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2005 April Newsletter
Dr. Cindy Cupp

Dear Educators and Parents,

April is going to be the most exciting month!  I have been receiving emails and cards from teachers telling me about the outstanding progress their students are making in our Readers.  Cupp Readers combined with super teachers equals successful students!!

Attention teachers in federal Reading First schools – We may be used as a supplemental or intervention program in your school.  If you would like additional information, please contact me by email at  If you have a friend in a Reading First school, please pass this message on to them.  We are currently being used as a supplemental program in Reading First Butts County and Gilmer County schools.

Section one in this newsletter focuses on raising the reading bar for students in our highest groups in kindergarten and first grade.  After visiting in Okapilco Elementary School in Moultrie, Georgia, I was thrilled to see nine first graders easily read third grade novels.  This section will give tips for challenging our top students.

Okapilco Elementary is the focus school in Section two.  Okapilco teachers have sent games guaranteed to make the last few months of school fun and exciting for your students.

In Section three, I will share pictures and game ideas sent from our newest school, Pleasant Grove Elementary in Henry County.  Carol Anne Blaich, a kindergarten teacher at Pleasant Grove, has provided a great game.  Be sure and read this section.

I received and email from Cynthia Vautrot, a teacher in Reading First Ellijay Primary School, Gilmer County.  The email and her analogy of our program are so great I wanted to share them with you.  Please see Section four for this information.

With warmest regards,

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 – Teaching tips for the advanced students – Cindy Cupp

Section two – Focus School – Okapilco Elementary School

Section three – Easter Egg Hunt at Pleasant Grove Elementary – Carol Ann Blaich

Section four – Email and analogy from Reading First, Ellijay Primary, Cynthia Vautrot 


Section one
– Teaching tips for the advanced students – Cindy Cupp

I assumed that when students in first grade finished our Reader 60, they would move into second grade novels.  I am WRONG!!!  Two weeks ago, I worked with a group of first graders at Okapilco Elementary School in Moultrie, Georgia who had finished Reader 60.  After listening to them read, I realized these children were far above a second grade novel.  We pulled novels on a third, fourth and fifth grade level.  

When your students complete Reader 30 in kindergarten and Reader 60 in first grade, be sure and complete a reading assessment on all students before placing them in other books.  If your students take the STAR test, I would count this STAR score as their independent level.  These first grade students I worked with at Okapilco had STAR scores on a high second and low third grade level.  When you know their reading level on a test like the STAR, add one year to their independent level and you will know their instructional level.  Example:  John scored 3.3 on the STAR.  Select a novel on at least a 4.3 level.  I believe that students should miss at least one word in every three sentences when they are working on their instructional level with the teacher.



Section two
Focus School –
Okipilco Elementary School, Moultrie, Georgia

Bunny Blends

Materials: game board, bunny game pieces, and treats 

Object of the Game: Students recall words that have blends learned from Jack and Jilly Readers 44 & 45

Directions: The students will divide into 2 teams. Each team will have one person to move their rabbit. The teams will take turns going first ( I let my team captains pick a number between 1 and 10 to see which team goes first) . Each time a student moves their bunny to an egg, they must think of a word with the blend that is on the egg.  If they are correct, they will get to move to the next egg (I ask the student to use their word in a sentence as a variation). If the student can’t think of a word with the blend in it, they lose a turn and remain on that egg. When it is that teams turn again, the next person will say a word with that same blend. A team cannot move to the next egg until a word has been made with each blend. The teams will continue taking turns until a team gets to the end of the trail.  The winning team gets a chocolate egg!

Created By: Noel Giles
Okapilco Elementary

Gone Fishing

This game is called "Gone Fishing". I bought all of the materials from the Dollar Tree. It's really simple...but the kids LOVED it! I made word cards on the computer and attached the words with paper clips to paper fish. The students take turns "fishing" in the bucket with a magnetic fishing pole. The student must sound out the word to keep the fish. If he/she is unable to sound the word out, he/she returns the fish to the bucket. I also put "MUD FISH" in the bucket. If a student catches a "MUD FISH" he/she has to return all of fish back to the bucket. The student with the most fish is the winner.

The word cards were created from Deck 23 in the Toolbox. It would be very simple to change the words as the students master them.

This game is lots of fun. The students did not want to stop playing!




Created By: Crystal Bell
Special Education Teacher
Okapilco Elementary





Leap Frog Game

Materials: game board, frog game pieces, and treat

Object of the game:
To motivate students to stay on task and do their best.

Divide students into 2 teams. The game can be used for any section of the Jack & Jilly Reader. The teacher moves the frog every time the students read, and when they are on task as others are reading.  It can also be used during phonics when the students read words correctly and stay on task. 

This game has definitely motivated my students!


Created By: Michelle Wilkes
First Grade
Okapilco Elementary School





M&M Racing

Materials:  game board, M&M figure game pieces, Cupp Multi-syllable words, dice, and M&M candy. 

Object of the Game:  Students will recognize where to break words into syllables to be able to read the words. 

Directions: Divide students into 2 teams with a team captain for each team.  The captains will be in charge of moving the game pieces around the board.  Students will roll dice to see who goes first.  Each student will read a multi-syllable word.  If he/she can read it the first time without turning the card over to see it broken apart, then the captain can move 1 space and the student can have 1 M&M candy.  If that same student has to turn the card over to read the word, then the captain cannot move 1 space, but that student may still have 1 M&M candy.  The first team to get to the finish line wins and gets a bag of M&M candy or some other trophy. 

This game is very useful with other reading concepts that students need to learn and practice.  


Created By: Nada Cox
Okapilco Elementary School
First Grade
M&M is a registered trademark.






Batter Up

Directions: Students divide in two teams. (Red team & Blue team) Each team has a leader. The team leader bats for all team members. 

Teacher selects a word card from 1st base pocket and shows to the first student at bat for Red team. The student will take a swing by sounding the word out.  If he/she sounds the word correctly, the team leader moves player to 1st base and stays there. If student can’t say the word or needs help, it is an automatic out and student can’t advance to 1st base. Then a student from the Blue team will step up to bat at the next word. If student sounds the correct word, he/she will advance to 1st base.  The game continues with each team taking turns at bat. Each word said correctly, the players advance to next base. The first team to make it across the plate first will win a free trip to the concession stand (will get a treat).




Created By: Martha Hobbs
Okapilco Elementary







Mouthwatering Words

Dish up refreshing onset and rime practice! 

 Label disposable bowls with rimes from the phonics section of the Jack and Jilly Readers.  Use ping pong balls (ice cream) for the onsets.  Place the ping pong balls in a clean empty ice cream carton.  The students will use an ice cream scoop to get the ping pong balls out of the carton. He or she will  place the scoop of ice cream (ping pong ball) in a bowl labeled with a rime that forms a word with the onset.  He or she will then read the word out loud to the group.  He or she can also make a complete sentence with the word.   How tempting! 

The students enjoyed playing this game.  They loved their pretend ice cream and got to practice making words!


Carol Ann Horne
First Grade
Okapilco Elementary School



Section three
– Easter Egg Hunt at Pleasant Grove Elementary

Jack and Jilly’s Easter Egg Hunt

Materials: 12 Plastic eggs filled with candy with sight words written on them and, sight  word list per child, marker per child. 

Directions: Each child will hunt 12 eggs or whatever amount you determine.  Each child’s eggs will have the sight words that he/she is working on. Child will be given a list of words to look for. The child may only pick up the eggs that are on his/her list. When the child has picked up the word on list, he/she checks it off and goes to another word on list. When all 12 eggs are checked off, then the child has helped Jack and Jilly fill the Easter basket and will get a special prize. Each child should have 12 different words in his/her basket.

Other options for game:
Build a word, Number recognition,etc.


Help Jack and Jilly Fill the Easter Basket

q       Go
q       Come
q       Jack


Created by: Carol Ann Blaich
Pleasant Grove Elementary

 Section four
– Email and analogy from  Reading First, Ellijay Primary, Cynthia Vautrot

Reprinted with permission from Cynthia Vautrot

Dr. Cupp,

I would like to thank you for writing such a wonderful program as the Jack and Jilly series. As you know, this is Gilmers' first year using your readers. I really enjoy checking out your web site for additional ideas to use from other teachers. We received the program so close to the beginning of school (pre-planning) that I don't feel that I adequately prepared. Saying that, I am AMAZED at the level that all of my students can read. If they can make this much progress by just "jumping into it," just imagine what next year will bring!  

I have taught kindergarten 15 years and was seriously thinking about moving up to 2nd grade. Using your program has re-engerized me and I have decided it is not yet my time to move on. I can't wait to really sink my teeth into it this summer and do even more next year! 

My class has achieved 100% literacy this year. A feat that has never happened before no matter what all I tried. I have always had at least 1 child struggling that just couldn't seem to "get it." Iwould like to share more with you.... 

I have 5 Hispanic children in my classroom. Two started the year with little or no English speaking skills. The other 3 were still very limited. All 5 of these children are now reading successfully and reading fluently! Three of these students make up my lowest group which is still in reader 13 with 7 weeks of school left! They are catching Hop-n-Pop easily with no or few missed words, reading

fluently, and able to answer the comprehension questions. They are so excited about reading and love showing off by reading to every visitor that comes in my room. 

I have 2 other groups of students in my classroom. The middle group is in reader 18 and includes the other 2 Hispanic children. This group is also doing great and love reading!

My top group just completed reader 23. Yesterday, we used some Rigby Reader Theater books (level J) of the Gingerbread Man, to go along with the story in the reader. The students were able to read

the parts with VERY little help from me. They were able to read words that we have not had yet and were SO excited. 

I hope I haven't bored you with my long e-mail. I am just sooooo excited about your program and what my students can do this year. I have bragged to everyone about how well my students have done with your program and thought it only fair that I share their success with you. Our school has not implemented the Pay day part of your program due to being overwhelmed with all of our changes with our Reading First program. I think, if we had done so, we would probably have close to, or even, 100% literacy at Ellijay Primary during our first year!

Thank you so much! Keep up the GREAT work and the Wonderful ideas! 

Cynthia Vautrot,
Ellijay Primary School Kindergarten, Ellijay, GA


Analogy from Cynthia Vautrot

If I took a cooking course and the first week the instructor showed us flour (plain, self-rising, etc.) and told us the things we could do with flour and maybe even let us feel it. The next week, we were introduced to eggs and told everything about eggs, but yet we still didn't add it with the flour. This would continue for many weeks until we had learned everything that would be mixed together before we actually learned to bake a cake. Many people would have lost interest by this time and quit coming to class. Only those who really wanted or needed to learn to bake a cake would still be attending. I'm sure there would only be a couple. 

I feel that this is how I, as a kindergarten teacher, have wasted the students time (and mine) over the last several years by teaching only a letter of the week and being half-way through the school year before the students started putting all of the "ingredients" together. 

Thank you for starting off with reading. By the end of the first day and week of school, all of my students knew many letters of the alphabet, their sounds, and 4 words. That started the year off with so much excitement and it hasn't slowed down yet!


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