Since Miss O is already reading pretty well (she can read books like Henry and Mudge or the Young Cam Jansen Mysteries), I wasn't at all sure what I could pull from this program that would work for her level.
I knew most of the phonics portion would not work for her. I'm not against phonics at all; nor am I a die-hard phonics person like some teachers seem to be. But First Start Reading is a phonics-based program that is pretty thorough, taking a child from not reading at all and giving them a great start toward fluency in reading, and Miss O for one already knows how to read, and for two, didn't respond to the phonics approach very well in the past. I did try out their Classical Phonics book for its' word lists, starting her somewhere in the middle of the book closer to her reading level. This is a nice little companion book, and for those who need it, it does have phonics rule explanations at the bottom of each page explaining the rule the child is practicing.
The First Start Reading program consists of three components--phonics, reading (stories) and printing. It consists of three consequtive workbooks for the student, and a teacher's guide that has scripting as well as a smaller copy of the workbook so the teacher can see what the students will be doing without having to look at the workbook separately. I went ahead and started in the beginning with Miss O, because although she knows how to read already, her printing isn't the best, and printing is an integral part of the lessons right from the beginning. This program uses the "ball and stick" printing you see in a lot of workbooks (as opposed to manuscript or something else). Miss O actually really enjoyed the workbooks, though they are really repetitive in that each lesson is the same format every day.
My assessment of this program is that is a well-thought out, no-frills program that would work well for parents who a) want a phonics approach to teaching reading, and b) who have children who thrive on repetition in learning. The First Start Reading Program is $29.95 and the Classical Phonics book is $14.95. Memoria Press also offers full curriculum packages, Latin and Greek curriculum as well as many other subject areas related to classical education.
Please note: I was given this program free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I am not obligated to give a positive review.