Classical Phonics, from Memoria Press, is one of the best phonics resources I have seen for teacher and students, alike. If like me, you have never been fond of packaged phonics curricula, Classical Phonics will be the perfect tool to organize, sequence and review your phonics teaching and to be sure you cover all the necessary topics to help your student be successful. It is not a traditional “workbook style” curriculum, but affords the teacher the opportunity to design her phonics lessons around the needs of her student, lingering and studying a concept until it is mastered and then moving forward.
I really like how teaching tips and suggestions are included at the bottom of each page. A section at the end of the book, titled “Suggestions to Teachers”, states not to put the book into hands of students until the teacher has thoroughly reviewed these teaching helps. I heartily concur. The tips and ideas put forth will be beneficial to both teacher and student in providing a successful experience in learning to read. In my opinion, Classical Phonics, alongside any reading texts you select, will provide everything that your student needs to become a confident reader. The program is designed to do that at your student’s individual pace, whether that requires one or two years, or something in between.
Classical Phonics begins with the simple teaching of the alphabet. Unit One introduces each letter and its sound on a single page with line drawings that students could color as they master the sound. The short vowel sound “a” is learned on the second page and students begin blending consonants and vowels to form words in each lesson from then on. Unit One continues with CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words in word families and concludes with a brief assessment containing 48 CVC words students should be able to read accurately before continuing ahead in the program.
The silent “e” and long vowel sounds are the focus of Unit Two and again, a brief assessment aids in determining if your student is prepared to move on to more advanced phonetic blends.
Unit Three introduces plurals, possessives (adding ‘s) and the letter “s” as a /z/ sound. Words with the form CVCC ending in ck or double l, s, f, or z are next in the teaching sequence. Once they are mastered, students are introduced to the blends nd, nt, st and mp, as well as ft, pt, xt, lt, lf, lk and lp. A brief reading from the assessment word list will let you see your student’s progress.
The consonant teams ch, sh, th, wh and the initial consonant blends using s, l, and r are the focus of Unit Four. Students will drill and practice words in families, helping to cement the blends in their minds. This unit contains two assessments, one covering consonant teams and one reviewing the initial consonant blends. This unit has only a few pages, but you may spend as much time as needed to review and internalize the phonetic concepts taught here. Mastery should be key before moving forward.
Sw, tw, qu and squ are the consonant blends introduced in Unit Five. Your student will also learn to recognize and speak the sounds of the final consonant teams ng and nk. Be sure your student demonstrates confidence and skill in the reading assessment at the end of the unit before continuing.
Unit Six is comprised of three main focuses: learning the three sounds of the letter y, recognizing and voicing the long vowel teams ai, ay, ee, ea and oa, and the exception to the typical CVCC rule that states i and o may be long when followed by two or more consonants. Word families that illustrate this exception will be introduced. As with all previous units, a final assessment is included.
The rules for soft c and g sounds and word families that include them are included in Unit Seven. Additional long vowel teams like ei, eigh, ey, ea ie, ei, ey, ie, igh, oe, and ow are also covered. This is another unit that may require some extra time and patient review for mastery. Use the assessment to know when your student is prepared to move on.
The sounds for oi, ou, oo, oo and ô (as in all, a, lk, aw), and the special vowel teams that form them, are covered in Unit Eight.
Unit Nine is comprised of rules and word lists that introduce R-controlled vowels and unusual vowel combinations that are exceptions to rules and are spoken as short vowels.
The final Unit of Classical Phonics introduces silent letters, suffixes, prefixes, plurals formed by changing y to i and adding -es, and more. The end of unit Ten has the typical assessment and then a list of sight words for students to review.
If you can’t wait to have your own copy of Memoria Press’s Classical Phonics, visit their website and order this simple to implement and thorough program for your family. However, you also have an opportunity to win this excellent phonics resource by entering our Giveaway Drawing. Classical Phonics along with Level One of the New American Cursive curriculum have graciously been gifted by Memoria Press for one of our Busy-at-Home readers. Visit the Giveaway page to be entered.
Memoria Press provided a complimentary copy of Classical Phonics in order for me to write this review. No compensation was received for the review and the opinions expressed are wholly my own.