Online Monthly Newsletter
by Dr. Cindy Cupp
Dear Educators and Parents,
This is an exciting month for Cupp Publishers. We have reached 100% literacy success for ALL first graders in four schools!! These schools are using our material combined with Three Group Rotation and the Monthly Updates. If you would like to visit a 100% literate first grade school, please email me and I will give you the name and contact information for a visit. There are only two “good” weeks left to visit because students will be leaving for the summer, so email now.
We are also thrilled that our new Dr. Cupp Readers® and Teacher’s Manuals are being delivered to schools, and the response from teachers has been tremendous!
If you are in a school that will be using our new Readers for the entire kindergarten and/or first grade, I will be happy to schedule a day to come to your school (free of charge) and conduct a parent training session. As many of you may know, the new Readers contain a very strong parental component. Please contact me by email and I will schedule a day to visit your school and work with your parents.
We are pleased to announce that we are adding seven new schools in Fayette County next year. Last year, six Fayette schools used our material as their core program in kindergarten and first grade. Next year, we will have a total of thirteen schools in Fayette. Thank you Fayette teachers and administrators!!
Section One of this month’s newsletter contains a great Washington Update from Congressman Johnny Isakson.
Section Two is a copy of the research article about Dr. Cupp Readers® that was published in the Spring 2004 issue of the peer-reviewed Georgia Journal of Reading. The author of this article, Cathy Puett Miller, did a great job of providing documented Scientifically Based Reading Research (SBRR) about the success of our program!!
Section Three comes to us from our feature School of the Month, Rosemont Elementary School in Troup County, Georgia. Rosemont kindergarten and first graders use Dr. Cupp Readers® with great success. Thank you Rosemont teachers for the great pictures!
Section Four describes the new Phonics Charts that have been 100% effective for teaching sound blending. These charts are the best things I have ever written.
Wishing you a wonderful (and well-deserved) summer break!
Currently, President, Cupp Publishers, Inc.
Retired, Director of Curriculum and Reading, Georgia Department of Education
Always, A Reading Teacher
Summary of Sections
1. Update from Washington Johnny Isakson
2. Georgia Journal of Reading Cathy Puett Miller
3. Feature School of the Month Rosemont Elementary, Troup County
4. New Phonics Charts Cindy Cupp
Isakson Applauds New Flexibility Provisions on 95 Percent Rule
Washington, D.C.- U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson (GA-06) applauded this month's announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige of increased flexibility in calculating participation rates under No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Under the new policies, states will be able to average participation rates of each school over a three-year period. In addition, students who are unable to take the test during the testing and make-up windows because a unique, significant medical emergency will not count against the school's participation rate.
"Strong participation in testing is the only way to make sure we are measuring the progress of every student," said Isakson. "However, the practical implications of the 95% rule were preventing many otherwise successful schools, especially high schools, from making AYP (adequate yearly progress). The new provision gives schools more flexibility in proving high participation."
Under the new policy, a state may use data from the previous one or two years to average the participation rate data for a school and/or subgroup, as needed. If the two or three-year average meets 95 percent, the school will still meet the AYP requirement.
"This change proves, once again, that the dialogue between educators, Congress and the Department on how we can increase flexibility and better apply No Child Left Behind to the realities of the classroom is very strong," said Isakson. "The partnership and support is unprecedented and is changing our education system for the better."
Section 2: Georgia Journal of Reading - Cathy Puett Miller
Beginning to Read Curriculum
A Look into the Selection Process and the Classroom
Cathy Puett Miller - Independent
Literacy Consultant, Canton, GA
Evaluating reading curriculum and methods for teaching reading has become a focal point, especially in elementary schools. As Georgia continues to implement “No Child Left Behind” and faces a revised Quality Core Curriculum, many administrators find they still have no clear definition of essential instruction nor are they certain how to best evaluate materials. Most importantly, many schools still search for the key that will influence their students’ achievement.
Cathy Puett Miller, an independent literacy consultant and researcher, explores this issue by suggesting several crucial questions that should be a part of any selection process and by sharing results of her research on an actual, textbook-adopted curriculum in Georgia (Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM). Finding a curriculum that concretely addresses student needs assures that students will learn to comprehend what they read and internalize the purposes behind reading in their lives. That should be the goal of all educators today in their selection process: to find a program their staff can use to teach the most children to read – to find a program that works.
DEVELOPING CRITERIA FOR
A BEGINNING READING PROGRAM
Facing the complex issue of choosing beginning reading curricula can be daunting. The following checklist of questions was developed in conjunction with three separate research studies on a comprehensive instructional curriculum called Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM. This guide gives evaluators initial or supplemental tools for selecting the curriculum that will best work with their students. It also acts as an introduction to research conducted on the Dr. Cupp series, used over 100 Georgia school systems. Although this is certainly not comprehensive, it can serve as a basis for building an individual, objective selection process.
Does this curriculum contain essential components of research-based methods for teaching reading? Look for a comprehensive approach and rely not only on publisher documentation but on review of the actual material. A common yardstick is the National Reading Panel’s key components for teaching reading (see Table I). With the proliferation of reading research, it is easy to find a single piece to support any curriculum but that is no justification for adopting it or expecting it to bring positive results. A more accurate evaluation is whether the elements of a program consistently reflect research findings from at least half a dozen studies and best practices plus contain a proper combination of teaching devices to address all essential areas of reading instruction.
Did an independent party conduct the research associated with this curriculum? Look for documented evidence of improvement as reflected in student test scores and proof of easy implementation, and adaptability to different learners. Viewing the curriculum through the eyes of an examiner at distance from the publisher gives you a clearer, more objective picture.
Does the curriculum have effective means for regular assessment and differentiating instruction? This goes beyond whether it includes structured tests, or remedial and accelerated materials. Does the program provide teachers with multiple methods for evaluating each student? Does it offer clear procedures for individualizing instruction to meet specific student needs and to move students to increasingly independent and more complex levels?
Is on-going support available (updates, answers to questions, staff development, enhancements, etc.)? These resources do not exist with all curricula but can make the difference between an effectively implemented program and one that serves students inadequately. Training from experienced instructors and a thorough teacher’s guide are important.
What are the results with children in real classrooms who use this curriculum? Do they acquire skills that move them toward independence in reading? Visit or talk with schools using various curricula. Select those similar to your school(s) and ask questions about how the material addresses the weakest areas for your students. Visit all types of classrooms (Early Intervention Programs/EIP, English as a Second Language/ESOL, inclusion, gifted classes, special education, etc.) to judge comprehensiveness. How does this curriculum enhance learning for different types of students?
Armed with answers to these questions, educators are in a much better position to instigate a selection process whose result is a curriculum that will improve individual student skills. The current federal and state requirements for improvement in every subgroup of a school population make this an even more pressing issue. The following narrative provides readers with a summary of an actual reading program and models application of the guidelines while sharing sample findings of associated research.
AN INTRODUCTION TO DR. CUPP READERSTM AND TEN MINUTE PHONICSTM
Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM were created by Dr. Cindy Cupp, an education consultant, sixteen-year classroom veteran, and former Georgia State Director of Curriculum and Reading. Dr. Cupp encapsulated her approach to teaching reading into sixty stories with a controlled, sequential approach to instruction. The techniques included in these materials represent a specific, trackable scope and sequence, and a progressive plan to move students toward literacy, allowing for individual learning styles and abilities. Table I shows comparison of “learning to read” essentials from the National Reading Panel’s 2000 report, Teaching Children to Read, with components of Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM:
TABLE I: COMPARISON OF KEY COMPONENTS
Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM create multiple levels for instruction with illustrated and non-illustrated story booklets, activities and games, exposure to real literature (via Hop N Pop’s and Miss O’s Favorite Read Aloud Booklists), phonics instruction and additional segments for reinforcement in small group and home environments. Incorporated into each lesson are correlations to the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum, introduction of state-required literature genres and character education themes.
A SAMPLING OF RESEARCH FINDINGS FROM THE CLASSROOM
Independent Literacy Consulting of Canton, GA conducted three separate qualitative research studies (from September 2001 through June 2003) to evaluate results from use of Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM in Georgia classrooms. In each study, the researcher collected data from a variety of schools (rural, suburban and urban) over a period of several months. The data consisted of test score results, case studies, observations of classrooms during reading instruction time and personal educator interviews. The raw data was then evaluated for classes identified as gifted, average, inclusion, Early Intervention Program (EIP), English as a Second Language (ESOL) and special education. Summaries and specific examples of analysis and reporting follow.
The first qualitative study, completed in January 2002, established the premise that Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM is an effective teaching tool in all types of classrooms. Review of the materials themselves and observations in classrooms revealed evidence of clear directions for teachers, sufficient practice and repetition to ensure student mastery and a systematic progressive introduction to essential beginning-to-read skills. Comparison of pre- and post-testing also reveal a pattern of improvement in ninety-three (93%) of the students taught with this curriculum.
The initial study set the basis for correlation of Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM to mainstream research from such sources as the National Reading Panel’s Teaching Children to Read, The Handbook of Reading Research (Kamil, et al), Preventing Early Reading Difficulties in Young Children (Snow, et al), Put Reading First (National Institute for Literacy), What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction (Samuels and Farstrup) and the Reading Research Quarterly. The study also establishes connections to research by cognitive and behavioral psychologists and educators, addressing issues such as the role of motivation in early reading success. These connections validate the methods used in Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM as ones that progressively lead students to mastery of the basic elements needed to competently comprehend text.
The combined picture from test score data (representing nearly 300 classrooms and over 5900 students over the three-year period) shows consistent and, in some cases, marked improvement in reading abilities, decoding and word recognition, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary at all ability levels. The program’s controlled, sequential approach appears to affect reading achievement, not only that of average students but those at either end of the special-needs spectrum (gifted and remedial). In several cases, multi-year comparisons of student progress were possible. For example, students in one fifth grade EIP class in a small city school system, using
Dr. Cupp ReadersTM for the first time improved an average of eight points on a basic literacy test in two months. These same students’ test scores in fourth grade (with the same teacher but before introduction of Dr. Cupp’s materials) averaged an improvement of only four points in four months; students improved twice as fast in half the time.
In each study, schools using Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM submitted test score results from a wide range of formal and informal testing devices such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), Basic Literacy Tests (BLTs), Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), Georgia Kindergarten Assessment Program (GKAP), Lexia, STAR (Renaissance Learning) and Informal Reading Inventories (IRI’s). Teacher survey results and scores from these standardized tests/assessments in three separate studies identify steady progress in sight word recognition, phonics, fluency and comprehension. Overall, this research found only
seven percent (7%) of students failed to progress (all those students were identified with significant learning or behavior disabilities that require intensive, long-term instruction).
Table II contains a summary of results calibrated during the most recent year’s study of average kindergarten classes and kindergarten classes with EIP and/or gifted students embedded. Schools completed pre-testing in September 2002 and post-testing in May 2003. The range of student improvement (on BLT and Lexia tests) was between 0 and 50 points.
TABLE II: Regular or Inclusive Regular/EIP Kindergarten Classrooms
Average Average Average
Grade Beginning Ending Annual
Level Test Test Score Test Score Improvement Comments
Only 1% reporting less than
NOTE: Only 3 K classrooms used STAR-all readers ended year with above GE scores
81% of students were on target for the phonemic segmentation fluency with 52% at or above the benchmark. In identifying letter names, students were able to name on average 54 upper and lower case letters within one minute.
*DIBELS is a multi-level/multi-score vehicle
I = Inclusion classes (with EIP and/or gifted embedded) R=Regular classroom
Many schools involved in the initial research studies used the Basic Literacy Test (BLT) as an assessment tool. First grade students improved from between 0 and 38 points in a three-month period, with forty-three (43%) showing increases of more than 10 points. Using the STAR computer-adaptive test (Standardized Test to Assess Reading), a diagnostic that uses norm reference scores and criterion reference scores, a school tracked progress of 44 second grade Early Intervention Program (EIP) students. Although students began at grade levels ranging from pre-primer to first grade, seven months, nearly forty-four percent (44%) of them finished the year at second grade level with Dr. Cupp Readers TM and Ten Minute Phonics TM as their primary instructional tool. Individual Reading Inventories from 2003 conducted in 25 first grade classrooms show students who complete the Dr. Cupp Reader series read at a 2.1 level and know 279 sight words.
On average, since 2000, eighty-six percent (86%) of instructors using Dr. Cupp ReadersTM and Ten Minute PhonicsTM give it a high approval rating (5 or 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest possible). Of those, fifty-three percent (53%) give it the highest possible rating in overall effectiveness and easy of use. A full thirty-two percent (32%) point to Dr. Cupp Readers TM and Ten Minute Phonics TM as the primary reason for a reduction in numbers of students not meeting state and national standards. Eighty-four percent (84%) of teachers surveyed specifically identify an improvement in their student’s attitude toward reading as a by-product of these instructional tools.
THe Role of Motivation
An often-neglected element in successful reading instruction is motivation. When schools focus exclusively on skills, teachers tend to overlook this aspect. Without the ability to create environments in which students have pleasant, successful experiences, no program is complete. Michael Graves, head of the Literacy Education Program at the University of Minnesota, speaks to its importance when he says,
A successful reading experience is one in which students understand the selection, learn from it, enjoy it, and achieve the goals you and they have set. Moreover, such an experience leaves students realizing that they have been successful, recognizing that they have dealt competently with the selection. If students are to become successful readers -- adults who can and do read, both to gain information and for the pleasure and satisfaction that reading can provide -- the vast majority of their reading experiences must be successful ones.
Catherine Snow and her colleagues at the National Research Council (in Starting Out Right) note that an important goal of kindergarten is “to motivate children to relate to books and print as meaningful, worthwhile parts” of their lives.
Positive attitudes about the reading experience are evident in classrooms with motivated students. Extending beyond worksheets, drills and skill-based instruction results in children eager to read stories and participate in daily self-correction, comprehension, fluency and sight word recognition. Students with these experiences are learning the purpose behind reading and gaining an understanding of their world. A kindergarten teacher interviewed as part of the research study on Dr. Cupp ReadersTM offer an example of such an environment.
After a short time with Word House concepts [teaching letter recognition and alphabetic/phonemic awareness], many students can begin to actually read with
Dr. Cupp’s first story. Because the phonics component and sight word introduction begin in the first story, children develop the capacity to read right away. They begin to read real stories and are rewarded when they practice fluency. The first lesson also starts them off answering questions about the stories, to get them thinking about what they read and comprehending. The combination of those positive early experiences helps every student believe that they want to and can be a reader.
When choosing a curriculum for beginning readers, it is critical to instigate a thorough search based on the needs of students served and what has proven to be consistently effective with a wide range of beginning readers. Educators and school administrators must be willing to probe beyond the “official” selection requirements. By combining the elements most commonly identified by mainstream reading research as critical to early reading success, searching out practical advice from successful classrooms and schools, and keeping the needs of their student population prominent in the process, educators can find valid instruction tools for teachers and a fun, participatory series for students. Regardless of which reading program is selected to serve students’ needs, an objective, comprehensive approach to evaluation and selection which looks beyond the surface is critical to impacting student achievement.
Arbruster, B.B., Lehr, F. & Osborn, J.M. (2001). Put Reading First: The Research Building
Blocks for Teaching Children to Read. Jessup, MD: National Institute for Literacy.
Farstrup, A. E., Samuels, S. Jay (Eds) (2002). What Research Has to Say About Reading
Instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Graves, M. F., & Graves, B.B. (2003) Scaffolding reading experiences: Designs for student success. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
Kamil, M.L., Mosenthal, P.B., Pearson, P.D., & Barr, R. (Eds.). (2000). Handbook of Reading
Research: Volume III. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Miller, C.P. (2002, January) Jack and Jilly Readers and Ten Minute Phones: A Summary of Documented Results and Research Connections. Canton, GA: Author
Miller, C.P., (2002, May). Dr. Cupp ReadersTM & Ten Minute PhonicsTM: A Summary of Documented Results and Research Connections. Canton, GA: Author
Miller, C.P., (2003, June). Dr. Cupp ReadersTM & Ten Minute PhonicsTM: A Summary of Documented Results and Research Connections. Canton, GA: Author
The National Reading Panel: Reports of the Subgroups, (2000). Teaching Children To Read: An
evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its
implications for reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy
Snow, C.E., Burns, M.S., & Griffin, P. (Eds) (1998). Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young
Children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press
Miller, Independent Literacy Consultant
2740 Woodridge Chase, Canton, GA 30114
Mrs. Miller received her library science degree from Florida State University in 1980 and has accumulated nearly twenty-five years of experience in the private business sector, libraries and schools. A writer, presenter and consultant, Mrs. Miller is an active member of the Georgia Reading Association, the Georgia State PTA and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her investigative reporting on education issues in Georgia led to a 2003 Silver Award from the National Parenting Publications of America. She most recently presented a session entitled “Daily Images: A Picture Book A Day Connecting the Reading to Arts (and the QCCs) at the 2004 GA Reading Association Conference.
Feature School of the Month: Rosemont Elementary, Troup County
Rosemont Elementary is proud to be featured as the Spotlight School for the Jack and Jilly Reading program. The Kindergarten classes use the program everyday in a small group setting. We would like to share some ideas to make sound blending or reading sight words exciting for your students.
Write your Jack and
Jilly sight words on cards and place in a bag. Write the word BANG! on several
cards and place in the bag also. Pass the bag around the small group. The
child selects a card and reads the word. If the word is read correctly, the
child may keep the card. If a BANG! card is drawn, the child must put all the
cards back in the bag. At the end of the game, the child with the most cards
wins the game! They love it!!!
2 Straight Quiet Lines:
Divide your small reading group into partners. Have them sit or stand in 2 straight quiet lines beside his or her partner. Flip a sight word over and have the first pair of partners race to read the word. Continue “racing to read” the words with the partners next in line. This game is also fun with the whole class.
High/Low: Pass out five Cupp Cards to each child in the reading group. Have each child read his or her top word. After each child has read one word, have all of them roll their die. Then flip a High/ Low chip to see if the low number or high number wins the round. If the chip lands on high, then the highest number rolled wins the round. If the chip lands on low, then the lowest number rolled wins the round. Continue with round 2 by reading Cupp Cards and rolling the dice.
*Write high and low on either side of a poker chip or any type of disc.
Place Cupp Cards on reading table. Ask a child to swat the word: ? ! The child gets one cube for swatting the word and two cubes if the child can use it in a sentence. Count cubes at the end of the game.
Wendy Aldridge, Tracy Jones, and Lynn Smith
Section Four: Phonics Charts
Our new Phonics Charts solve the problem that causes students to be unable to sound blend words. These charts may be used as a supplement to other phonics programs, and they make up the beginning of our phonics program in Dr. Cupp Readers®. These charts are on pages six and seven in all of our student Readers. In the last two months, I have used them with 288 students who had trouble sound blending words. These students had no trouble blending after we finished the charts.
If you are not using our program, but would like a
copy of these charts, please see our price list and order one set of student
Readers for $20. This will allow you to use these charts as
non-consumables. The item order number is
KI-2004. You will find an order form on the web.
Be sure to continue to follow our ongoing research. Click the Research link on this webpage.