Friday, October 28, 2011

Memoria Press - First Start Reading/ TOS Review

I have heard of Memoria Press, but I thought all they had were Latin Products. When I found out that they had a reading program I jumped at the chance to review it. Their reading program is called First Start Reading. And it is AWESOME! I absolutely love it!

Many of you know that we have been using a different reading program, and while it is a good reading program, it was moving too fast for my son. When I saw this program I knew it would be just what we needed. It thought it would be perfect for him right where he was. I was right...And this has to be the cutest curriculum I have ever seen! The covers are simply beautiful.

First Start Reading comes with a Teachers Guide and 3 student workbooks.

The first workbook starts out with the letter M. The second lesson is letter A, and by the third lesson your child is reading the word am.

As you can see in the above pictures your child is also doing handwriting with this program. I love this aspect. It makes it much easier to have everything in one program. It really simplifies things.

Lessons 3 and 4 have your child reading their first sentences.

The first sentence your child will read is I see Sam. Soon they will be reading sentences like A cat has a rat, and Sam is fast.

The lessons are very simple and they build easily upon one another. Each lesson adds one new letter/sound, and has the child reading new words each lesson. My son loves the coloring pages that go along with each lesson as well.

The last few lessons of Book A are stories that your child should be able to read now that he has completed the previous lessons.

I think it is so cool that my son will be able to read these stories very shortly. We actually just finished lesson 22 which is the last lesson before the stories. My son has already asked me if there were more books for him to do. That says a lot right there. I told him there were two more, and he was happy to hear it.

After your child has completed his lessons and has read the stories, he will do a Word Mastery Review. This is very simple, just a list of words that he should know now that he has gone through the workbook.
He will also have dictation practice pages. 

After all of that is complete he will have an Assessment. During the assessment he will read a list of CVC Words (consonant vowel consonant) and Common Words, and then he will dictate some CVC and Common words as well. That completes Book A. 

Book B is very similar to Book A with the exception that it has more stories and dictation built in throughout the workbook. 

And Book C is pretty much the same as Book B. Of course each book gets a little more complex.

By the end of all three workbooks your child will be able to read this story! Can you believe it? I can't wait!

There is a Teachers Guide that goes along with the workbooks. One Teachers Guide covers all three books. Each lesson is laid out for you so that you can teach with confidence.

After a few lessons I pretty much got the hang of how it was taught and rarely used the Teachers Guide anymore. Now that I am about to go over the review parts with my son I will need to pick it back up again. You will need it for parts of this program, even if you don't necessarily need it for every single lesson.

I also received Classical Phonics along with the First Start Reading program.

Classical Phonics is a deceptively simple little book our teachers and families use constantly in both Kindergarten and first grade. It consists of phonetically-arranged word lists for students to practice their growing phonics skills. In a word list there are no context clues, so the learner must rely on his mastery of letter sounds. For instance, if your child can pronounce each word in this list correctly – pot, pat, pit, put, pet – he knows his short vowel sounds, and you can move on to long vowels! If not, he needs more practice, and Classical Phonics is the most effective tool I know of to address the repetition that young ones need when learning to read. Classical Phonics can be used as a supplement to any phonics program and covers nearly all English phonograms and sounds taught through second grade. Classical Phonics is your handy tool for phonics practice and for building confident readers. (Taken from the website)

This book is not necessary to use the First Start Reading program but it makes a great companion.  It could also be used alone with any reading program you may already be using. It could also be used as a great review item for those who have already learned to read but may need a little extra practice.

This program is so simple, yet so complex at the same time. It is a very complete program. I have been so blessed to have this program for my son. My son says, "I like it! I like it because it's easy and it's fun, and you can read a lot of stories after you finish a whole book."

He has been so encouraged by this program. Before, he never thought he could read because it was so hard for him. One day while we were doing this program, he said out loud, "It's easy to read when you know all the sounds."

I have had no problems getting him to do this program like I have had with others in the past. I have actually came into the kitchen and he has been doing it all by himself!

I just can't say enough about this program. There are no negatives that I can see. To me it is perfect. I never thought I would say that about any curriculum. It's just so easy, and it works so well.

*UPDATE: After writing this review I got to thinking a little bit more about the program, and I felt I needed to add one thing to my review. The Teachers Guide is written for a classroom, not one on one teaching. I seemed to have forgotten about that when I was writing this review. After the first few lessons, I just stopped using the TG unless there was something I thought I needed it for. I did what a lot of homeschoolers do. I made it work for me. So, when I wrote that this program is perfect, I was only thinking of how we used it, not how it was intended to use. So, unfortunately there is one negative. The Teachers Guide is written to a classroom instead of one on one, BUT this was really no big deal. I just took the basics of the TG and learned how to use the program the way I wanted to. And so can you. I still highly recommend this program. You may want to tailor the way you teach it, but it is still a perfect program to me.*

I highly encourage you to try this program with your children. I honestly think you will love it too. If you have a child who struggles with reading, or who doesn't want to do their reading lessons, give this a try. It helped us where nothing else has.

You can find First Start Reading here for $29.95. That price includes ALL 3 student workbooks PLUS the Teachers Guide. This is an amazing price for a reading program. And remember it is also a handwriting program. You just can't beat the price.

If you would like additional student workbooks you can buy all three student workbooks for $21.00.

Classical Phonics can be purchased here for $14.95.

I will continue to update you on our progress with this program. I will either add to this review or make a new one for each book. 

If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment. If you purchase this and it helps your child, be sure to let me know. I am thrilled with the progress my son has made, and I would love to share in your joy with you as your child enjoys learning to read as well. Your child will need to know his basic letter sounds before beginning this program. You could still use it, but it would take a lot longer to get through the program. But it is a great beginners reading program that your child can begin as soon as he knows his letter sounds.

Be sure to check out what my fellow Crew Mates thought of First Start Reading. Some of my Crew Mates also reviewed one of Memoria Press' Latin programs, so be sure to check that out as well.


*I have received First Start Reading and Classical Phonics, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion.
No other compensation has been given to me.*


Swinging On Small Hinges said...

What a fun product! I will be using this again for my little one when she is ready to begin K! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Briana said...

Wonderful review. I didn't even think to talk more about the next two workbooks. I think doing an update on your experience with the program later is a great idea.

Your son did a great job coloring the pictures!

Jennifer said...

I didn't know before that they offered more than Latin, either. Your son did a great job coloring.

Leann @ MontessoriTidbits said...

LOVE your review!!! I rec'd the same product, but don't think my review is NEARLY as good as yours!

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