WELCOME TO LESSON SEVEN
SERIOUS PEOPLE KNOW that time is valuable!
Prepare your student to study. Remember which schedule he or she is following. LOOK BELOW for continued instructions, BUT FIRST here's a letter of importance!
The following letter was prepared upon request and written by Bill Cooksey for a magazine publication:
In Januaryof 1994, when my wife and I began offering our free phonics classes here in Modesto, it was the one little listing in the classes section of the Modesto Bee that literally produced more calls and inquires than interviews on TV and radio. And we were so happy to be able to provide an opportunity for so many of your readers to increase their reading skills in our classes. Just a few of the miracles included a very intelligent 59 year old man who has worked all his life to provide for his family but had been told early in life by his father that he'd never be able to read. So he made up his own language code that only he and his wife could understand. Thankfully, after meeting with him just four times, all that changed. He began to be able to do what you and I sometimes tend to take for granted. How wonderful it was to see this grandfather read words that had only a month before looked to him like funny marks on paper. But he was not alone. There were many grandmas and grandpas that came and became better readers too.
The classes also included three, four and five year olds that quickly learned the basics from our original songs and games. One two and one-half year old girl sat in her Mom's lap, while her twin brothers, (four) worked on learning the alphabet and the sounds of the consonants and the vowels. It was only a few weeks later that the mother told us as she practiced the vowel songs with the boys at home, the little girl joined right in. And at the next class, she was the star pupil as she boldly shared the correct sounds of the long and short vowels to the amazement of everyone there, including us. You see, we believe if a person is willing to be faithful in helping another person learn to read, there will always be tremendous success according, of course, to each student limitations.
Perhaps the most heart warming student of all was an inspiring young man age 24 named Dennis. From childhood he has been plagued with seizures and must wear a helmet even when he sleeps. Dennis has been in State sponsored schools all along. He has very loving parents who have taken him everywhere they went throughout the years. We hesitated to suggest they bring him to the classes, but Dennis' smile turns your "no" into a "yes" everytime. He came one hour a week to a special room where 5 of us sat around a table with him. We felt he would learn more if he was in the midst of a group of friends he knew that were watching and encouraging him work with a special educational manipulatives board. Yes, right when things were going great, a seizure would occur. Then it was five or ten minutes later before Dennis could continue. But he never gave up and his perseverance motivated us to cheer him on to victory. That's right! In only a few months, Dennis began to speak much clearer and in sentences. He was able to place the alphabet letters in the correct spaces on the manipulative board. He could match letters in their proper order as he would spell a word describing a corresponding picture. He began to write letters and words on paper that amazed us all.
But the highlight of Dennis' victory came right before Christmas when I asked his Mom if she thought he'd be able to write some letters REAL BIG on newsprint. She agreed to let him try. I told Dennis if he'd write Happy Birthday Jesus real big and real nice, I'd ask the pastor if we could hold it up across the front of the church platform during the church's special Christmas program. We only had one more meeting with Dennis before the big night. So when he came to class, I was the one who was unsure of whether we could get this done in time. In my mind I kept thinking, "What if he has a seizure before he finishes? How can I tell him he can't hold up his sign. because it's not complete?" We started and he was beautiful! He made a lovely "H" and a dynamic "A" and was breezing right on through "D-A-Y". Well, maybe I was just paranoid. We refused to make the letters with him or for him. This was Dennis' moment of achievement. And as he began the letter "J", BOOM...here he went! The sound of the helmet hitting the table was so loud it frightened my wife who was teaching another group of students outside of our room's closed door. Dennis ended up on the carpet in the corner away from the table where he was working. He was out like a light. Oh, Boy! Now I have to explain why he can't be up there during the Christmas program. That thought lasted two seconds as we all picked him up and waited for him to come to. And in just a few minutes, his smiling eyes opened widely, followed by that heartbreaking grin. I said, " Dennis...Dennis! Are you okay?" And his response was ," Are YOU?" But that's what everyone loves about Dennis. His attitude is golden and outshines every circumstance. I want you to know that he got up, took the felt marker and proceeded to finish his sign. In my pitiful frustration, I tried to verbally direct the way he made the "J" as I stood on the other side of the table. Dennis was doing it correctly. But "Mr. Doubtful" said ," No, Dennis. Make the "J" go the other way!" And so we ended up with a backward "J", thanks to me. Dennis did a fantastic job on the rest of the word and the sign was finished.
Then came the night of the program and the church was packed in every pew with people who had known Dennis for all of his 24 years. The choir and other featured vocalists sang, different families got up and told what Christmas meant to them and then the Pastor introduced me by saying that we had a special surprise from someone in the phonics classes. So we had several volunteers began to unroll this thirty foot (or longer) roll of newsprint all the way across the front of the church. I stood there with Dennis at the microphone and started to tell what this courageous young man had prepared just for them. The crowd kind of whispered among themselves as they began to see Dennis' message revealed. Finally, as six or seven volunteers several feet apart held up this incredible sign, I motioned for Dennis to stand and face the audience. Needless to say, I could barely talk by now as the tears began to well up in my eyes. I asked those present not to forget that Dennis' parents had been faithful in raising him all these years. And I felt that Dennis, his Mom and his Dad all should share in a round of applause for such a beautiful tribute to the One that is The Reason For The Season. Well, this applause could have doubled for a 49er crowd at Super Bowl. They rose to their feet and somehow the applause got louder. This went on for five...six...seven..minutes at least. They didn't stop until we began to roll up the sign and Dennis moved to sit down.
When people ask me," Why are you and your wife so determined to try and teach the world to read with your phonics program? Why don't you package it up and market it like all the ones I hear advertised on the TV and radio?" I try and be polite with my answers. But inside I know the reason we keep on trying so hard to help people to learn to read. I confess I'm very, very selfish. You see, I'm looking for another Dennis experience or being a part of seeing a grandfather or grandmother be able to pick up a newspaper and enjoy reading every word with ease. We can't stand the thought of a child or an adult losing out on everything life has to offer because they don't know the sounds and relationship rules of 26 letters in the English language. We know our course works. So how can we deny others, no matter what their own personal circumstances may be, the same privilege we received when someone taught us to read?
If you chose schedule A you are on a program which is designed on a primary level for those students who are studying the Alphabet by name. You are helping your student to lay a necessary foundation.
If you chose schedule B you are on a program which is designed on an intermediate level. Your student has had the opportunity to lay a foundation using the names of the Alphabet letters. He or she should now prepare to solidify the foundation by learning to apply the knowledge of the sounds of each letter, as they are taught or reinforced.
Please study the material for your lesson ahead of time.
It is very important that the students in schedule B follow the suggested plans very carefully!You are now beginning the sounds and you will be amazed at what follows. Be ready! Be prepared! Don't skip! You are building a foundation. You want the foundation secure.
Yes, it is also important that the students in schedule A follow the suggested plans very carefully!You will soon begin the sounds.
The plans are looking a little different for some of you. Be sure to become familiar with their content and method of presentation. It is up to you to apply the content of the plans. You will need to take the necessary time and you will want to be able to concentrate in a quiet atmosphere conducive to good study habits.
Happiness is learning to read!
Copyright © 1997 by Bill and Janae Cooksey, All rights reserved. No part of this material may be published in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.