Thursday, November 3, 2011

First Start Reading and Classical Phonics

I recently received First Start Reading:Phonics, Reading and Printing and Classical Phonics by Cheryl Lowe and Memoria Press to review. The covers of these books are so inviting. But since you can't  judge a book by its cover, here is what you'll find inside.

 First Start Reading: Phonics, Reading and Printing includes 3 students books and a teacher's manual. This covers beginning phonics in a traditional workbook style.  I really love the black line drawings and simple pages. It covers consonants, short vowels, 45 common words, and manuscript printing. Children begin reading in the first lesson as they progress through 3 student books and 25 phonetic stories, such as "Hogs and Pigs" and "Jog to the Jet." The teacher's manual guides you through the program and provides a lesson outline, helpful assessments and teaching tips.

My just turned 6 year old Jenna has been working in book A and seems to enjoy it.  It is very simple to use with virtually nothing for the teacher (me!) to prep. We like to just pick it up at a moments notice and go through a lesson.  The coloring pages make it fun. Some lessons also include a box for drawing a picture.  For instance in the lesson on A there is a box to draw a picture of a word beginning with A.

Lesson 16 in book A
Book A and B each have 25 lessons followed by word mastery review lists and assessments including dictation.  Book C has 33 lessons followed by over 30 pages of review lists and assessments.  Children begin reading real words by the third lesson.  They begin learning to listen for phonetic sounds that words begin and end with. I think this is important not only for sounding out words but also for spelling later on.

First Start Reading also teaches correct letter formation.  The lessons have letters with numbered arrows, dotted letters to trace and room for making their own letters. Each workbook also has a chart at the back of the book with correct letter formation.

From the website:

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.

Click here to see a sample from book A and here for a sample from book B. I really like the simplicity of these workbooks

On to Classical Phonics:
From the website:

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 I 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.

When you get this book you will first want to turn to page 122 where you will find Suggestions for Teachers.  There is a note not to put this book into the hands of your students until you have carefully studied this section.  The section is only 4 and 1/2 pages long so it isn't too much and yet the suggestions provided (though I think intended for a classroom) are very helpful.  It gives you tips on each of the 4 parts of teaching phonics: ear training, tongue training, eye training and word training.
table of contents

Classical Phonics is divided into 10 units as you can see in the picture above (click on it to make it larger if necessary.)  It is intended for students in K-2.  You can view a sample here.  The first section has a page for each letter with pictures (black and white) and words to go with each letter.  It ends with a review of CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant). From there it moves on to more complex words such as you see listed above (long vowel sounds, silent e words, blending etc.)

word lists

sample page
I really like First Start Reading and would recommend it for anyone looking for a traditional phonetic way to teach reading and penmanship.  We will continue to use these books.  I also like Classical Phonics but haven't quite figured out how we will implement it when we are done with the workbooks.  There are no lessons and I like things all laid out for me. I think we will use it for review and spelling. If you have any questions, please ask.

You can purchase First Start Reading is available for purchase at Memoria Press for $29.95 with the teacher's manual and a set of 3 extra students books for $21.95.   Classical Phonics can be purchased for $14.95. Visit the TOS Crew Blog to see what others are saying about First Start Reading, Classical Phonics and First Form Latin also by Memoria Press.

Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy to use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools. It was founded by Cheryl Lowe in 1994 to help promote and transmit the classical heritage of the Christian West through an emphasis on the liberal arts and the great works of the Western tradition. Memoria Press is currently developing a K-12 classical curriculum at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky, where its popular Latin, logic, and classical studies courses are developed and field-tested.

Read more about Memoria Press or go shopping.  You will find Full Curriculum packages, Latin, French, Copy Books, Rhetoric studies and much more!

disclaimer: I received a free copy of Classical Phonics and First Start Reading in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...