Dear Educators and Parents,
Greetings! Before we get into the content of our March Newsletter, we would like to thank you for reading our February Online Newsletter. We had a total of 61,691 hits during February!
In Section One of this March Newsletter, you will find our monthly Washington Update from Congressman Johnny Isakson. Thank you Congressman Isakson for sending this to us.
In Section Two, you will find suggestions for reviewing the new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). In June, the Georgia State Board of Education will vote on accepting the new Standards. The members of the State Board of Education have requested feedback from teachers. Now is the time to offer suggestions!! In my opinion, this review of the Standards is the most important thing you can do to help your students improve academically. Take the time now and review these Standards! Your opinion is important!!! Kindergarten teachers should be sure to read page 56 in the Standards book Reading and Writing Grade by Grade. This book is posted on the Department of Education webpage.
This month we are pleased to include a summary of the results of the research from 17 schools and 2,575 children reporting monthly on student success in Dr. Cupp Readers®. Please see Section Three for the details of this research.
As I make presentations around the state, I am often asked, “Why do your materials work with all students?” In Section Four, I provide an overview of why our Readers work.
Section Five introduces you to teachers at Portal Elementary School in Bulloch County. Portal Elementary is our Feature School of the Month.
In Section Six, Ms. Patricia Foley’s students from Pulaski Elementary School in Chatham County demonstrate how to play Beat the Tiger.
Last month, the sections of the February Newsletter that contained the new revised Readers and the Power Point presentation for helping students learn sight words received thousands of hits. Many of you have ordered the new revised Readers for 2004. Part 2, which consists of Readers 31-60, is ready for shipment now and Part 1 will be ready by April. In my totally biased opinion as the author of these Readers, comparing the old Readers with the new ones is like comparing a Model T Ford with a 2004 Volvo! I know you are going to agree!! In the last two weeks, I have made some important changes in Readers 1-30. I have finally found a way to teach sound blending that I hope will allow 100% of our students to succeed in this difficult area. Section Eight will repeat the Power Point presentation that was so popular last month.
If you have suggestions, questions, or would like to share information with other teachers, please send me an email.
Wishing you a wonderful March!!
Currently, President of Cupp Publishers, Inc.
Retired, Curriculum Director for the Georgia Department of Education
Always, a Reading Teacher
March Newsletter Sections
Section One Update on Education by Johnny Isakson
Section Two Suggestions for Reviewing the Georgia K-3 Language Arts Standards
Section Three Update on our continuing research involving 2,575 students using Dr. Cupp Readers®
Section Four Why Dr. Cupp Readers® work!
Section Five Feature School of the Month – Portal Elementary School, Bulloch County
Section Six Feature class – Ms. Foley and students, Pulaski Elementary School, Chatham County
Section Seven Dr. Cupp Readers® revised – Repeat from the February Newsletter
Section Eight Power Point presentation to help students learn sight words – Repeat from Feb. Newsletter!
Isakson Meets with DOE Official to Discuss NCLB
Washington, D.C.- After over 40 meetings with superintendents, teachers and administrators throughout Georgia, U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson (GA-06) met with U.S. Department of Education officials this month to discuss the No Child Left Behind Act.
In a one-on-one meeting with Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Ray Simon, and Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs, Karen Johnson, Isakson discussed the praises and concerns that he has heard from Georgia educators over the past year.
A large part of the meeting was devoted to discussions over the “95 percent rule,” which requires 95 percent of students to be present on test day. Isakson expressed concern over the rule as it applies to high schools. “This is an area of the law where I think more flexibility is needed,” said Isakson.
The meeting also covered regulatory alignment of NCLB with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Isakson thanked the Department for the regulatory changes already made to give more flexibility in the testing of special needs students.
“On the regulatory changes made for special ed. testing, the Department listened to our concerns and worked with us to deliver more flexibility without threatening accountability,” said Isakson. “I want to work with the Department to see if we can do the same with other provisions of the bill—especially the 95 percent rule.”
Isakson is a member of the House Education Committee and former Chairman of the Georgia Board of Education.
In my personal opinion, the strength of the new Standards lies in the writing component, and the weakness lies in the focus on literature in first grade instead of a focus on teaching students to read the print on the page in a systematic way. The weakness in the Standards for kindergarten lies in low expectations for learning sight words. Kindergarten teachers MUST read page 56 in Reading and Writing Grade by Grade.
Without systematic instruction, many at-risk first graders will have trouble learning to read the text. For those of you that remember the Whole Language curriculum of the 1980s, the Whole Language movement also focused on literature in first grade and not on teaching first graders to read the print on the page. Many students must have direct, systematic instruction in order to learn to read. My opinion is just one opinion. Your opinion is the one that counts. You are the teacher!
This section is written as a suggestion section for helping you organize a review the new Standards. The Standards are available for review on the Georgia DOE webpage. These Standards are not written in a list, but they may be viewed in the book Reading and Writing Grade by Grade. If you want to borrow a copy of this book, most of the America’s Choice schools have copies. These Standards were written by an organization called the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). The America’s Choice program is the delivery model for the NCEE. America’s Choice schools use these Standards and most America’s Choice schools should have a copy of this book.
I received a user-friendly list of the K-3 Language Arts Standards from a school system.
Suggested Steps for Reviewing the Standards
Before beginning a review of the new Standards, look back over the current QCCs. Discuss with others how the QCCs meet or do not meet the needs of your students.
To me, taking the time to review these Standards now is like voting. Your opinion counts now. If you don’t take the time now to review these Standards, then you are not “voting.” You really need to do this by the end of March. State Board members want to hear from you.
Section Three: Summary Update of the ongoing research with 2,575 students using Dr. Cupp Readers®
Written by Cathy Puett Miller
The Pay Day Update
program is designed to maximize results in the classroom and give students
tools they need to become strong readers. By tracking the progress of
students using Dr. Cupp Readers® and examining key elements for
success, schools are receiving vital information about the progress of their
kindergarten and first grade students.
Once a month, individual teachers simply record the number of students currently working in the various Dr. Cupp Reader® booklets on an easy-to-use chart. A Pay Day Update “coordinator” at the school compiles those individual results onto a group chart, reporting by classroom how many students are in each booklet and totaling the numbers. From there, the reports are returned to me, Cathy Puett Miller, consultant on the project, for analysis and feedback.
In return for this participation, schools receive an individualized school report showing students’ progress from month to month (number of sight words mastered and book level attained), compared to the average improvement for the participating schools. Below is an overall summary of those results. In addition, Dr. Cupp studies the results looking for ways she can help teachers improve their instruction and scaffold students to the next level. These findings often result in additional staff development support offered to the school by phone or individualized workshop. One of the methods most effective in this process has been the introduction of the “three group method.”
Summary Update – Research Involving 2,575 Students
% of Free & Reduced Lunch
Average # of Sight Words Mastered (K)
Average # of Sight Words Mastered
Book 1 (1.80)
Book 23 (23.69)
Book 10 (10.68)
Book 39 (39.11)
The monthly Update also gives data for EIP and partial participation classes and “whole school” results. Important factors such as the percentage of free and reduced lunch, amount of small group instruction time, participation of paraprofessionals in instruction are also considered in the analysis. A master report, detailing specific skills mastered by average students, also appears monthly on Dr. Cupp’s website. Among the students from the original 17 schools who began Pay Day Update in September of 2003, all are reflecting a pattern of students moving forward and, in several cases, schools have actually accomplished the goal of 100% literacy for all their students.
*Please note: This number represents the number of sight words students know automatically.
Section Four: Why Dr. Cupp Readers® work!
The following are just a few of the many reasons that our Readers are so successful at teaching students to read.
A student must know specific skills before they can move to a new Reader. Some students will stay in a Reader one day. Other students will stay in a Reader two weeks. The content is the same for all learners. The pacing is the difference in instruction.
Students are not expected to read words they have not been taught unless the student knows how to sound out the unknown word using their phonics skills.
All Readers follow the same format. Once you know how to teach one Reader, you know how to teach the other 59 Readers.
Students have fun learning to read. Teachers have fun teaching students to read. Behavior and paying attention are no longer an issue!!
If you would like to add to this list, please email me your comment. At the end of your comment, give me your name, school and city.
Portal Elementary School, Bulloch County
We are the Kindergarten teachers at Portal Elementary School and we are really enjoying our first year of Jack and Jilly! We have seen a lot of progress in our students this year with their abilities to recognize letters, sounds, and sight words, as well as, beginning to read at a much faster pace than our past years of teaching Kindergarten students. We like the consistent drill and practice the readers give the students and the excitement they get when trying to beat Hop’n Pop! A couple of ideas that we added to the program are listed below. We hope these ideas are helpful to you as they have been for us.
Portal Elementary Kindergarten Teachers (left to right)
Front row: Glenda Best, Thea Porter, Janet Boggs, Donna Hodges
Back row: Rita Thompson, Cindy Reddick, Nan Finch, Donna Lowery, Sheree White
One idea that we have used in addition to the Jack and Jilly readers is the use of word family books. The students work on a word family three times a week by writing words they create the first day, copying the words they created the second day, and making up sentences using the word family words on the third day. We have seen much progress with the students’ abilities to write and create sentences of their own. The students really enjoy reading what they wrote to you as well!
Say it, Use it (variation) – Mrs. Finch’s Kindergarten
Every Friday, each child has one minute on the timer to say the word on the flash card, then make a sentence using it. If both are correct, the child is handed a craft stick. When the timer goes off, the child counts the craft sticks he/she has and the number is recorded on a class chart. We try to beat ourselves every week!
Section Six: Ms. Patricia Foley and students, Pulaski Elementary School
Chatham County – Playing Beat the Tiger
At Left: Ms. Foley's class in Savannah, Ga. is busy playing their favorite game, Beat the Tiger.
Section Seven: Dr. Cupp Readers® revised
Repeat from the February Newsletter
New Reader Booklets – Reader 1 New Reader Booklets – Reader 36
We are mailing samples of Reader 1 and Reader 36 to all schools that have purchased our material during the last 12 months. Be sure to look for the large white envelope that should arrive any day at your school.
If you would like a sample Reader Booklet mailed to you, please click this button and complete the request form.
Power Point for Improving Sight Words
- Linda Severa, Tyrone Elementary, Tyrone, Georgia
Repeat from the February Newsletter
The Power Point presentation for Part
1 flashes the Dolch Sight Words 1-115.
Power Point Part 2 flashes Dolch Sight Words 116-220.
Note from Linda Severa:
I have been a paraprofessional at Tyrone Elementary School for twenty years, working with kindergarten, first grade, the early intervention reading program and the Title I reading program. It has been my lifelong dream to become a teacher. My husband and I have been married for thirty-five years and we have three children and two grandchildren. Since all of my children have gotten their college degrees, I decided that it was my turn so I enrolled at Georgia Military College and obtained my Associate Degree in Science in Education and I am now completing my final requirements for my Bachelors degree in Early Childhood at Mercer University, I will be graduating in December of this year. I enjoy creating games and hands-on manipulatives in order to help children learn and to supplement my income and also to use these funds to develop more ideas. I am looking forward to living out my lifelong dream.
Martha Hall is the kindergarten teacher who works with Linda Severa. Ms. Hall sends this message about the Power Point presentation:
We are very lucky that our school population includes many students that come to Kindergarten already knowing a few sight words. I have used the Dolch sight words slide show of words (1-50) after the first month of school. After our top reading groups got to story 8 or so, I started using the next 50 Dolch words, and this continues, adding more words as the students increase their sight word vocabulary in Reading. I will use the Jack and Jilly Sight Word Slide Show the same way.
We use the slide show at various times during our school day. Whenever there is a spare 5 minutes, we go for it! Some days we may use it twice, in the morning and the afternoon. Many days it is just one time.
Some of the students do learn ahead of the others. I consider this a motivating factor. The other students want to be able to “lead” the class, showing what and how many words they can identify.
I plan to start a chart that will list the exact number of words each student knows. Parent volunteers (which we are lucky to get sometimes) can use the slide show at school with individual students, without putting the slide show on the scan converter, and keep track of which words the students do or don’t know. The volunteers could make word cards for the words the students didn’t know. Without volunteers, I will use it at “nap time” with individual students the same way.
I have found that just making a “chart” out of a piece of construction paper, and calling it a “CLUB,” makes students want to work harder to learn the words, their phone numbers, or tying shoes.
If you want any more information, let me know. Thanks for your support and on-going interest in our Super Successful Reading Program (from Cupp Publishers)!
Wishing you a super month in March!
Be sure to continue to follow our ongoing research. Click the Research link on this webpage.