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2005 March Newsletter
Dr. Cindy Cupp

Dear Educators and Parents,

Welcome to the March 2005 Online Newsletter.  This month I will focus on teaching strategies that will help you make March a fun and exciting month in your classroom or home school!   

Section One will feature teaching ideas from great teachers at Sara Harp Minter Elementary School in Fayette County, Georgia.  Sara Harp Minter ended last year with 100% of their students learning to read in kindergarten and first grade and they have achieved the same success already this year!

Cindy Kemp, first grade teacher at Berta Weatherbee Elementary in Troup County, Georgia will be our feature teacher in Section Two.  Cindy is a dynamic first grade teacher who has used our program for four years.  Be sure to try her suggestions for easy-to-make and fun-to-teach games that will motivate your young learners.

Section Three includes my suggestions on how to improve instruction in our Readers.  I hope you will copy this section and keep it in a notebook for future reference.


Wishing you a wonderful March!!


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        Teachers of Sara Harp Minter Elementary, Fayette County

Section Two        Cindy Kemp, Berta Weatherbee, Troup County

Section Three      Suggestions from Cindy Cupp




Section One – Sara Harp Minter Elementary, Fayette County, Georgia

Student achievement in reading has been so outstanding at Sara Harp Minter that I asked kindergarten and first grade teachers to meet with me to discuss strategies they use that go beyond the teachers’ manuals in our program.  The following are a few suggestions: 

  1. Turbo Boost for the first, second or third graders beginning the school year  below Reader 31-

Readers 23-30 are matched with Readers 31-38 as shown in the table below.  For example:  Sight words in Readers 23 and 31 are taught at the same time.  This matching continues 24-32, 25-33, 26-34, 27-35, 28-36, 29-37 and 30-38.  When students finish Reader 30, they will also know all the sight words through Reader 38.  The students skip from Reader 30 to Reader 38.  This saves about 7 weeks of instruction.



Students receive instruction in these Readers.  As the students practice in these Readers, the teacher pulls the sight words from the Reader in column B. 

For example:  Students spend a week on Reader 23.  During this same period of time, they practice sight words from Reader 31.


Students do not receive instruction in these Readers.  The teacher teaches only the sight words.


31  Sight words only


32  Sight words only


33  Sight words only


34  Sight words only


35  Sight words only


36  Sight words only


37  Sight words only


38  Sight words only


  1. Weekly grade planning sessions

Teachers meet weekly by grade level to share ideas and discuss strategies for improving instruction.  The focus of these meetings is always “how can we help our children?”


  1. Raising the bar for student assessment

We ended our session by discussing the possibility of using a reading assessment that would measure reading levels two or more years above grade level. 



Section Two -  Cindy Kemp, Berta Weatherbee, Troup County



Our class has had so much fun using the Cupp Cards to practice our word attack skills!  We decided it would be even more fun to create new and varied gameboards to use with our Cupp Cards. 

The gameboards vary in level and subject.  For example, one gameboard features the letters of the alphabet.  We use this one to advance in ABC order, reinforce the sounds of the letters and to practice the
sounds, including soft c and soft g.










On Valentine's Day, we used our "Puppy Love" gameboard.  It has two different heart shaped paths by which the teams advance.  Each picture of a puppy has pawprints to keep the kids going in the right direction.


What that means is, there is one pawprint on the first puppy, there are two pawprints on the second puppy, etc.  The names of each puppy came from a cookbook.  So they have names like "Ginger" and "Mango" and "Sugar" and the kids love to use this board.  The puppy at the finish line is the one with it's tongue out and I tell the kids, that they'll get some puppy love when they make it to the top.








We have an "Incredibles" (registered trademark) gameboard, also. Each character in the movie represents a skill that good readers possess.

The Dad exhibits incredible strength and might... I tell the kids that they must be strong enough to work hard and when they are reading to do it with all their might.

The mom (Elasti-girl) has the ability to stretch like a rubber band. This represents the fact that when reading, students must stretch their imaginations.  They have to be good at stretching beyond the word itself and to the words around it to let the context help them figure out what they read.

The daughter (Violet) has the incredible power to create a forcefield around her for protection.  I tell my students that they too must pretend that they are shielded from the noise and distractions around
them and must be in their own little world, so that they have full concentration on their reading.

The son (Dash) is super, super fast.  This represents fluency.  I encourage the students to read quickly and accurately so that they can get to the meaning of the text.

And last, the baby (Jack-Jack) can turn himself into other forms of beings.  This is a reminder for the students to switch their vowels.  I tell them, "When you are reading, you have the power to switch a vowel whenever you want to if the word is not making sense to you. 

With all of the media attention to this movie and these characters, it allows me to capitalize on reading components in my classroom in a whole new way.




"The World Tour" may perhaps be their favorite of all time!! This gameboard features 43 different photographs of real places around the world.  As the students read words they move their game pieces (the tiny cars from the LIFE game) to places on the road.  The trip begins at the White House in Washington, D. C. and goes to well known places like the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower in New York City.  Other places include the Golden Gate Bridge, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon The Great Sphinx in Egypt, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben in London, and to so many other fascinating places.  We take the time to discuss these landmarks and the kids beg to play! 


These gameboards only skim the surface of what you can do with the kids.  Keep in mind that with every board we are always using the cards from our Cupp Cards toolbox. 

With St. Patrick's Day coming, I think we will design a new one that gives them greater insight into the holiday and its legend and folklore.

Best wishes to everyone, from my classroom to yours!

Cindy Kemp
Berta Weathersbee Elementary





Section Three – Suggestions from Cindy Cupp

  1. Toolbox Card Decks – Children love to play games.  Be sure to include games in your phonics instruction.  Your Classroom Kit contains one Race Car Game Board.  If you haven’t played Race Car, get your game board out and start playing.  You also might like to make additional game boards.  Use your card decks from the Toolbox and change your game boards frequently and students will not get bored or tired of sounding out new words.
  2. In the Online Newsletter Archives, you will find LOTS of great ideas from previous newsletters.  Copy these newsletters and keep them in a notebook for easy reference.
  3. When students “catch” Hop’n Pop and read with fluency and comprehension, move to a new Reader.  It is okay to be on Reader 23 for sight words, fluency and comprehension and to be on Reader or Lesson 15 for phonics.  Sight words and phonics may be taught from different Readers.
  4. If students can’t catch Hop’n Pop, don’t move to a new Reader. 
  5. Email me at if you have any questions about instruction.  I usually get four or five emails from teachers each day and I always answer emails.  If you would like to talk with me, send me your school phone or home phone number and a good time to call you.  I will call.
  6. I am following the reading progress monthly of more than 6,000 students in 45 schools.  Many of our schools have reached 100% literacy with all kindergarten students in Reader 5 or above and all first graders in Reader 20 or above.  My goal is 100% literacy for all schools!!



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