We want to acknowledge all dedicated educators, like you, who are passionate about achieving that light bulb moment with every student. We provide materials with the right building blocks so that all new readers have the chance to get that light bulb moment.

Our Mission:

Teach a child to memorize twenty-six words and that child will be able to read only twenty-six words. Teach a child twenty-six letter sounds and they will be able to sound out hundreds of words. Teaching to read by sounding out words has been successful for centuries, yet the majority of schools currently use reading curriculums which often leave students reading below grade level — or worse. In 1993, the Department of Justice released a study connecting criminal behavior to illiteracy. When children can read well and are excited about learning, they don’t lose interest, drop out of school or turn to crime.  

Do you have difficulty holding your student’s interest?
Is your new reader struggling and getting left behind?
Are you worried you can’t keep their attention and they will fail?
Does the lack of results make you want to give up on the work you love?

  • 48% of educators surveyed said their biggest barrier to teaching new readers is keeping their interest.
  • 39% indicated a connection between struggling students and materials or books being too difficult.

To get different results, one needs to change their teaching methods or use better materials.

Current reading programs omit crucial steps which result in frustrated students.

First Step Phonics fills the gaps by addressing the source of new reader’s lack of interest, their short attention span, and other road blocks.

With full-color illustrations, engaging stories and each gradual step presented in the most simplified form, the reader gains confidence and inspiration to keep going.

Demand materials that achieve light bulb moments.

My Story

In the 1980s, I began working at a tutoring center and eventually specialized in phonics. Great reading materials were scarce for very beginning readers. Finding good workbooks was an even more dismal prospect. I usually hand-wrote my own worksheets every tutoring session.

Over the years, I looked for better reading materials, but never found exactly what I needed. I wanted stories that were cute and fun while still having some kind of plot. I wanted the stories to stay faithful to short-vowel three-letter words. I wanted only one or two sentences per page and minimal sight words.* I wanted stories using no other punctuation than periods. I wanted grammatically correct sentences. I wanted each book dedicated to only ONE short vowel and I wanted several stories for EACH vowel. And I wanted lots of color!

I was looking for a unicorn.

In 1999, I made a list of usable three-letter short-vowel words and wrote a total of 20 stories — four for each short vowel. My next step was to illustrate them. Many months later, four short-A books were complete.  

I shopped the books to publishers, but no one showed interest. At the time, I was the main caretaker for my special-needs daughter and my budget didn’t allow for reproducing the books on my own, even on a small scale. With no resources to take it further, I shoved everything in a box and stored it. I knew someone would come along one day and create great phonics books.

Two decades later, you can’t imagine my surprise when I poked around and saw that, still, no one had filled the need for proper phonics materials. By then, my situation had changed. I ran a successful business that my husband and I had created in 2002. And I had been publishing my own novels for nine years.

The “someone” who I had assumed would one day create those books… was me!

I had everything I needed: knowledge of the qualities needed in early-reader books, experience running a successful business, and the mad skills to write an entire story using extremely limited words.

So I got to work! If you’ve already been through this website, then you’ve seen how this project grew arms and legs. I now have 85 books in the early-reader series, coordinating workbooks, read-along videos, and a teaching manual as well as a how-to video series for parents.

With First Step Phonics products, both children and parents truly have the most extensive and simplified phonics program available anywhere!

Happy teaching!

Veronica Blade

*Sight words are word that don’t follow any rules and must be memorized