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Summer Online Newsletter

by Dr. Cindy Cupp



Dear Educators and Parents,

Welcome to the Summer Newsletter!  Cupp Publishers, Inc. is thrilled to present to you the research findings for the 2003-2004 school year!  Section one begins with a message from Congressman Johnny Isakson.  Section two presents an overview of the research completed by independent literacy consultant Cathy Puett Miller.  Section three provides the entire research document and section four gives readers the Update from twenty-five schools.


Next year, we will follow over 3,000 students monthly in twenty-six school representing ten school systems!  If you would like to participate in this monthly research, please let me know.

Wishing you a wonderful summer!

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        Johnny Isakson’s Update

Section two        Summary of research findings for 2003-2004

Section three      Complete research report for 2003-2004

Section four        Monthly Update from schools


Section 1:

Isakson Praises Senate Passage of Special Education Reform Bill
Pledges to Work with Senate to Send a Final Bill to the President

 


Washington, D.C.-
U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson praised Senate passage this month of legislation to strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). The House passed its version of the legislation on April 30, 2003.

While there are important differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, Isakson said Senate passage was encouraging. “We are one step closer to sending a final bill to the President,” said Isakson. “I am eager to begin working with the Senate on a final bill that supports teachers and improves results for special needs students.  It is critical that we send a bill to the President this year.”

 

During Senate debate, the Senate voted to adopt a key amendment to reduce paperwork for special education teachers, moving the Senate bill closer to the one passed by the House last year.

 

The bill will now go to a Conference Committee to begin work on a final version.


Strengthening American Education

Isakson Highlights Progress During the 108th Congress

 

Washington, D.C.- As the July 4th recess period approaches, U.S. Representative Johnny Isakson (R-GA) believes it is important to look back on the progress the House has made in education reform thus far in the 108th Congress. Here are a few highlights:

 

·        Implementing No Child Left Behind: Members of the Education & Workforce Committee, including Rep. Isakson, have been conducting hearings throughout the country to study the progress states and local schools are making in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). These hearings have led to increased flexibility under NCLB regulations.

 

·        Renewing & Reforming Special Education: On April 30, 2003, the House passed legislation to strengthen special education and improve results for children with disabilities. HR 1350 makes significant improvements to special education programs to increase accountability and student learning, reduce over-identification and misidentification of non-disabled students, and reduce the paperwork burden on special education teachers.

 

·        Strengthening and Improving Early Childhood Education: In July 2003, the House passed the School Readiness Act (HR 2210) to reauthorize the Head Start program and make key reforms. The bill would strengthen the Head Start program both academically and financially and give up to eight qualified states the ability to coordinate Head Start with their own successful early childhood programs.

 

·        Improving Coordination Among Schools, Libraries & Museums: In September 2003, President Bush signed legislation reauthorizing the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA). The bill provides federal support for libraries and museums and ensures that these libraries and museums are coordinated with activities under NCLB.

 

·        Enhancing Integrity in School Lunch & Nutrition Programs: In March 2004, the House overwhelmingly passed the Nutrition Improvement & Integrity Act to help schools provide healthier meals to students and help ensure school lunch benefits go to those who actually qualify.

 

·        Strengthening Teacher Training Programs: In June 2004, the House passed the Teacher Training Enhancement Act (HR 4409) to align teacher training programs with NCLB, boost teacher training and strengthen community partnerships that help produce highly qualified teachers.

 

Recruiting Faculty for Graduate Studies: In June 2004, the House passed legislation to address the shortage of highly qualified math, science and special education teachers in K-12 classrooms. A contributing factor to the shortage is the lack of faculty at the graduate level to train future teachers. To increase faculty in these high-demand subject areas, the Priorities for Graduate Studies Act will target federal aid for graduate studies and graduate fellowships to these subject areas.

 

 


Section 2:

THE EVIDENCE IS MOUNTING

        Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers CONTRIBUTES TO STUDENT SUCCESS

 

For the fourth time since Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers & Journal Writers and Ten Minute Phonics were introduced to Georgia classrooms, an independent study has confirmed that students of all types are learning to read with this innovative program. 

 

        On average, of the Georgia schools reporting results, 92% of students were successful in passing the reading portion of the state-mandated Criterion Referenced Competency Test (GCRCT)

        Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the tracked first grade population knew 220 sight words by the end of the school year whereas 77% of the tracked kindergarten population knew at least 52. 

 

Here is what a few of the teachers participating in the research have to say:

 

During the 2003-2004 school year, Daughtry Elementary in Butts County, GA had six first grade classes.  One of these classes contained all EIP children.  The five non-EIP classes used the McMillan/McGraw Hill series as the core reading program.  The EIP class used Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers & Journal Writers and CRCT scores confirmed that the EIP class using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers & Journal Writers ranked as the second highest class of the six in Daughtry’s first grade unit.  EIP students using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers & Journal Writers as the core instructional program outscored non-EIP students using other materials in four of the six classes.

 

I teach in a rural south Georgia school with 83% free and reduced lunch.  This year we happily reported 91% of first grade students mastered over 283 sight words as a results of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers.  The average book level for first grade students at the end of the year was 59.30 out of 60The outcome on the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (the state-mandated test to used to evaluate how effectively schools are teaching and children are learning the Quality Core Curriculum) reflects 100% literacy among our first graders.  [Authors’ note:  The cumulative effect of full implementation (a two-year package of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers with 30 booklets per year) is particularly noteworthy at this location since the first graders mentioned above were introduced to Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers during their kindergarten year.]

 

Our school has seen increases every year since we began using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers.  Together we set targets last year for our first graders including a BLT score of between 50 and 60.  This year our actual first grade average was a 68.  In kindergarten, we projected a range of 25-35 as average in 2002-2003; this year our average rose to 41.4.  Twenty-four of my own 35 EIP students [68%] scored above 30!”

 

With a specific scope and sequence, teachers find in Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers a logical, progressive plan to move children toward literacy, allowing for individual learning styles and abilities.  Dr. Cindy Cupp, creator of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, has combined her own teaching experience with a controlled, sequential introduction of important skills and experiences to build a comprehensive package.  With these materials, children begin to read at once in the very first book.

 

 


Section 3:

 

Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers AND Ten Minute Phonics

 
A SUMMARY OF DOCUMENTED RESULTS

JUNE, 2004

 

Prepared for Cupp Publishing, Inc.

by Cathy Puett Miller, Independent Literacy Consultant

Canton, GA

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, in its fourth year of implementation, continues to provide schools and individual teachers in the southeast with an effective system for teaching reading, writing, listening and communicating. Successfully implemented in urban and suburban as well as rural school settings, Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers offers explicit, systematic methods of instruction, paced to encourage student mastery at every step.  This approach has resulted in overall marked improvement in student performance in the classroom and on standardized tests.

 

With a specific, trackable scope and sequence, teachers find in Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers a logical, progressive plan to move children toward literacy, allowing for individual learning styles and abilities.  The flexibility of Ten Minute Phonics™  as an integrated component of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers or as a stand-alone phonics program also makes it a simple yet valuable tool in today’s complex classroom. 

 

You will find in this report a summary of total results as well as information from individual teachers and administrators who documented students’ improvement in their ability to read.   Perhaps a reasonable starting point is a typical comment shared by a user school in rural Georgia:

 

During the 2003-2004 school year, Daughtry Elementary in Butts County, GA had six first grade classes.  One of these classes contained all EIP children.  The five non-EIP classes used the McMillan/McGraw Hill series as the core reading program.  The EIP class used Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers and CRCT scores confirmed that the EIP class using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers ranked as the second highest class of the six in Daughtry’s first grade unit.  EIP students using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers as the core instructional program outscored non-EIP students using other materials in four of the six classes.

 

Although connections to mainstream reading research are extremely important as a starting point from which to evaluate a core reading program, those details have not been included in this year’s review for brevity’s sake.  The only notation included in this summary (the fourth in a series of research publications on Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, beginning in 2001) is a comparison between Dr. Cupp’s program and the key components of reading as defined by the National Reading Panel (see the following chart).  If you wish to review more detail on the research basis for Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, see the previous research online at www.cindycupp.com, review Cathy Puett Miller’s article entitled ”Beginning to Read Curriculum” from the April, 2004 issue of the Georgia Journal of Reading or contact Mrs. Miller, Independent Literacy Consultant directly at cathypmiller@starband.net.

 

 

 

            U.S. Dept of Education                   Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers

     Key Reform Areas for Classroom            Ten Minute Phonics  Basis

 

Phonemic awareness     ]                                Phonemic awareness

Phonics                           ]                               Phonics

Fluency                         ]                                 Oral fluency

Vocabulary                    ]                                Spelling & vocabulary

Comprehension             ]                                Comprehension

Motivation                     ]                                Writing & communication


                                                                                        Homework & parent interaction

                                                                            Assessment & study skills

 

 

In the current public education environment, virtually all reading programs identify links between their products and mainstream reading research.  The true test of effectiveness is to evaluate those connections AND assess how children respond and learn in the classroom, noting which methods effect change over the widest population and with the greatest number of students.  Dr. Cindy Cupp, creator of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, has combined her own teaching exper­ience with a controlled, sequential introduction of important skills and experiences to build a comprehensive package.  With her materials, children begin learning to read at once in Book 1, needing only recognition of a few consonants, and the short “a”. 


Beginning in Book 1, students and teachers are introduced to a pattern of a reading story, phonics, fluency and sight word practice, spelling and vocabulary, comprehension, writing and a closing story.  Teachers describe the materials as “classroom and teacher friendly” and confirm they can easily teach any lesson once they’ve taught the first. 

 

DETAILS OF THE STUDY


In the course of the 2003-2004 school year, results of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers were tracked in an average of 112 classrooms with over 2700 individual students involved.  They ranged from gifted kindergarten classes to average, fairly homogeneous averageability class­rooms to EIP classes serving children up to 9 years of age.  The percentage of students on free and reduced lunch (often used as an indicator of risk) represented at these schools ranged from 8% to 83% with the average being 42%. 


This year for the first time a key group of 17 schools completed more in-depth reports (called PayDay Updates) in which they provided monthly documentation on the progress of their stu­dents, giving details of individual book levels for individual students. Many of these schools also implemented a three-group rotation method for teaching Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, focusing on small group instruction in 20-minute increments to most successfully implement the program.  Because of these enhancements, these schools reported better than average outcomes.


In addition, at year’s end, results from a variety of assessments including Lexia, BLT (the Basic Literacy Test), GKAP (the Georgia Kindergarten Assessment), GCRCT (the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test), Informal Reading Inventories and STAR (a Renaissance Learning tool) were collected for categorizing and evaluation.

 

RESULTS – Specific Formal Assessments Track Success

 

On both ends of the spectrum, as has historically been the case, test scores indicate that students taught with Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers improved in their ability to read.

 

As a group, schools using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers most often used the STAR and BLT or Lexia assessments in evaluating their student’s progress.  The following shows average first grade outcomes for a group of approximately 180 randomly selected students:

 

                                                                                                                                Average
                                            Average                             Range of                         Improvement
                                         Spring Score                     Spring Scores                     Fall to Spring

STAR

2.27

.5 to 4.00

1 year, 2 months

BLT

67.74

21 to 100

34.70 points

Lexia

57.53

25 to 90

30.10 points

 

Compared to the other studies conducted over the course of the last three years, these results remain very close (within 2 months on STAR and within 10 points on BLT). 


Even schools labeled as “at risk” saw a majority of their students advance. One such school took an unusual step by testing their kindergarteners along with the first graders via the Lexia assessment.   Another school used the STAR (a Renaissance Learning product) for their kindergarten assessment. Although these assessments are not usually administered to five year olds, the schools determined these students were performing well in the area of reading and used these tests to further quantify the effects they saw from using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers. 


Kindergarten and first grade students from the first mentioned school began with Lexia scores of 11.  On average their students improved 15 points for a final score of 26 (average improvement of the group).  Nearly 30% improved more than 20 points on their scores with the high being 33 points.  Only 10% improved less than 10 points.  The STAR testing indicated that a group of gifted kindergarten students began in ninth month of kinder­garten and progressed to a second grade level, on average.  Sixty-three percent of them improved more than nine school months/one school year. 


In another study case, a rural south Georgia school with 83% free and reduced lunch reported 91% of their first grade students mastered over 283 sight words as a results of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers.  Their average book level for first grade students at the end of the year was 59.30 out of 60The outcome on their Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (the state-mandated test to used to evaluate how effectively schools are teaching and children are learning the Quality Core Curriculum) reflects 100% literacy among their first graders.  The cumulative effect of full implementation (a two-year package of Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers with 30 booklets per year) is particularly noteworthy at this location since the first graders mentioned above were introduced to Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers during their kindergarten year.

Another principal observed this contrast in her school:

 

                                                   Percentage of students passing

GA CRCT*                  Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers Fully Implemented             Other Methods Combined

Reading

94%

89%

Language Arts

100%

78%

*Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test

 

In this same school (with nearly half of their students on free and reduced lunch), all kindergarten students were promoted to 1st grade with an average of Level E (second level of first grade) in guided reading (according to the Steck-Vaughn guided reading scale). 


A third school reported that every student being taught to read with Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers passed the reading portion of the Georgia Criterion-Referenced Competency Test for the 2003-2004 school year (including all EIP students and all special ed students using that program). 


One teacher from a second year Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers school commented, “We used to be happy if the children averaged an 18 on Lexia; now we are sad if they don’t get a 30!
  Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers is helping us raise standards for our children and they are responding.”   Another who has been using the program consistently for at least two years remarked, “Our school has seen increases every year since we began using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers.  Together we set targets last year for our first graders including a BLT score of between 50 and 60.  This year our actual first grade average was a 68.  In kindergarten, we projected a range of 25-35 as average in 2002-2003; this year our average rose to 41.4.  Twenty-four of my own 35 EIP students [68%] scored about 30!  It will be very exciting to see where our rising second graders will go with two years of this program.” [This final comment comes, not from a traditionally high-achieving school but from one with 40% of their students on free and reduced lunch.]


GENERAL STATISTICS – Overall Accomplishments

In the evaluation of classrooms using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers:

 

Ø      On average, of the Georgia schools reporting results, 92% of students were successful in passing the reading portion of the state-mandated Criterion Referenced Competency Test (GCRCT)

 

Ø      Twenty-four percent (24%) of kindergarteners finished Book 30 of the Readers (ended the year knowing all 116 kindergarten sight words)

 

Ø      Forty-seven percent (47%) finished Book 20 or better (the target level for average kindergarteners – knowing 66 sight words).  

 

Ø      On the first grade level, nearly 66% finished their 60th booklet in Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, reaching a reading level of 2.1. 

 

Ø      Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the tracked population knew 220 sight words by the end of the school year. 

 

The following is a chart showing the progress, on average in number of sight words mastered, of the students followed in the study:

 

                                      Beginning Average Number                        Ending Average Number
    Grade Level           of Sight Words Mastered (9/03)                 of Sight Words Mastered (5/04)

Kindergarten

6

66

1st Grade

85

192

 

As a subset of this group, the seventeen PayDay Update schools improved more quickly, ending the school year with the average kindergartener mastering 76 sight words and first grader mastering 227. 


HIGHLIGHTING THE PHONICS COMPONENT
 

With the national emphasis on phonics in early reading, Dr. Cupp’s Ten Minute Phonics™  component is a particularly important element.  By explicitly and sequentially introducing phonics from the very first lesson, this essential skill is woven into the overall approach along with other elements such as fluency and comprehension.  The practice time on phonics skills is sufficient and frequent enough to bring mastery and students quickly see the connection between phonics and real reading.  By the end of the school year, the average kindergartener using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers and the phonics package had mastered the following phonics skills:

 

Ø      All consonants

Ø      Rimes: an, am, ap, ag, ac, ad, as, af, ak, aj, av, az

Ø      Short vowels a, i and u

 

They are reading from the first booklet on at least a .4 grade level and often much higher.

The average first grader had mastered these phonics skills:

 

Ø      All consonants

Ø      Rimes:  an, am, ap, ag, ac, ad, as, af, ak, aj, av, az

Ø      Short and Long Vowels

Ø      Switching Between Short and Long Vowels

Ø      R-controlled vowels

Ø      Closed and Open syllables

Ø      3 Syllable Words

Ø      L Blends

Ø      R Blends

Ø      S Blends

Ø      Tw Blends

Ø      Diagraphs SH and WH


 

They are reading on average at a 1.5 reading level although 66% of them finished at a 2.1 level.

 

The 66% who completed all 60 books in the Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers series also added these skills:

 


 

Ø      Digraphs ch th

Ø      Digraphs th thr

Ø      Silent letters

Ø      Endings such as ly

Ø      Multiple closed and open syllables

Ø      Diphthongs

Ø      Y’s making long a, i and e sounds

Ø      Qu and squ

 
 

CLOSING REMARKS

 

Every child comes to school wanting to learn to read.  Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers capitalizes on that interest and enthusiasm by beginning a concrete track for reading instruction at a simple level and early in the kindergarten experience.  Her readiness instruction and the “Word House Book” make sure that even at-risk readers pick up the pre-literacy skills they need to begin with success.  When children have mastered only four sight words, and a few letters and sounds, they can read the first story.  Students learn to connect the individual skills they are learning (onset and rime, phonemic awareness, etc.) to what they are doing as readers early on. 

 

Initial sight words in Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers are no more than five letters long. This aids children in beginning to read successfully right away.  Motivation is fed by the games and fun activities in each lesson (Hop N Pop sight word practice continues to be a favorite among the children).

 

Also, in Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers, at least eighty-five to ninety-five percent (85-95%) of the text contains words already introduced in previous lessons.  This not only allows the stories to become more complex in terms of vocabulary, compre­hension and interest, but also greatly increases the chances a child will succeed.  The remaining five to fifteen percent (5-10%) of the text are newly introduced “sound-it-out” words that children see when they begin the booklet. Clear labels identify “tricky words” that do not follow any rules and these words are introduced and explicitly reviewed.

 

Unlike many comprehensive beginning-reading curricula, Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers allows flexibility and simplicity in individualizing instructions without introducing different materials. Built into each booklet is convenient space for notations and single student test results.  The program is created to allow for individualized instruction within smaller groups, ensuring that students can read at a 2.1 level by the end of the first grade.  Exceptional students who progress more quickly have extensions such as the “After Dr. Cupp Readers” reading list to move them into real literature. 

 

Each student moves to the next level only when they have mastered the key ingredients of a particular book.  This consultant and many of the administrators and teachers who were a part of this study have observed first hand the impact this has on children’s belief that they can become a reader.  Instilling confidence and skills early in the process avoids the “layering” of reading difficulties that occur when a curriculum moves too fast for the student’s abilities.

 

Within smaller group instruction, individual participation and small group activities create chances for more intensive teaching.  This is especially important for struggling, “at-risk," readers who might move at a slower pace and be “left behind” with more conventional curriculum. 

 

Although the majority of schools participating in this year’s research have used Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers and Ten Minute Phonics™  for two years or less, it is noteworthy that, among schools using her materials longer, assessment shows continued student achievement.    The fact that many of the schools who began using her products when first introduced are still using them today (a rare occurrence in the modern education environment) is as valid a testimonial for the program as the data collected on test results of students learning with Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers.  “I use it because it works,” says one teacher, “and I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year to know that my students will learn to read and love to read.”

 

 This research summary has been prepared by Cathy Puett Miller, Independent Literacy Consultant, June, 2004 

Cathy Puett Miller, Independent Literacy Consultant
770-345-3001
CathyPMiller@starband.net

 ©2004 Cindy Cupp and Associates.  All rights reserved.  Schools and school districts are able to make single copies of this document for the purpose of grant applications and documentation.  Any other duplication of a part or the whole of this report is prohibited without written permission from Cindy Cupp and Associates.

For additional information about the Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers or Ten Minute Phonics™  visit www.cindycupp.com

Cindy Cupp and Associates, Inc.
Savannah, Georgia  31406

Office phone   912  691-2434
Fax                   912  691-1449
cindycupp@mindspring.com


Section 4:

May/End of Year 2004 payday update School Highlights

HERE’S A QUICK SUMMARY OF THE IMPACT OF DR. CUPP READERStm IN 21 DIFFERENT SCHOOLS. COMPARE YOUR RESULTS TO SEE HOW YOUR STUDENTS PROGRESSED FROM MONTH TO MONTH. THE CHARTS ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES GIVE MORE DETAIL (# OF STUDENTS IN EACH BOOK, AVERAGE BOOK, AVERAGE NUMBER OF SIGHT WORDS MASTERED, ETC.)  

 

*Of a total of 1801 students reporting in May, the average Kindergarten student has learned 59 sight words and the average first grader has learned 183. 

--------------------------------------------

In Kindergarten, the average book level overall for May, 2004 was Book 17 with the largest percentage of students overall having completed Book 60 in Dr. Cupp Readers(65%).

*They continue to read actual stories and already practice comprehension, self-correction, spelling, and fluency.


------------------------------------------------------
*There is a much greater range of student abilities in first grade than in kindergarten with students ranging from Book 1 to Book 60. In first grade, the average book overall for February was Book 44The average student has mastered all the consonant letters and sounds, has learned all the short and long vowels has been introduced to the concept of switching long and short vowel sounds, and –r controlled words.  They also have mastered the ideas of closed and open syllables and have been introduced to three-syllable words.  They have learned about blends and digraphs.  The average number of sight words mastered in first grade was 183.

Click here to view the May 2004 Payday Summaries
 

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



© 2004 Cupp Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

If you are a teacher using Dr. Cupp Readers® & Journal Writers 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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