Review of Memoria Press First Start Reading Program

We have been embracing classical education for the last 5 years with our children's homeschool approach, and -- for the most part -- it has been very rewarding.  When we realized that my 9-year-old was struggling with his reading, we decided to take it back to basics with a classical phonics approach to see what we may have missed.  We were given the opportunity to try and review the First Start Reading Program from Memoria Press over the last 2 months, and it has been just what we needed to fill in the gaps and get my son moving forward with his reading.

The complete curriculum includes a Teacher's Guide and 4 Student books (labeled A, B, C, and D.)  Each book (except for the Teacher Guide) is consumable, meaning you write inside and don't have to print anything out or make copies.  Everything is included, so you don't have extra books or supplies you need to buy.  Children just need a pencil with an eraser, crayons (if you want them to color the pictures they draw), and the right heart toward learning.

You do not need to do any lesson planning with this curriculum.   Everything is clearly labeled in the consumable books, so that the student can know where to start and stop each lessons.  The Teacher Guide includes topics of conversation to walk a teacher over what to discuss, including extra teachable moments in language, grammar, and spelling.  The course itself is a rigorous (but not overwhelming) exercise in phonics, handwriting, and grammar mechanics.

Starting out, the program had my son drawing pictures, reviewing basic single phonics sounds, and then eventually learning and mastering basic reading words (like the ones shown in the photo below).  This got his confidence up, and he was soon attempting to read everything in our house!  I would find him sounding out the words on food packaging and in books that he was too embarrassed to try to read before.  I love that this program had lessons dedicated solely to reading short "stories" that were a breeze for the child who has completed all the previous lessons.

My son's handwriting has seen the most improvement.  Before, he seemed to really not be able to steady his hand, and his writing was sloppy and rushed.  After getting through a few rough conversations about why he had to follow the directions for how to make letters in his new school books, he gave in and decided to write them exactly as shown.  It made a difference.

How Much Does It Cost?

At just $28.00 for the Student Books, or $42.95 for the Student Books and Teacher Guide (which I recommend) this is a nice value for a complete early elementary phonics, grammar, and handwriting program with no extra supplies to have to purchase.

Extra Thoughts

As a mom who is often rushed and inconsistent with her homeschooling, this program has been one of the most easy-to-implement yet structured tools we have used. I wouldn't hesitate to start a pre-K student who has mastered the art of holding a pencil on it.  It's also great for any child who needs to return to basics and pick up a mastery -- and love -- of reading and writing.

Would I Recommend It?

If you are a busy mom, or are in any way stressed out about the process of teaching your child to read, this program could take some of the pressure off of you and your schedule.  I wouldn't hesitate to buy this program for my next two youngest boys when the time comes for them to start reading!

This is just one of many products offered by Memoria Press, which is a trusted name in homeschooling to many of my friends and colleagues.  You can see what else they are up to at their website and on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.)