Published by Memoria Press Format: Paperback
Source: Memoria Press
The other day I gave you a taste of what is involved in the Memoria Press Kindergarten Lessons Plans for One Year in their Classical Core Curriculum, but today I’d love to share more.
Based on years of research, Memoria Press is pleased to offer the second year of our planned Junior K-12 classical curriculum. Now your child can have a Highlands Latin education at home using the very same materials our teachers use in our highly acclaimed programs. By following the daily lesson plans in our full-year Curriculum Guide, you will have every tool you need to give your child the very best education possible.
It has been quite a crazy year. My oldest student has a hunger and a thirst for knowledge with a distracting free-willed little sister shadow and now a new baby brother. Yet we held ourselves together this last school year due to the blessing of Memoria Press Kindergarten. These plans and materials have kept my sanity intact. We are continuing this tradition with the First Grade materials now.
I have quite a few favorite bits but one is the start of the days with Recitation. I mentioned the recitation period briefly in my first post. Memoria Press grade-specific Recitation is available to purchase outside of the complete lesson plans curriculum as well for a bargain. The first several weeks have proven to be a refresher from our Junior Kindergarten year (and the same can be said for First Grade in a condensed thick manner). For those new to Memoria Press, it is a great listing of facts good to know off memory for the younger elementary crowd (and I don’t mind brushing up on these details as well!). Around weeks 15-16 things begin to slow with new things and facts learned each week at 1-2 rather than the prior 6-12 bullet points. From a prayer, to thirteen colonies, to eight planets to how many quarters equal a dollar it makes me proud to known what my daughter can accomplish with the guidance of Memoria Press Recitation.
After Recitation comes Phonics, which Memoria Press has well in hand.
Phonics & Early Reading
Memoria Press has phonics well in hand for their Kindergarten year with their own curriculum program of First Start Reading. The current edition of First Start Reading is made up of a fabulous Teacher’s Guide and four student workbooks, labeled A-D.
Is there really a need for another phonics program? Well, we thought so! The first reading and printing lessons are critical, and although there are many adequate programs out there, we could not find one with the right combination we were looking for—a balanced, age-appropriate approach to phonics and reading, and a serious focus on correct pencil grip and letter formation. In addition, many phonics programs today use the ladder approach (consonant-vowel blending), which is fine, but we prefer the more traditional (vowel-consonant) approach combined with word families. And one more thing: mastery of the short vowels is the sine qua non of phonics programs, and few programs really give adequate practice in this very important skill. First Start Reading solved all of our little problems and made us happy. We hope you like it too.
First Start Reading covers consonants, short and long vowels, 45 common words, and manuscript printing, accompanied by artist-drawn coloring pictures and drawing pages for every letter. Your child will begin reading in the very first lesson as he progresses through four student books and thirty-one phonetic stories, such as “Hogs and Pigs” and “Jog to the Jet.” The Teacher Manual guides you through the program and provides helpful assessments and teaching tips.
*Sidenote* Going at a different pace, the Memoria Press Simply Classical Curriculum Level C only includes FSR Book A. It is my plan to go this route with my different learner in my younger daughter within the next year.
The Teacher’s Guide for First Start Reading has a gorgeous exterior and a no-nonsense black and white interior with lots of space to write notes for future lessons. Each of the student workbooks is fully reproduced within. Answers when appropriate and a scripted guide the letters to the basic phonics. I love the hand-holding it provides and after a while was able to easily instigate a lesson without reading directly. (This Teacher’s Guide is teaching me to be a better teacher in our early years of “learning” homeschool together.)
My experience with phonics programs varies, but I am delighted with the atmosphere of First Start Reading. It is a program meant for early writers, and letter recognition is taught at the same time as letter formation. Although if the handwriting is too much for your student, I can see and have heard of others completing parts orally very successfully.
Student Workbooks labeled A-D are also very attractive. Just long enough to set a goal, and accomplish the completion of a book, however not so long as to overwhelm as one or even two FULL workbooks might be. The interior is full black and white, yet there is plenty of opportunity to color for the artistically inclined child and they’ll be delighted to do so. Even for the less artistic (those kids that despise coloring!) the program is fully functional with minimal coloring as well. First Start Reading uses a trace, and then copy method to build up a student.
By the end of First Start Reading and with the inclusion of Memoria Press Classical Phonics and three American Language Series early readers students are able to then, tentatively, head into reading Level 1 early readers. Memoria Press uses EPS readers as reinforcement and while we do not own those, we substitute with Bob Books fairly well. The short stories found both in the readers as well as within the student workbooks are the perfect amount of momentum for the beginning reader. (The other books in the ALS readers have been made available through Memoria Press for the Simply Classical programs as well.)
Now, as of last summer, there is a set of summer extension plans. These continue with additional EPS readers and Memoria Press Classical Phonics.
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 we 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.
I have to confess it took me a while to understand and fully use Classical Phonics the best, but once we had a rhythm I found where I could take it out at the right places when my student needed extra reinforcement and now I’m very comfortable with it and she’ll “read it” just for the fun of it. I am glad to continue to use this resource within our K5/First Grade Curricula year as well.
In supplementation to the First Start Reading Program, originally was scheduled SRA Phonics 1 and while Memoria Press maintains this is a good option, due to the publishers selling rights they have had to look elsewhere to be able to sell the material on their site and within their curriculum packages and have thusly made a change to using Core Skills Phonics. I was currently using the Kindergarten Lesson Plans when they made the change and it is my opinion that the Core Skills Phonics books series does not have enough on the page, and is a bit boring with the open space and black and white solid tone workbook. I discovered Adventures in Phonics from Christian Liberty Press and switched out my supplementation to their series and I’m very happy with it, especially the Biblical references. There is lots on a page, and the book is two toned, which gave me two reasons to like it, yet I hear these are some of why they leaned toward Core Skills instead! Amusing to me is that what I liked they wanted to avoid, but it just goes to show that changing one book or two out does not cancel out the possibilities that are met with planning your year with Memoria Press Curriculum Lesson Plans!
Visit Memoria Press’ website to read more about their Phonics and Early Reading materials. And while not included in the Kindergarten curriculum package, if you’re student needs more, you can always add in the Coloring Book and Alphabet Books from the Junior Kindergarten Curriculum for a little extra, especially for those artists. (See my review of those in the archives! Linked below the JrK button, below here.)
Next on the schedule, I believe, is Math…
I received a portion of 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.
Make sure to check out the parts of my Kindergarten review in posts to come!
You might also be interested in Junior Kindergarten.