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October Newsletter

by Dr. Cindy Cupp

Dear Parents and Educators,

September was a great month for Cupp Publishers, Inc!  I met more than 1,000 parents during visits to schools using our program.  It is so exciting to see moms and dads committed to helping their children learn to read!

All schools using Dr. Cupp Readers® and Journal Writers are invited to send in their monthly Updates.  If you would like more details, please email me at cindycupp@mindspring.com

We are pleased to announce that all new orders are being shipped within three days.  If your school has ordered materials and you have not received your material, please check with your county office for the Purchase Order number and email me this number.  We will follow up immediately with a phone call back to you concerning your material.

In Section One of this newsletter, Congressman Johnny Isakson provides an Update from Washington about No Child Left Behind.  Johnny has been a friend to educators for many years.  I had the privilege of working with him while I was working at the Georgia Department of Education.  I often tell people that Johnny Isakson knows how to get things done.  He works with groups that appear to be on opposite sides, and he knows how to bring these folks together.  I have introduced him before by telling the audience that Johnny has been married to Dianne for 35 years and Joyce has been his secretary for 35 years.  Any man that can figure out how to work successfully with two different women for 35 years is remarkable.  Johnny is remarkable!!

Section Two gives you details about our search for great classrooms using Dr. Cupp Readers®.  If you are using our Readers and you think your classroom is great, please submit the attached application and you might be the winner of the Jack and Jilly Gold Star Classroom Award.  We will award cash prizes in December.  The teacher winning first prize will receive a check for $300.  This winning classroom will be the feature story in our January 2005 Online Newsletter.  Second place winner will receive a cash prize of $200, and third place will receive a prize of $100.

In Section Three you will find information about the Southeast Regional Reading Conference in Savannah on November 7-9.  A direct link will provide you with easy access to registration forms for this conference.

Section Four features details about the 2004 Reading Leadership Forum, which was held on September 13, 2004 in the Macon Centreplex.  Seven Georgia educators presented a great session about their schools’ success with Dr. Cupp Readers®.

In Section Five, I give teaching tips for using our material.  I have a new game I think you might like to try in your classroom called “The Silent Game.”  Be sure to read this section.

Section Six features teachers from Fayette and Butts County.  Thanks for the cheer and the pictures!

Wishing you a terrific 2004-2005 school year!

Cindy Cupp
Currently, President, Cupp Publishers, Inc.
Retired, Director of Curriculum and Reading, Georgia Department of Education
Always, A Reading Teacher

Summary of Sections

Section One        Johnny Isakson Update

Section Two        Jack and Jilly Gold Star Classroom Award

Section Three      Southeast Regional Reading Conference

Section Four        Presentation from the Reading Leadership Forum

Section Five         Teaching Tips

Section Six           Feature Teachers

Section One:  Johnny Isakson

Georgia’s Achievement Gap Narrowing Under No Child Left Behind

By Rep. Johnny Isakson

 As the school year gets underway, teachers and students at Magnolia Elementary in Dougherty County have a reason to be proud. For two years straight, they have exceeded the state’s annual testing goals set under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). With a population of approximately 96% minority students and 83% of its students on the free or reduced lunch program, Magnolia is beating the odds.

The real phenomenon, however, is that there are schools like Magnolia across Georgia that are meeting and exceeding expectations. In fact, nearly 80 percent of Georgia’s Title I schools met state testing goals in reading and math this year, an 11 percent increase from last year and almost 2 points higher than the overall state success rate. The facts are simple: Georgia has embraced the No Child Left Behind Act and, as a result, we are increasing student success and closing the achievement gap.  Make no mistake, the credit for these successes belongs to the hard-working, dedicated and professional teachers throughout our state.

President Bush signed NCLB into law over two years ago. While the spirit of the law was quite simple, it represented a radical departure from decades of federal education policy. In exchange for federal education funds and more flexibility, states and local school districts would be held accountable for ensuring every child learns—regardless of race, parental income, disability, geography or English proficiency. No longer would millions of disadvantaged or disabled students be subject to what President Bush calls “the soft bigotry of low expectations” and shuffled through the system without receiving a quality education.

Almost three years later, the test data shows that Georgia’s students are succeeding under NCLB. However, many education reform opponents claim the new law represents an “unfunded mandate” and that it unjustly punishes good schools by holding them accountable when disadvantaged students do not make the grade. These two claims could not be further from the truth.

If money were the solution to low academic achievement in our schools, we would have solved all our problems long ago. Since 1968, the federal government has spent over $300 billion on education. To the contrary, NCLB represents a well-funded opportunity to make accountability for the academic achievement of every child the very cornerstone of federal education spending.

In exchange for asking states and local school districts to monitor the academic proficiency of all of their students, we are giving schools more resources than ever before to meet their goals. In the past three years, we have increased federal K-12 funding by 43 percent, given states over $3 billion in Reading First grants and boosted Title I funding and resources for students with disabilities to historic levels. 

As for claims that NCLB unfairly punishes good schools, we can no longer ignore the fact that in many schools certain groups of disadvantaged students fall behind while the rest of the student population succeeds. NCLB simply asks schools to monitor the progress of all students and to disaggregate test data to ensure every child is receiving a quality education. NCLB does not punish schools when a certain sub-group does not meet proficiency goals. In fact, many schools that are struggling under NCLB qualify for extra help, including additional funding and technical assistance. In addition, thousands of children in Georgia’s “needs improvement” schools have qualified to receive private tutoring and other supplemental education services.

NCLB opponents must realize that there is a difference between punishment and accountability.  There is no doubt that this law has brought an unprecedented amount of attention to the academic achievement levels of all students.  The bright light of accountability is oftentimes the greatest motivator. In Georgia, it has empowered our teachers, parents and communities with better information and more choices when it comes to the education of our children. In many Georgia schools, it has brought the community together to work towards a common tangible goal of meeting the state requirements. The result is that 278 schools across Georgia that were on the 2003 “needs improvement” list worked hard and were able to meet proficiency requirements in 2004.

These types of successes are the results of strong cooperation, hard work and high expectations—the reasons why the No Child Left Behind Act is working as intended in Georgia.  While our work is far from over, I am grateful that Georgia’s teachers continue to work so tirelessly to increase the academic achievement and improve the lives of their students.

Johnny Isakson represents Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the House Education & Workforce Committee and was one of the original authors of the No Child Left Behind Act.


Section Two:   Jack and Jilly Gold Star Classroom Award

If you think your class is an excellent Jack and Jilly classroom, please complete this attached application and mail the application and documentation to:

Cindy Cupp
5 Log Landing Road
Savannah, Georgia 31411

The application package must be post marked on or before November 15, 2004.  Winners will be announced in the December Online Newsletter. Winners receive the following:

First place             $300

Second place        $200

Third place            $100

If your application includes pictures of students, please obtain written parental consent for the use of these pictures.


Section Three:   Southeast Regional Reading Conference

Georgia has the wonderful opportunity to sponsor the 23rd Southeast Regional Reading Conference in Savannah on November 7-9, 2004. 

The Georgia Reading Council members have organized this super conference.  Conference Chairperson is Dr. Sheree Bryant.  Marsha Fisher and Annette Walters serve as Program Co-chairs.

Featured speakers include Richard Allington, Vice President of the International Reading Association, Phyllis Hunter and Rosemary Wells.

If you would like to register online, please click on this link www.reading.org


Section Four:   2004 Reading Leadership Forum

Session 14 of the 2004 Reading Leadership Forum featured seven outstanding Georgia educators.  Their presentation was We Did It! We Raised the Bar and Closed the Gap in Reading Achievement in Kindergarten and First Grade!

Bess Strawn, an EIP teacher in Butts County, began the session with details about her 2003-2004 first grade class.  Miss Strawn’s EIP class outscored three other regular education classes on the first grade CRCT.  Miss Strawn used Dr. Cupp Readers® combined with a strong writing component.

Kathy Corely, principal of Sara Harp Minter School in Fayette County, and Kathy Hollard, an EIP teacher at Sara Harp Minter discussed how their school reached 100% literacy last year in first grade.  All first graders successfully learned to read with Dr. Cupp Readers®!

Dr. Susan Remillard, principal of Adairsville Elementary School in Bartow County, and Dawn Caldwell, EIP kindergarten teacher, and Beth Hardin, Reading Coach at Adairsville showed test results of kindergarten students using Dr. Cupp Readers®.

I attended this session and was thrilled to hear the success stories of students learning to read.  Kathy Holland’s story of a blind student reading Dr. Cupp Readers® in Braille as his sighted friends read in the same Reader was the highlight of my day.


Section Five:  Teaching Tips

I have met with more than a hundred teachers who use our program this month. The following are tips that might assist you as you begin the school year in Dr. Cupp Readers®.

1. Think outside the box – If you have tried a game in the Readers and your students do not enjoy the game, change the directions for the game.  In last month’s newsletter, I described a different set of rules for playing Hop’n Pop.  Games should be used to motivate students!  If the game is not motivating, don’t play it.


2. Phonics Readiness Charts – This was discussed in last month’s newsletter, but it continues to be a point I need to emphasize.  The Phonics Charts begin on page 151 in the teacher’s Readiness Manual.  Students must begin on this page or they may have difficulty with the first Ten Minute Phonics™ lesson on pages six and seven in Reader 1.  As students practice on the Phonics Charts that go through Reader 15, they should be as automatic on the rimes as they are on the consonant sounds.  If you can’t hear a steady beat as the student says the consonant sounds and the rimes, don’t move to a new Phonics Chart.

Don’t forget the easy-to-use Phonics Readiness Chart Form on our web page.  This form allows you to easily document your student’s responses for letter sounds, letter names and blending words.  Go to our web page and click on the side link that says Forms.  You will find this form under Form 3.


3. If your students are ready to move to a new lesson in phonics, but they are not ready to learn new sight words, pull one copy of the next Reader and do only the phonics lesson on pages six and seven.  Students are not required to stay in the same Reader for phonics and sight words.

4. Do not move to a new Reader until students have mastered Hop’n Pop.  If you move too quickly, students will become frustrated. 


5. You will have success in Dr. Cupp Readers® with 20 minutes or more of small group instruction each day.  Schools that have TREMENDOUS success provide 60 minutes of small group instruction on the student’s instructional level each day.


6. The Silent Game

Directions:  The students know the hand signs for the AlphaMotion® Cards.  The teacher selects a word he or she is going to spell to the students using AlphaMotion® hand signs. 


1.      The teacher stands in front of the class and makes the hand sign for the first letter in the selected word.  If the students know the letter name that is represented by the hand sign the teacher has made, they give a thumbs-up sign to the teacher.  The teacher calls on one student to give the answer for the correct letter name.  The teacher writes this letter on the board or chart paper. 

2.      The teacher then continues to give the hand signs for the other letters in the selected word.  The teacher stops after signing each letter and asks the students to give a thumbs-up if they know the letter name.  The teacher calls on one student to give the correct letter.  The letter is written on the board or chart paper and the game continues until the word is spelled on the board.

3.      The teacher then leads the class in sounding out the word they have just spelled.

4.      As students master the skills needed for spelling, the teacher can sign the entire word and ask students to spell it on their individual papers.  For advanced students, the teacher may sign the entire word and ask students to give a thumbs-up if they know the word.

Special note:  It is important to ask students to give a thumbs up instead of just calling out the answer.  Give slower students time to think and give their thumbs up.  Slower students will stop thinking and trying if they know they will never be required to give a response.


Section Six:  Feature Educators

Carol Chambers
Huddleston Elementary School, Fayette County

While visiting at Huddleston Elementary School in Fayette County I heard a cheer the teachers use to begin the Hop’n Pop Cheer Cards.  The “pom poms” are called “cheer sticks.”  Carol Chambers writes, “The students and teachers with Cheer Sticks shaking all yell, ‘We’re not cheerleaders, we are word readers!’”

Jennifer Rigsby (shown in both pictures below)
Daughtry Elementary School, Butts County

Jennifer Rigsby of Daughtry Elementary School in Butts County added to the Hop’n Pop Cheer by ending the cheer with “My turn, Your turn.”  She turns the Hop’n Pop Cheer cards down so students can’t see the words and says, “My turn….J-A-C-K.”  Then she looks at the students and says, “Your turn.”  The students then spell Jack without seeing the word.




© 2004 Cupp Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

If you are a teacher using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers and you would like to have your suggestions or ideas posted in the Monthly Newsletter, please send them to Cindy Cupp at cindycupp@mindspring.com

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