Review: First Start Reading from Memoria Press



My little Joyanna is just about a month away from her 5th birthday.  She’s definitely not a baby any more. In fact, if we didn’t homeschool she’d be heading to Kindergarten this fall.  I just can’t even imagine that!  Just like her brothers before her she is a pretty bright kid and therefore she’s becoming quite interested anything that will help her learn to read and write.  I think I’ve been in a bit of a denial trying to keep her a baby for a while longer.  But time moves on whether I like it or not so when the chance to review First Start Reading from Memoria Press came up I knew I had to take it.


For this review I received the teacher’s guide and one complete set of student books that are lettered from A-D.

How the Program Works

First Start Reading is a program geared toward children at the kindergarten level.  It is the child’s first introduction to the basic phonics sounds.  Every letter sound is learned independently through pictures, oral repetition, auditory practice, penmanship, and fun artistic experiences.

After a few lessons the children begin to learn to blend the basic sounds they have learned in order to read their first words.  With in just a couple of more lessons they are reading short sentences.  Book A begins with very easy 3 letter words like Sam, hat, rat, ram, fan etc….The the completion of the first book A the child has worked through ten letters and the digraph of (th).  They’ve learned thirty-six words plus an ending sound of (st).

In books B and C the letters are continued until all are complete. Book D focuses on additional vowel sounds, more digraphs and blends.

This is pretty straight forward, pretty traditional reading curriculum that uses the power of phonics to create success.  The teacher’s manual makes things very easy to follow.  Any parent who is nervous about teaching a child to read will find a great resource here.

This program also helps children learn to write the words the learning to read.  There is space for children to practice tracing or free writing all of the letters and words they are learning about.

How We Used It

Joyanna was just thrilled to have her own work to do and so she was generally pretty enthusiastic to use this 4 or 5 times a week!  We did just a couple of pages at a time.  Each time we sat down I’d review with her a few things from previous lessons before we dove into the new pages. I strived to keep work time to just 15 or so minutes a day. Often we worked twice a day just because she wanted to. If she appeared at all stressed we either went back to practice things she was pretty confident about or just put it away entirely.  At this young of an age I want her to feel successful as often as possible.  I love how there it a good deal of repetition and practice.  I think this is key for any reading program.

When you begin a new lesson you start by discussing the new letter sounds and accompanying picture. You and your child practice making the sound.  To keep things light and fun we got a little silly with the sounds sometimes.  As she colored the pictures in the book I would do some ear training exercises with her. We’d listen for words that started with the sound we working on. We used our magnet board to practice drawing the letter.  Finally she’d draw a picture of her own of an object that started with that sound.

When lessons involved learning new words things went a little bit differently.  First we would practice blending the sounds and reading the words on the page.  Next we would read the sentences. After that we’d trace the words and then finally we would illustrate a picture of one of the sentences.  Eventually as the books progress the sentences turn into short stories.

What Did I Think?

I like the simplicity of it.  It is engaging yet clean and nothing on the pages are distracting.  The lessons have straightforward pattern that rely on repetition and practice which are things I value in a reading curriculum. Progress is gradual yet not so slow that it becomes boring.

The one drawback I find is that there is quite a bit of writing involved.  I could see a child who is ready and excited to read by get discouraged if their fine motor skills aren’t up to the task of writing.  I think you can simply skip the writing and focus on the reading if you so desire.  Then when the time is right you can focus on writing.

Joyanna is definitely enjoying this program.  It’ll be on our daily list of must-dos for a while I imagine.  She’s awfully proud to be reading full sentences and she’s now trying to sound out just about every piece of print she comes across anywhere in her world.  I’d say I’m a proud Momma!

Memoria Press Review

Crew Disclaimer

Speak Your Mind