Contact Dr. Cupp
Online Newsletter
Newsletter Archive
Classroom Sets
Price List
Order Form
Before Readiness
Sample Lesson Plans
Research Results
Company Background
Resource Links
Tribute to a Veteran

Cupp Publishers, Inc. is pleased to announce that we have revised the Dr. Cupp Reader® Booklets for the 2004 school year..... 

April 2004 Online Monthly Newsletter
by Dr. Cindy Cupp

Dear Educators and Parents,

Welcome to the April Newsletter!  We are thrilled to report that we now have second year schools with 100% literacy in first grade.  For more details, be sure to follow our Monthly Updates on our web page under the Research link.

During the last month, we have worked to complete the revision of our Readers and Teacher’s Manuals.  I think you will be very pleased.  We plan to begin shipment of the new materials on April 19. 

 In February, Miss O received a wonderful letter from six students:  Alec, Sydney, Sam, Amy, Evan, and Lexi.  The return address was lost, and she can’t answer the letter.  If you know these students, please email me.

 This Newsletter has five sections.  Section one is a letter from Representative Johnny Isakson giving you Update information from Washington concerning No Child Left Behind.

 Sections two through four are full of exciting sight word games and teaching tips.  These ideas are part of the new manuals, and I am presenting my favorite ones in this Newsletter. 

 In Section five, I have included four of the thirty Words of Wisdom that are included in the new manuals.  These were fun to write.  I hope you enjoy them!

 Next month our Feature School will be Rosemont Elementary in Troupe County.  Be sure to return next month to see the exciting things happening in reading at Rosemont.

 Wishing you a super spring,

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


Summary of Sections

Section one         Washington Update from  Representative Johnny Isakson

Section two         Sight Word Games and Teaching Tips

Section three       Phonics Games and Teaching Tips

Section four         Comprehension Games and Teaching Tips

Section five         Words of Wisdom


 Section one
Washington Update from Representative Johnny Isakson

Dear Georgia Teacher:

For most of my life in public service, I have been working in education. When Zell Miller appointed me Chairman of the State Board of Education it did not take long for me to learn that the most important thing we can do for education is give teachers the freedom to do what they do best: teach.  If you put all the politics and paperwork aside, the most important factors in any child’s education are the quality of the teacher and the progress of the student.

When I was elected to Congress in 1999, I brought the lessons I learned at the state and local level with me and requested a seat on the Education & Workforce Committee. During my time in Congress, I have joined with thousands of teachers in meetings and listening sessions to discuss the day-to-day realities of the classroom. With your help, I have consistently concentrated my efforts on teacher-focused and student-centered reforms.

In 2001, President Bush asked me to help him write a bill that would become the most sweeping reform of our nation’s education system in a generation.  As one of the original authors of the bill, I worked tirelessly to ensure that the bill remained focused on teachers and students in the classroom. We worked to craft a bill that held schools accountable for monitoring student achievement, but still gave teachers the freedom to teach, principals the freedom to lead, and superintendents the flexibility to make changes that suit the needs of their schools.  The result, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), brings unprecedented flexibility to the state and local levels.

As with any change of such magnitude, NCLB has experienced some growing pains in its implementation. As soon as we became aware of problem areas, Congress and the Department of Education came to teachers and asked you to help us fine-tune the law. With your feedback, we have worked with the Department to issue new policies that give states maximum flexibility:

·        We increased flexibility in the assessment of special needs students with the most severe cognitive disabilities.

·        We brought greater flexibility to the assessment of Limited English Proficiency Students (LEP).

·        We improved flexibility for teachers working to become “highly qualified” in the subjects that they teach.

These changes recognize that while the spirit of NCLB is to improve education for every child in every classroom, the essential tool for making that happen is flexibility. If improving the academic achievement of a severely disabled student in your classroom means monitoring their progress with a different test, so be it. If ensuring the progress of an LEP student in your classroom means giving them a full year to transition to the English language, it should be done. And if improving the arithmetic achievement of students in a rural school means hiring a multi-subject teacher who is still working to become “highly qualified” in one of his/her subject areas, a principal should be able to hire that teacher.

As implementation continues, I am certain that additional policies will be released that will even further the flexibility of NCLB. To that end, I hope you will never hesitate to share with me your suggestions on improving education for Georgia’s students.  While our perspectives may differ on some issues, our common thread will always be a passion for education.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Johnny Isakson
Member of Congress



Section two:   Sight Word Games and Teaching Tips


1. Variation for Hop’n Pop

Usually, students are recognized when they catch Hop’n Pop.  Try this variation:  All students attempt to catch Hop’n Pop on the first round.  The scores are recorded.  Students are told a prize will be given to the student who can improve the most.  Award a special prize to the student who increases his or her score the most.  A prize might be leading the line, a smiley face drawn on his or her paper, etc.


2. Sight Word Graph – Adairsville Elementary School, Adairsville, Georgia

Submitted by Dawn Caldwell

This great idea is from Adairsville Elementary in Adairsville, Georgia.  To make a strong connection between mathematics and reading, graph the Hop’n Pop words.  When students learn five new words, they can color in a box on their graph.







































































































































3. Buddy Hop’n Poppers

Buddy Hop’n Poppers – If students need a little motivation, the teacher may invite the class to join the Buddy Hop’n Poppers Club.  The teacher will assign each student a Buddy.  Buddies work together during the day to learn their sight words.  Each time either one of the Buddies catches Hop’n Pop, they get to color in a point. 

Buddy Hop’n Poppers

Buddy Hop’n Poppers








John and Tom








Sue and Tasha








T.J. and Monte









Section three:   Phonics/Spelling Games and Teaching Tips

1.   Spelling Games – Spelling Bee - Revised

Students line up in two lines.  Team captains stand beside the board or chart paper to record the score.  The teacher calls out one word to the first student on Team A.  If this student attempts to spell the word, but does not spell it correctly, the student earns one point for trying.  The teacher spells the word correctly.  The student spells the word back to the teacher.  The teacher then calls out a word for the first student on Team B.  If this student spells the word correctly, Team B earns two points.  Students earn one point for trying and one point for spelling the word correctly.  No student ever sits down until the game is over.  If anyone breaks a rule or talks out of turn, the teacher directs the Team Captain to deduct two points from the score of the team member that broke the rule.

2.  Flip It

The teacher will select Toolbox Cards from either Deck 33, 34, 35 or 36.  Words selected should be words the student understands.  The teacher deals out a card to each child in the group. 

First round – Each student attempts to sound the word out while only looking at the front of the card.  Students do not pick the card up and do no look to see how the word is divided on the back.  The cards must stay flat on the table. 


The teacher allows each child to take turns pronouncing his or her word.  If the student correctly pronounces the word, the student is given another card.  If the student misses the word, the teacher says, “Flip It.”  Students who miss their words should flip their cards over and work to pronounce the word correctly as the teacher continues to move around the group. 


Second round – The teacher goes around the table again and each child pronounces his or her word.  If the student says the word correctly, the student gets a new word.  If the student misses the word, the teacher says, “Flip It.”  If the word has already been flipped and the student still misses the word, the teacher will help the student until the student says the word correctly.  The student then receives a new card.  Do Not Ever let a student hold a card for more than two rounds.  The student will become frustrated.  Help students if they missed the card on the first round and still could not get it on the second turn.


Section four:  Comprehension Games and Teaching Tips

1.Beat the Tiger is a game we play for comprehension.  The following cheer is a new twist for the game:

As students practice reading stories, the teacher records the score for Beat the Tiger.  The goal of the game is for the kids to earn all the points, and the Tiger to have a score of zero.  If the Tiger does not get any points on pages 2 or 3, students and the teacher have reason to celebrate.  Reading success is based on hard work and many opportunities to celebrate successes.  A celebration for two days of no points for the Tiger might include:  The successful group members stand in front of the entire class holding a pompom.  The class does the Beat the Tiger Cheer in honor of the successful group.

Teacher:  “Who Beat the Tiger?”   Successful Group: “We Beat the Tiger!”  Repeat line

Whole Class:  “Way-to-Go!  Way-to-Go!  Go-Kids-Go!”   Kids shake their pompoms.


2. Semantic Feature Analysis

Graphic Organizers – Semantic Feature Analysis

Semantic Feature Analysis can be a fun way to visually show students how people or characters are alike and different.  This sample Semantic Feature Analysis will also introduce the terms noun and adjective

The teacher introduces this lesson by saying, “Boys and girls, today I want you to help me make a chart showing how we are all alike in some ways and different in other ways.  I am going to write everyone’s name on this chart.”  Students will continue to add adjectives to the chart until every child has a different score.

Semantic Feature Analysis

Describes person

Name of person









blue eyes

brown eyes



































Section five:  Word of Wisdom from the new Teacher’s Manual

The new Part 1 Teacher’s manual has thirty Words of Wisdom for teachers.  I am sharing a few of my favorites with you.

Dr. Cupp’s Words of Wisdom for Teachers #1

(One of these days, I am going to have this written somewhere in stone.)

Tell yourself over and over, “I am teaching children, not a reading program; therefore, I will have patience and wait for the child. We will practice every day and when the child is ready, we will move forward.” Children often don’t learn to read because we, the teachers, get all caught up in where the child is supposed to be, and we don’t pay attention to where the child really is. As a dear friend once said, “You can plant that seed in winter, but it is not going to grow until spring, no matter how much you water and fertilize it.”



Dr. Cupp’s Words of Wisdom for Teachers #2

There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

A teacher is a combination of mother, father, friend, drill sergeant, king and queen. Only a teacher can figure out how to take discarded “junk” and turn it into a beautiful class project.
Regardless of how creative teachers can be, there comes a time when a teacher really needs something, and it seems impossible to get the needed material for the class. This is the time for the old saying to take over:

There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Yes, if you really want it, you can figure out another way to get it, but always keep in mind: If you figure out another way to skin that old cat, at some time in the not-so-far-off future, you will find out that the end result of a skinned cat is an unhappy cat. Translated into Eductionese: Watch who you skin along the way. They will probably end up being your boss next year.



Dr. Cupp’s Words of Wisdom for Teachers #3

Taking Chances

One of my most favorite principals was a gentleman named Phil Smith. One year, I decided to change from being a first grade teacher to a high school teacher. Phil Smith was the principal of my new high school. I was teaching sixteen year olds who could not read.

Mr. Smith said that he was open to any ideas I might have that would help these students learn to read. I attended a state reading conference and listened to a lady in a red dress tell about using a jump rope to improve reading. She used this jump rope technique with servicemen who had reading problems. The idea was to demonstrate that the more you practice reading or rope jumping, the better you get.

I returned to school excited about this new idea. Mr. Smith provided the jump rope. During my first class, the tallest student volunteered to jump first. He was so tall that as the rope went up, it caught the hanging light fixture. The fixture pulled loose from the ceiling and slammed into the electric heater in the back of the room. The electric heater sent out sparks and a fire started. The fire set off the alarm system and the entire high school was evacuated. After everything was back in order, Mr. Smith stopped by my room and asked, “Do you want to try another jump rope?” I said, “NO!”

Don’t fear failure. Success is sometimes found at the end of a long road paved with at least a few bumpy failures.


Dr. Cupp’s Words of Wisdom for Teachers #4
A Real Prince Meets Cinderella

On October 2, 1990, I was teaching a reading course to 20 elementary and middle school teachers. We were giving one-on-one tutoring to adults who could not read. A huge bear of a man named Donald appeared at the door and asked for help with learning to read. He became my student.
Donald wanted to learn to read because he had a 5-year-old daughter in kindergarten. His daughter was supposed to have a parent read aloud to her every night in order to meet her “homework” requirements for school. Donald was the only adult in the home, and he did not want to tell his daughter he could not read.
We decided to begin his lessons with the book Cinderella because this was his daughter’s favorite story. He practiced until he could read the first five pages with his eyes closed. He left our first class thrilled that he could read to his daughter.
The next week he returned. I saw the big smile on his face immediately. He said he had been a big hit with his little girl. He had read the same five pages to her every night. She had asked him to continue in the book, but he said he thought fast and told her it was like a serial movie- sort of like Rocky I and Rocky II. He promised to read the next five pages the following week. I felt that this little girl was one of the lucky ones. She would not have to wait to find a prince with a glass slipper to make her life better. Her dad was the prince.
Donald did finish Cinderella. He made remarkable progress. But no one will ever be able to remove the scars caused by years of illiteracy. We, the reading teachers, hold the futures of so many. My dream is that one day all the Donalds of our world will learn to read Cinderella when they are 6 instead of 46.

Thank you for sharing my love of teaching reading.

My sister, Ginger Douglass, and I wish for your success with 100% of your students.
Cindy Cupp


Be sure to continue to follow our ongoing research.  Click the Research link on this webpage. 

Please type in the password to view our newsletter archive.

© 2003 Cupp Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

If you are a teacher using Dr. Cupp Readers® 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

Webmaster: Picture Perfect Productions.