First Start Reading by Memoria Press is an introductory course using intensive phonics beginning with letters and sounds and continuing through short vowel words. This program is designed for kindergarten students and would also be great for first grade students who have not learned their phonograms, yet.
The First Start Reading Program contains one teacher guide and three workbooks for the student. For kindergarten students you can also use Classical Phonics by Memoria Press for additional reading and phonic practice, but you may find that you have enough review just using FSR. For the first grade student, however, FSR uses the Classical Phonics book to complete the phonogram instruction.
Like other Memoria Press products, the instructions written for the teacher are clear and concise. Using the teacher guide, the lessons are then demonstrated by the parent on a whiteboard.
The program progresses quickly. By the fifth lesson, students are able to read a short sentence and while still using the first workbook, students will begin reading short stories.
The First Start Reading Program begins by teaching a few letters and then moves quickly to blending those phonograms. I think most parents and children will enjoy this rapid progress to early reading skills.
Since Memoria Press uses a classical approach to education, they have included a daily recitation practice. This recitation helps children review vowels and consonants, upper and lower case concepts and the basic letter sounds.
As is also the case with The Writing Road to Spelling and Reading, First Start Reading puts great emphasis on proper printing instruction. Children are taught from the beginning an excellent way to pick up their pencil and hold it so they get their pencil grip correct from the beginning. Parents are to closely monitor the pencil grip in the beginning so the child does not form bad habits.
The printing instruction is taught along with the phonograms, and for most students this is the ideal way to go. If, however, you find your child is not ready for printing, yet, it can also be saved for later.
I love this phonics program because it is one of the most affordable options for families, it does not require additional readers and it is very thorough and straight forward without too many extra frills.