Catholic families might want to use this with kindergartners or first graders who have already learned all of their letters and sounds, understand how to combine letters to form words, and have learned how to print lower case letters. The words God and Mass are the only two introduced with upper case letters, so you could teach “G” and “M” when you encounter them if need be. Children do need to be able to recognize upper case letters for some of the other activities even if they haven’t mastered printing them. While My Very First Catholic Speller is recommended for first grade, you might begin the book part way through kindergarten after a student has mastered the prerequisites then complete it in first grade.
My Very First Catholic Speller consists of a single worktext that includes an answer key in the back. Brief teaching instructions for each lesson are at the back of the book. Lesson activities vary from week to week but include printing, drawing, matching, word searches, cutting and pasting, unscrambling letters, filling in blanks, and writing sentences. (Some students will need help writing complete sentences.) Letter tiles printed on card stock at the back of the book are to be cut out and used to form spelling words each week to add a kinesthetic dimension to learning. Spelling tests are not utilized at this level.
Lessons follow a general phonetic progression, beginning with short-vowel words, and gradually moving on to long-vowel words. Phonetic elements featured within each lesson’s list of six words are shown at the top of the lesson.
The content is clearly Catholic with references to God, Jesus, the Church, prayer, Mass, Mary, and other words not typically found in spelling books.
Lines for student writing are appropriately large with a dotted line in the middle. The book has a color cover while inside pages are printed in black and white and include a few illustrations. This is a consumable book, so you need one for each child using it.
With 27 lessons, the book should take most of a school year to complete using one lesson per week.