Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Studying Real Books in First Grade: A Review of StoryTime Treasures from Memoria Press

Reviewing: StoryTime Treasures Student Guide and Answer Key and More StoryTime Treasures Student Guide and Answer Key

One of our son's favorite pastimes is reading. He loves to read all kinds of books. So, we were very excited to review StoryTime Treasures from Memoria Press. He was so very excited for their arrival and could not wait to get started reading Little Bear (the first book examined in the curriculum). Between the Teacher Guide and the Student Study Guide, we could start right away since we owned the first book and our library had the second book (Frog and Toad are Friends). (And he is just as excited about More StoryTime Treasures!)

Memoria Press follows a Christian Classical Education, teaching children how to be wise and virtuous. Children will be trained in the liberal arts (studying grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music) and gain "familiarity with the great books and the great thinkers of the Western tradition."

If you wish to know more about classical education, you can learn more in this video from Memoria Press:

What is the StoryTime Treasures Set? 

StoryTime Treasures are perfect for first graders after they complete the Kindergarten phonics program from Memoria Press. (We received Classical Phonics and the First Start Reading Set from Memoria Press and reviewed it here.) The lessons in StoryTime Treasures introduce new vocabulary to your children, review phonics and previously learned vocabulary, teach spelling and grammar, and encourage the growth of more skills first graders will need to become lifelong readers and writers.

Reading real books allows children to be engaged in the content and encourage them to become lifelong readers. And because they are classic children's stories, parents do not need to worry about the content of the stories being read.

We only received the student guide and answer key but if you order the StoryTime Treasures Set, you will receive the following:

  • StoryTime Treasures Student Study Guide 
  • StoryTime Treasures Teacher Guide 
  • Little Bear
  • Frog and Toad are Friends 
  • Caps for Sale 
  • Make Way for Ducklings 

In the More StoryTime Treasures Set (First Grade second semester) you will receive the following: 
  • More StoryTime Treasures Student Guide 
  • More StoryTime Treasures Teacher Guide 
  • Billy and Blaze 
  • Blaze and the Forest Fire
  • The Story About Ping 
  • Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie 
  • Stone Soup
  • The Little House
  • Miss Rumphius 

Daily Lessons 

We followed a modified version of the suggested daily schedule that was printed in the Teacher Guide. As our son has already used the First Start Reading books and Classical Phonics: A Child's Guide to Word Mastery by Cheryl Lowe, he was familiar with the basic set up of the materials from Memoria Press. This meant that we could jump right into the work.

Teacher Guide 

One of my favorite things about all of the Memoria Press products we have used so far is that the Teacher Guide provides an introduction to the course as well as a model lesson plan. So if you need a more detailed explanation of how to run your homeschool day, then your Teacher Guide will help you.

For StoryTime Treasures, you can follow a five-day lesson plan. However, you can easily adapt it for your own needs. As our son is reading, we tended to combine some of the days and even read through the entire story on Day 1 (both he and his sister wanted to know what was going to happen next in the story).

I found myself referencing the Classical Phonics book that we received for an early review. I would often have our son read through the pages referenced in the Teacher Guide.

A Typical Week Using StoryTime Treasures in Our Homeschool

I would like to take you through our son's work with Lesson 3: Little Bear Goes to the Moon.

On day one, we examined the common words and new words and talked about contractions. As we do not have the phonics flashcards, I wrote this on paper for him to read. Our son then completed the page in his Student Study Guide. He said the words out loud, used them in a sentence, and wrote the words. We then discussed the definitions of the bold words for the bottom of the page.

The Teacher's Guide has instructions and copies of the Student Guide with answers.  

We read the story again on the second day and went over the common words and new words listed in the Teacher Guide. For Lesson 3, some of these words included: then, thought, that, tumbled, house, flew, and fooling. We can read the phonics words on a separate piece of paper or on our small whiteboard. Finally, our son completed the comprehension questions about the story.

Day three and day four activities are much shorter as they only required our son to review a word study using Classical Phonics. Our son read through the words listed on the pages, paying attention to those listed in the Teacher Guide. For some weeks, we combined day 3 and 4 activities into one day.

As you can see Days 3-5 have phonics lessons referencing Classical Phonics and the flash cards (which we do not own).

For the last day, we saved the Just for Fun activity. On page 16 of the Student Study Guide, our son wrote about his wish to visit the Statue of Liberty and what he thought he would see there as we discussed Little Bear's pretend adventure to the moon. For some reason, our son wanted to skip some of the Just for Fun pages and move forward with the other activities.


While StoryTime Treasures looks at four books, More StoryTime Treasures examines seven books. The lessons in both are laid out in the same manner and allow your children to become a better reader and writer. There are brief lessons in the following across the two Student Study Guides:

  • How to write a sentence
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Verbs
  • Quotations
  • Contractions
  • Adjectives
  • Characters, settings, and plot 
  • Abbreviation
  • Rhyming
  • When to use 'a' versus 'an' 
  • Sentence types
  • Nouns
  • Apostrophes
  • Personification

These grammar lessons are spread throughout the weeks' lessons on reading, phonics, comprehension, and creative activities. I like that they are mixed in during the regular lessons and not separate parts. It is nice to study these grammar lessons while reading real books suitable for first graders.

Our Thoughts 

I like that even though I had heard of most of the books required between the two StoryTime Treasures sets, that some were still brand new to our son. So while they are classic children's books, some were still new to us and made it all the more exciting to study them with our son (and of course our daughter wanted to hear the stories, too).

During the review period, our son read Little Bear, Frog and Toad are Friends, and Caps for Sale. We jumped around a bit in the Student Study Guide as we had to return Frog and Toad are Friends to the library (we will pick up again with this book in a few weeks' time).

I also like the fact that the materials from Memoria Press all have a similar graphic design. This makes it easy for me to find them among our son's school books. And the spiral-bound design of the Student Study Guide is a nice bonus so the workbooks lay flat on the table for our son. The pages are nice and thick so I don't think they will tear easily – even if our son has to make multiple eraser marks.

So even though our son has chosen to skip some of the Just for Fun pages, when I asked him what his favorite part was that is exactly what he said: the Just for Fun pages. I think that is because they don't all require him to write. He can color and draw and be creative.

Working on the Just for Fun page for Caps for Sale

Flipping through Caps for Sale to find the different colors needed for his country picture

We flipped through the Student Study Guide of the next book (More StoryTime Treasures) and imagined what the next set of books will be about. (He is particularly excited about completing The Little House activity page where he will get to add details for an already-drawn house.) Of all the books listed, our son said he is most excited about reading about Blaze and completing the activities for The Little House.

Each story had one page with vocabulary and questions similar to this page from More StoryTime Treasures

I have been really pleased all the products we have reviewed from Memoria Press. I can foresee us using materials from Memoria Press for years to come!

Note: We have also reviewed Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Book Two along with the teacher guides.

Do You Want to Learn More about Memoria Press? 

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Don't forget to check out the other reviews of Second Grade through Tenth Grade literature sets.

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