Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program: Our Review

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

Helping my children build a solid foundation in reading has always been one of my main priorities in our homeschool journey. Students who can read well, can learning anything they want to from books. In order to create life long learners, we must create excellent readers.

My family was given the opportunity to review Memoria Press‘s classical phonics program: Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program. As soon as I saw this program, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I even went to the extent of having it shipped to the Border Postal Service I use, and picked it up on my holiday down to the states. The review was only open to people living in the USA, but by using the postal service, my family was able to participate. I’m so glad we were going to be in the USA that week, because this program is stellar.

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.”

Classical phonics is a nice, spiral bound book (have I mentioned before how much I love spiral bond books?) that Zakari and I have been using to practice his phonics. The words are well organized, the font is clear, and there is very little distraction on each page.

It is based on the 1913 book, “Word Mastery” by Florence Akin. However Memoria Press has revamped and updated the book to make it more user friendly.

First Start Reading Program

First Start Reading is more then just a phonics program. On top of the phonics it teaches kids how to properly hold their pencils and form each letter. This is so important because when a child has poor letter formation, it slows down the speed they can write at. Also without proper letter formation their work often looks sloppy. It is so hard to break the bad habit of writing letters wrong, so it is best to avoid it and start teaching those good habits early on.

The program is designed to be used for a full year if the student is in kindergarten or for half a year for first graders. We received levels A thru D, with the teachers guide, as well as Book E with the teachers guide. Since Zakari is a 1st grader, we are doing a few lessons per day. Each workbook is to be used only with ONE STUDENT. If you are doing this program with more then one student you will need to purchase extra workbooks. However of course only one teachers guide is needed.

While Zakari is able to read all the words and sentences in book A, I chose not to skip it. The reason for this is level A does not just teach the M, A, S, N, R, F, T, H, th, S, I, C, and P sound. It also works on penmanship, periods, when to use a or an, ‘s, exclamation points, plural nouns and inflected verb endings. These are all things that were overlooked in other phonics programs we have used in the past.

What Do We Think About the Program?

When I opened up this package I just fell in love with it. The guides, workbooks and book are well made.

Inside the workbooks are very clearly printed and very little distractions if any on the pages. Zakari clearly knows what is expected out of him on each page.


I love the teachers guide makes it easy for me to teach each lesson. Each lesson has a simple script that I can follow, so I know that I am doing it right.

Want to see what the Teacher’s Guides and Workbooks Look Like Inside?

Before we started the program I did a flip through video. You can view it below. See if Classical Phonics and First Start Reading would be a fit for your student.

Want to Read More About Many Memoria Press Products from Other Homeschool Parents?

The Homeschool Review Crew & Memoria Press have teamed up to review several of Memoria Press’s products. Click the link below to see other reviews. You will find 60+ homeschool families who have used different products to teach phonics, poetry and Latin!

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}
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