My youngest daughter is only three years old, but she is such an explorer and analyzer. Ever since she was born, I could tell that she was looking around and absorbing everything happening in her world. She loves to study things and objects. She likes to learn how they work, how things are done and she likes to do things herself.
I love this beginning phonics, reading and printing curriculum called First Start Reading, I thought I could use it with my oldest (5 years old), but when it arrived, I realized that Book A would be perfect to try with my very alert and very advanced 3-year old instead. Here is what we did, how we did it and what we think of First Start Reading.
About Memoria Press
I was very pleased by what arrived in the mail. There was a Teacher’s Guide (which is very thorough and scripted) and four workbooks for the student (Book A, Book B, Book C and Book D).
First Start Reading: Book A
We started with Book A. She was very excited to be a big girl and learn how to formally write letters. She knows all of her alphabet and the letter sounds. We have been doing different activities to expose her to letters, sounds and how the letters make words, but it wasn’t until now that we actually started formal printing practice. Was she ready for it? Absolutely! She loves every minute of it and she even asks to do it on the weekends!
Here are links to sample pages: Book A Sample, Book B Sample, Book C Sample and Book D Sample. I recommend that you look through these to get an idea on whether this is the right level for your child. I would even have your child try these out!
How We Used First Start Reading
I was almost 100% sure that my daughter is left-handed because she favors it, but she still uses both at all times. First Start Reading gave us an opportunity to find out with a bit more certainty which hand is most likely her dominant one. The fist lesson was a very defining one in a few areas. The first one was handedness.
I let her practice writing letters with both hands and we would discuss which one was more comfortable to write with and which letters looked nicer and more legible. We both agreed that writing with her left hand looked and felt more natural and that her printed letters looked better.
We talked about how to hold her pencil, which pencil is best for her hand (in our case, the primer pencil was best because it is thicker), how to tilt her paper slightly to the right and how to follow the arrow on the initial letters in the lessons. We liked it that all of their letters have a tiny circle to indicate where the child is supposed to start printing each letter. This is incredible helpful.
She is an artist at heart, so she loves it that these lessons come with pages to color and it isn’t just a boring book with rote handwriting practice and nothing else. She enjoys coloring the lesson’s picture while I get Brother settled in his work. Then we do the printing lesson together.
I give her only pertinent information and I try to talk very little. I like for to look at the arrows and follow instructions. She even says the instructions to herself out loud as she prints. For the “A,” she says, “Start at the dot, diagonal line, diagonal line and across.”
We thoroughly enjoy First Start Reading. The lessons are short, simple, fun and very productive. Memorial Press definitely seems to know what they are doing! The letters were easier for her to print because of how the lesson is presented and she was even confident enough to write the letters on her own (on a blank sheet of paper) with no guiding lines or dots. She did great. We will most definitely recommend it and continue using it.