HERE to hear McKenzie reading ***

Memoria Press offers a wide assortment of homeschool material from Latin, Greek, Literature, to whole grade level sets from Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade. They graciously offered some members of the Crew to review their New American Cursive:  Penmanship Program Workbook 1 while others received the Classical Phonics program.  Check out what my Crewmates thought about these programs by clicking the banner below.

Memoria Press Review

 Company ~ Memoria Press

Product ~ First Start Reading

Price ~ $42.95

Ages ~ K – 2nd or for struggling readers

Memoria Press Review

*Stayed tuned for the beginning of June when we review Latina Christiana I Complete Set .






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