Why is teaching reading such a challenge sometimes??
I have 3 kids. Two can read. Our youngest is 7 and not yet reading. She has been stubborn in this arena and I haven’t pushed it because I don’t think it is crucial to be reading at a certain age.
That being said, in the last few months, she has decided she wanted to put forth the effort to learn to read. Up until now, she was content with people just reading to her, but I think others her age that can read has affected her decision and now she is ready.
Teaching reading to my older two kids was a bit of a challenge at times, but with my youngest it has been more of a struggle. Mostly just a battle of the wills.
I was using the same curriculum for her as I used for the first two kids. I thought about switching, but frankly, I knew this curriculum and I didn’t want to have to learn a new one. So I guess I was being a bit stubborn as well… not wanting to change.
Well, since I had the opportunity to review a new reading program, I decided this was the perfect time for me to stop being stubborn and see if a new program will help her and I, both.
About the Curriculum
The First Start Reading program comes with a Teacher’s Guide and 4 student workbooks (Books A-D).
Along with teaching how to read, the books go over handwriting. There is special attention that is paid to pencil grip. We have had trouble in this area and because the book reminds me (the teacher) often, it helps me to remember to watch for it.
First Start Reading uses a phonics approach to teaching reading, but they leave out things that some other programs have in them, such as memorizing phonics rules, teaching all sounds at the beginning, special marking systems, and so on. First Start Reading find those features to be unhelpful and thus, left them out.
Instead, it focuses on ear training, blending vowel-consonant instead of consonant-vowel, blending unvoiced consonants first (m,n,s,r,f,t), one sound for each phonogram at a time, reading words and sentences early on, and more.
The Teacher’s Guide spells things out for you. General information is in regular font, scripted words for the teacher are in italics, and answers/student responses are in a smaller font.
Each lesson introduces new sounds and reading of new words. At the end of the lesson, the student has the opportunity to color and/or draw a picture.
What we think about First Start Reading
First of all, I love the Teacher’s Guide. I love a curriculum that spells out exactly what I need to do. And with reading programs, I especially like it when they tell me what to say to the student.
The only thing about this program is that it isn’t necessarily geared specifically for homeschoolers. It is written for a classroom setting, so sometimes the scripting with be something like, “Who can read the sentence on line 8?”. Since I am only teaching to one child, I just have to remember to change my “script” when lines like that come up. It’s not a big deal, though.
My daughter seemed to do better with this reading program than the one we have been using. There was definitely less resistance on a daily basis!!
We sometimes would do more than one lesson in a day, because she had already been doing another program, so the beginning lessons were sounds she already knew.
Overall, I like this program and so does she, so we will continue to use it in replace of our other program.
Information at a glance:
For whom? Beginning readers
How much is it? $42.95 for Teacher’s Guide and 4 Student books ($28 for just the student set of books)