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December Online Newsletter will introduce new games and Huggy the Octopus! 

November Newsletter
by Dr. Cindy Cupp

Dear Educators and Parents,

Wow!  September was a great month.  Over 60,000 folks read our Online Newsletter!  I hope the suggestions we made in the September Newsletter helped your students improve in reading.

In the first section of this month’s newsletter, I am pleased to provide you with an update from Congressman Johnny Isakson.  In Johnny’s update section, you will find information about on-grade-level testing of Special Education students as currently mandated through federal legislation under No Child Left Behind.  A free “toolkit” is also described for educators.

As I traveled and worked with teachers this month, I found that most students in Dr. Cupp Readers® are having great success.  However, a few students in kindergarten are not quite ready to begin learning letters, sounds, and words.  In the second section of this newsletter, I will provide you with ideas for games you can use to help these students get ready to read.

The PayDay Update was tremendous for September!  In section three, you will find the results from seventeen elementary schools and 2,560 students - see section three’s notes for details.

Please make a copy of this newsletter and keep it in a notebook.  This will allow you to easily find the game suggestions.

The mission of our company is 100% literacy for all our students.  If we can assist you in any way, please call our office.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Cindy Cupp

Included in this Newsletter
  1. Congressman Johnny Isakson’s Washington D.C Update
  2. Teaching Tips From Cindy for Dr. Cupp Readers®
  3. September PayDay Update
  4. Ideas From Around the States
  5. Feature Student of the Month
  6. Feature School of the Month

1. Congressman Johnny Isakson’s
Washington D.C. Update

U.S. Congressman, candidate for Senate, and former chairman of the Georgia Board of Education Johnny Isakson has been traveling the state of Georgia conducting Education Listening Sessions with teachers, principals, administrators, and local Board of Education members.  These sessions allow those involved in the education process to discuss specific issues, both state and federal, with Johnny who has been a long-time ardent supporter of education in Georgia.

On Thursday, October 23, Johnny held a Listening Session in Chatham County at the Mulberry Inn.  Administrators and teachers were present from Chatham and Bulloch Counties.  One of the main concerns discussed by the teachers and administrators was the on-grade-level testing of Special Education students required by federal laws through No Child Left Behind.  Johnny explained to the principals and teachers that he is working with others on the House Education Committee to address changes in this requirement, as well as other unintended consequences of this law.

Johnny writes the following to the readers of this newsletter:  “I have been working for and with Georgia's educators for many years. It is my pleasure to keep you updated on education issues in Washington as well as any resources, programs or grants that may become available through the U.S. Department of Education. In turn, I hope you will keep me informed of what is taking place in Georgia's classrooms. As you all know, the only way we can make positive change in Congress is to know the challenges and opportunities you face everyday as a teacher. My email address is ga06@mail.house.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.”

“This month, I would like to make you aware of the No Child Left Behind ‘Toolkit for Teachers’. This free resource provides educators with accurate, easy-to-understand information about No Child Left Behind including helpful information about loan forgiveness, tax credits, and liability protection for teachers. The toolkit includes links to helpful web sites, and guidance on understanding federal, state and local rules in the No Child Left Behind Law.”

“To order a toolkit, please contact the U.S. Department of Education at 1-877-4-EDS-PUBS or order one online at www.edpubs.org You may also contact my Atlanta office to order a toolkit at 404.252.5239.”

2.  Teaching Tips from Cindy
 for Dr. Cupp Readers®

During October, I worked with more than 60 teachers in kindergarten and first grade classrooms.  The kindergarten teachers’ main concern was how to reach the very few students that were still not ready to begin learning letters and sounds.  I have created some games that would be appropriate for students on this level.

Question from kindergarten teachers - I have 21 kindergarten children in my class.  My class is divided into three groups.  The top and middle groups are doing very well, but my group C students are struggling to learn words and letters.  What should I be teaching these two or three students that are having trouble getting started?

Cindy’s answer – These students may not be ready to begin learning the alphabet letters, sounds, or sight words.  Students at this stage still benefit from singing the AlphaMotion® Song and playing whole group games.  During small group time, the following additional games will be fun and allow these students to feel success:

First:  Clean off the table.  Remove all objects that would cause the child to be distracted….pencil holders, books, paper, EVERYTHING.


Game Suggestions

A. Make a Sentence

·        Give each child in the group a ziplock bag.  Make 8 cards for each bag.

Write the word Jack on 2 cards.

Write the word Jilly on 2 cards.  Draw little bows on the top of the l’s in Jilly’s name.

Write the word can on 2 cards.

Write the word play on 2 cards.

·        Students take the cards out of the bag and match the words.

·        The teacher makes a sentence using the words Jack, Jilly, can, play.

As the teacher says the sentence, the students find the correct words and place the words in front of them in a sentence.  Each student then reads the sentence they have just made.  If students can’t find the correct word, the teacher holds up the correct word for students to match.

Game variation- Use colored index cards and write the name of each child in the group on an index card.  The teacher will make up sentences using the names of different children in the group.  For example:  Maria can play.  Thomas can play.  If at all possible, take a picture of the student and put each child’s picture on their name card.

B. Find the Sound

·        Give each child in the group a ziplock bag.

Using the ® Alphabet Decks, give each child 6 cards.  (Do no use the “fancy” lower case a. Use the print a.)

Letter A – 3 cards (1 lower case, 1 upper case, 1 sound card)

Letter T – 3 cards (1 lower case, 1 upper case, 1 sound card)

·        The teacher will ask students to place all the cards that go with the letter A in a row.  The students will then place all the cards that go with the letter T in a row.  If students have difficulty placing the cards in a line, then draw lines and boxes the size of the cards on a sheet of paper.  This sheet will be used to help line up the cards and letters.

·        When students have lined up the letter cards for A and the letter cards for T, students will then practice saying the letter names and the sounds for A and T.

C. Touch and Say

·        The teacher secures the 6 letter and sound cards for A and T on a small board that can easily be seen in the small group.

·        The teacher then selects a student to point to the correct card.  The teacher might say, “Upper case A.”  The student points to the correct card.

·        Asking students to point to the correct card is easier than asking students to say the correct letter. 


D.  Moony Spoony

·        Moony Spoony is a little spoon that travels backwards at a fast speed. The teacher will take plastic spoons and draw a face on the spoon.  The children will use the spoon as a pointer instead of their finger.










3.  September Update  

All teachers using Dr. Cupp Readers® are invited to send me a monthly Update of their students progress.  These forms are available by clicking this button.   

I received an Update for 2,560 students for the month of September.  These students are from seventeen elementary schools in Georgia and Alabama and they are using Dr. Cupp Readers® for small group reading instruction in kindergarten and first grade.


From the table below, you will notice that the average kindergarten student knew 6 sight words on September 20, and the average first grader knew 85 sight words on September 20.  For a more detailed account of the progress of these 2,560 students please click this  button.     

September Payday Update Table
Sept. Payday Update School Highlights



4.  Ideas From Around the States. 

A.  Old Friends and New Friends

When the PayDay Updates came in for September, I saw that the kindergarten sight words scores at Cleveland soared.  I called the folks at Cleveland and asked them what they were doing to cause such an increase in sight words. Cleveland teachers responded with the following idea that they call “Old Friends and New Friends.” 


Ashli Williams, kindergarten teacher at Cleveland Elementary in Fayette County, Georgia writes:

When students start Story 1 in Dr. Cupp Readers®, they are presented with a “reading box.” The reading box is a plain VHS tape container.  A poem (see below) and a silver ring are place inside the reading box.  After introducing the first four sight words (Jack, Jilly, can, play), the words are written on index cards and placed on the child’s silver ring.  The reading box goes home every night Monday – Thursday for practice. As a student passes Hop’n Pop and moves on to a new story, four new words are added to the ring.  By the time a student reaches Story 30, he or she will have 115 words on the ring.  


The reading boxes are color coded by the students’ small (reading) group.  Some boxes have purple labels (average/on-grade level readers), some have yellow labels (slower readers), and some have orange labels (higher readers).  I use the boxes during reading instruction at least one time each week.  By Story 6, students have enough words on the ring to begin making simple sentences.  We use the cards for many different activities.   The reading box is a wonderful assessment tool as well.  At the end of each nine-week period, I assess each student on all cards on his or her ring.  This makes report cards very easy. 


POEM: “Now That I Can Read”

I used to need somebody,

to sit and read to me.

I’d look on every page they read

and listen carefully.


But now that I am in Kindergarten,

I’m filling up a shelf.

With stories, poems, and other books

that I can read myself.

-Author Unknown


B. Short vowels

Ginger Logue from North Harlem Elementary demonstrated the following great way to help students remember the short vowels during the AlphaMotion® Song. When the students sing “Short A, Short A” or any of the short vowel names, the students bend their knees and squat down a little as they say “Short A, Short A”.  After doing the modified squat twice as they say “Short A, Short A”, they go directly into making the raised hand sign for Short A.  This is fun to do, and the students have another mnemonic device for remembering short vowel sounds.

5.  Feature Student of the Month  

Emily “Adrianne” Calloway’s mom sent this great picture and news about Adrianne to us from Homewood, Alabama.  Adrianne is a student in Mrs. Stephanie Brant’s kindergarten class at Hall Kent Elementary in Homewood.  Adrianne and her classmates love the AlphaMotion® Song.  Adrianne’s  kitten is named Aubie after the Auburn University Mascot.

We welcome the three new schools in Alabama to Dr. Cupp Readers®!!  Hop’n Pop is getting to travel around the U.S.







6.      Feature School of the Month 
– Brazilian Christian Church

I invited Tracy Atcheson, the founder of Reading for Life Achievement, to send us information about her reading classes at the Brazilian Christian Church.  Tracey left her job as a state level education policy writer to become a reading teacher for adults. 



Tracey writes:

It’s All About Partnerships

“AlphaMotion, AlphaMotion Yeah, Yeah, AlphaMotion, AlphaMotion Come join in and clap with me,” as I share the miracle of partnerships and the use of Dr. Cupp Readers in Marietta, Georgia through the ministry of “Reading for Life Achievement” and the Thursday evening class at the Brazilian Christian Church. A little over two years ago the idea of full-time ministry and my departure from state level education policy work began to grow in my heart and flourish around the passion I have for teaching God’s Word. What has emerged since that time is a heartfelt response to the felt need of learning to read and speak professional English in all the delightful internationals I meet in Atlanta.


The response to that need is to utilize the phenomenal teaching curriculum developed by my reading mentor Cindy Cupp and to combine it with a lot of conversational work with the students around their work, home and spiritual life vocabularies. As adults in the workplace, the students have dramatic needs in the area of listening comprehension and vocabulary acceleration. The Dr. Cupp Readers unlock the door to learning by decoding the world of English to the international adult learner. The ministry of “Reading for Life Achievement” is in its early implementation stage. I am extremely thankful for the friendship, leadership and training provided by Dr. Cupp in the launch of this ministry. She is a delight to know and a pillar to learn from. Cindy challenges each one of us to be passionate and purposeful about whatever we do in life! It is with a grateful heart that the class of the Brazilian Christian Church shares its’ pictures and story via the Feature School of the Month on the website.


In July, 2003, a conversation began with the pastor of a local congregation whose members were desirous of a program to accelerate fluency in reading and English. The conversation with Emilio and Denise Talamonte resulted in the pilot class for the ministry launch of “Reading for Life Achievement.”


The ministry of “Reading for Life Achievement,” works from the premise that life is a journey towards spiritual maturity in Christ. Our mission is “To reach and teach internationals for Jesus Christ.” Achievement occurs in many realms but one skill is essential to it all: reading. There are many in society today who lack the necessary reading skills to be proficient and successful in their family, their community and their profession.  Our ministry goal is to teach reading and build the foundation for life achievement. The program is part of a community center approach to non-denominational ministry. The resources selected: Cupp Readers and Crown Financial Ministries are exceptional resources and will provide key life skills for anyone desiring to participate in our program. Please visit www.cindycupp.com and www.crown.org to learn more about these ministries.


Our first picture is of the two church signs outside the John Knox Presbyterian Church. These signs reflect the partnership between the Brazilian Christian Church and the host church, John Knox Presbyterian. It also a special thank you to the Brazilian Christian Church for its partnership with “Reading for Life Achievement” to teach their students reading and English.  



The picture below is of the following students: Ana L. Santos, Washington Bisinote, Miguel Maia, Cilca P. Weiss, Jacy de Oliveiro and Elci Aguiar.  




The class is comprised of thirteen adult learners: Elci Aguiar, Washington Bisinote, Euler Campos, Tania Campos, Jacy de Oliveiro, Miguel Maia, Rosana Oliveira, Noeme Oliveiro, Cristiane Peixoto, Valquimar Santana, Elder Santis, Ana L. Santos and Cilca P. Weiss. The instructor is Tracy Atcheson of “Reading for Life Achievement.”


There are four sisters taking the class together: Elci Aguiar, Jacy de Oliveiro, Noeme Oliveiro and Cilca P. Weiss. There are three married couples studying together in the Thursday evening class: Washington and Ana Bisinote, Euler and Tania Campos and Cristiane and Valquimar Santana.

The class was established through the work of the Pastor of the church, Emilio Talamonte and his wife Denise. Translation needs, organizational support from the congregation and classroom set-up is provided weekly by David Gamma. It is truly a partnership of using each person’s gifting and abilities to glorify God.


The students have really enjoyed their work in the Reader Booklets and the Miss Sound-O section, as well as the Homework page for reading practice. In addition to using the Dr. Cupp Readers the class has watched the first 30 minute video lesson from the video study, The Prayer of Jabez by Dr. Bruce Wilkinson. The students have studied the prayer from 1 Chronicles 4:10 in English and in their native Portuguese. They have also enjoyed listening to the first few pages of The Dream Giver read aloud in class to work on our listening and comprehension skills. After the completion of reading aloud, the students were given the opportunity to share what they had gleaned from the text and to ask any questions.


Last week the new Alpha Motion CD-Rom was introduced to the class. The Alpha Motion CD-Rom track of the letters and sounds will be a tremendous help to the students as they gain proficiency and fluency in blending sounds. Each of the students is gifted in conversational English but remain focused on the study of phonics and sight words to gain the necessary foundation to read and write anything in English with ease.


The Hop ‘n Pop Cheer Cards are terrific! The pneumonic hook is such a powerful tool to gain confidence with the sight words for our adult students. The students are at the 40 word level with ease and working on the 220 level. As adults the students can whiz through lessons, so the teacher has to race ahead with planning and creative ideas to keep the students focused and challenged. Each week the challenge is issued from the teacher to the students: “Get out of your comfort zone and speak to at least one new person this week in English.” Every week in class, the opportunity is given for students to share his or her bold step in speaking and listening to someone new. Stories range from the talking with the designer of a remodeling addition on a home to speaking confidently with their daughter’s teacher. Other stories from students include being able to converse well with the doctor responsible for his daughter’s recent hospitalization. Additionally an expectant mother in our class hopes to use her enhanced reading and English skills when she goes to the ob-gyn for her first pre-natal check-up and her husband is expanding his professional vocabulary for use as a sub-contractor of professional hardwood flooring.


The Cupp Readers are a superior skill builder for the adult learners in the Thursday evening class at the Brazilian Christian Church. It is our privilege and delight to anticipate a guest teaching visit from Dr. Cindy Cupp in the next few weeks. It is expected that the students will be energized, encouraged and engaged in high intensity learning through Dr. Cupp’s personal work with them. The students are collecting their questions for her regarding sound blending, phonics, and any suggestions she may have on how to accelerate their vocabulary skills as adult learners. The dividends gained through the Dr. Cupp Readers program and curriculum will compound for many years to come in the lives of these engaging Portuguese students. It is a program of great life change: reading opens professional doors as nothing else can! Thank you for a wonderful program for learners of all ages.


The picture at the right has the following in it: Tracy Atcheson, instructor, Miguel Maia, Cristiane Peixoto, Ana L. Santos and Washington Bisinote.


If an individual can read well and manage his financial resources….he is available to God to do mighty things. This is the ultimate goal of the center….to equip people for achievement in life: personally, professionally and spiritually. The Board of Directors for “Reading for Life Achievement” are:  Tracy Atcheson, John K. Crooks, Ph. D., Cindy Cupp, Ed. D., Tommy Wilkerson and Wayne Wright.


Tracy Atcheson

Reading for Life Achievement

1749 Dean Circle

Marietta, GA 30067-7544






© 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

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