So, I’ve already told you about the incredible lesson plans put together by the Faculty of Highlands Latin School that Memoria Press is now sharing and selling to all those who desire to be blessed with ideas already put together and organized for a Junior Kindergarten (Jr K) or pre-school year. Now I’d love to tell you about books. If you’ve been here before, or seen me on Goodreads, then you know I’m a self confessed book-a-holic and have quite a collection. In the past year I have become quite familiar with vintage and new children’s books classics and I have yet to be as impressed by any of the other lists I’ve viewed as I have with the selection of books listed in the Jr K curriculum. Okay wait, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. The literature is fabulous, but before we get there I want to tell you about the core school books.
I received a portion of this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. See full disclosure at close of post or read my disclosure policy for more details. *Thanks to Memoria Press for providing material for review.*
Memoria Press Alphabet Book, Part One and Alphabet Book, Part Two are absolutely beautiful on the outside and full of learning fun on the inside. We started with a beta version that was comb bound and contained covers with an illustration containing the ABCs and primary colors. I was excited about them, but my preschooler was not. However, when the new, final press print copies arrived, stapled and lovely, she was ecstatic and wanted to jump right in. She even wanted to complete lessons we had already gone through in the other books. She saw a gorgeous pink and a delicately lovely blue with a little boy building blocks and knew these books were hers and for school and even then was so silly and excited that we had to have school on that Saturday they arrived.
Learning the alphabet is the critical first step in learning how to read. The Alphabet Book teaches letter recognition, letter formation, and pencil grip through repetition and tracing. Activities, created with the younger student in mind, make learning each letter simple and fun. Three-letter words, aided by beautiful illustrations, also provide a simple introduction to phonics. This book acts as a great supplement to any primary program or full-year preschool/kindergarten program.
Alphabet Coloring Book is in a yummy yellow with a set of blocks (“just like we have mama!”) on the cover and filled with thick black line images to color. It is more than just a coloring book though. There are instructions on each page, like on page 4, “Color the upper and lowercase letters.” and there is an image of a hollow Aa. On page 5, “Each picture begins with the letter “Aa.” Say the name of each picture aloud. Color the pictures.” And as thus it continues through the rest of the alphabet. Even my toddler wants to color on these books! Maybe I should have gotten a second copy!
Now back to the Alphabet Books. The bold emphasis is mine.
The goal of the Alphabet section is to introduce letters and sounds, and to provide a solid foundational readiness for a rigorous phonics-based Kindergarten program. While the Memoria Press Kindergarten program will start again at the beginning, the ability to confidently recognize letters and provide corresponding sounds gives the student the “reading ready” prerequisite suggested. In addition to letter and sound recognition, students begin to learn how to form letters though we suggest de-prioritizing writing if a child is not ready. Each letter is covered for one week and letter reviews occur periodically throughout.
At the beginning of both books is a page to discuss pencil grip. Book 1 contains A, D, C, F, G, H, B, P, N, T, J, S, I in that order (and I have no clue why). Book 2 contains M, V, O, Y, W, U, R, E, K, L, X, Q, Z in that order and a comprehensive review. Both books inter-midst about five letters there are review inserted. So overall you have about three reviews. Then at the end is a section of reproducible practice worksheets. There are about four pages dedicated to learning a letter. Learning how to write the letter, what it sounds like, and images that start with it. There are letter searches that open up discussions of other letters as well and reinforcing what has been taught. There is counting and there is color by letter puzzles. Each letter has it’s own set of activities on a page. Some also have maze to follow through and others have comparative images to find the difference. There are opportunities for coloring and tracing and writing letters in a blank space (with standard three lines provided).
Coming into starting Jr. K, AppleBlossom already knew her alphabet. She could sing it in order (only half the time skipping N and then insisting she had said too) and she could identify letters out of order both upper and lowercase. Also, thanks to LeapFrog Phonics Letter Factory DVD she knew all the sounds as well. What she did not know was how to write any letter other than a capital A that I had just showed her one day randomly. So I knew I needed something organized to really work through them all.
Alphabet Book 1 & 2 teach upper and lowercase letter simultaneously. This ended up being one place for my daughter, at age three working through Jr. K that was just too much. Every other aspect she dived right in, but writing made her uncomfortable. What we did was take a step back, and go through the basics of Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K My First School Book that has bigger letters and teaching uppercase first and alone. After going through that, she now dives into the Memoria Press Alphabet Books. Previously she would trace what was there, but she would not take any initiative to write on blank space, no matter how I prompted here. She just wasn’t ready. But if she was four or five, I’ll bet she would have been more apt to try. Next child around I think I’d do the HWT Pre-K first, and then jump into Jr. K and I bet we’d have no qualms.
What I like about these books is that it is not just pure handwriting. There is so much more learning involved and added on that little brains get to work and learn. She gets to use her eyes and search. She can use her finger and then a pencil to trace in a maze or letters. She can identify what we want to find and then whatever else is an option to also know. And then of course, more coloring if she wants. These books are packed with learning opportunity. They’re a bit pricey, but quality.
Make sure to check out the parts of my Kindergarten review in posts!
You might also be interested in Junior Kindergarten.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.