Beginning Steps to Reading

A Phonetic Approach by Eastern Mennonite Publications

Beginning Steps to Reading (BSR), introduced in 1984 by Eastern Mennonite Publications, provides a systematic, phonetic approach to teaching children to read. The sounds are introduced beginning with short vowels and then consonants from more common to less common. Long vowels come last. By the end of 90 school days (the first half of the year), reading begins. BSR takes a student to this point. After BSR, any course can carry the child into reading skills.

Compared to the Rod and Staff reading program, this program places a much stronger emphasis on learning phonics first, whereas the Rod and Staff program combines both phonics and sight-reading.


  • To teach reading in a way that builds respect for God and that prepares children to read His Word.
  • To have students master phonetic sounds thoroughly before reading sight words.
  • To provide a simple, orderly approach to teaching reading skills.
  • To give a step-by-step teaching plan with explicit instruction, especially for the beginning teacher.
  • To provide adequate exercises for both oral and written drill and review.

Flow Chart (½ school year ≈ 90 school days):

See also the Bible Blessings Readers curriculum, which follows BSR.

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