My Reading Crusade, Part 9

After nearly five years off teaching, my doctor cleared me to return to teaching. I was assigned a position to teach English at Denby High School. I made some use of my already prepared teaching materials to supplement the regular work in English class. Once again, I discovered students were far behind grade level in reading comprehension. My best students had a reading comprehension at the eighth grade level, so even they were reading at least three or four years below grade level.

Eventually, some school counselors and athletic coaches learned of the help I was giving in my English classes. One student in particular had received help from several of the outstanding English teachers in the department, and was still unable to get a satisfactory score on the ACT test to qualify for an athletic scholarship. He came to his counselor, asking for more help. She asked him, “Have you gotten help from Mr. Smith?” The student said he did not know anything at all about Mr. Smith. She brought him to my  classroom, and I volunteered to tutor him after school, using my Language Enrichment Program. As a result, he was able to get a score high enough on the ACT test to qualify for a full athletic scholarship to college. I used his results to motivate other athletes. I showed them that the monetary return for that student was about $1,350 an hour when I divided the dollar amount of his scholarship by the hours required to complete my self-instructional reading program. I told the students that was pretty good hourly pay, if you ask me.

My parents were getting very elderly. My family and I were able to visit them in the state of Washington. While there we took some time to visit Mount St. Helen. It had recently erupted, and we saw the many fallen trees on the sides of the mountain. I was telling one of my uncles about my recently published book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, and someone standing nearby overheard our conversation. He introduced himself, and asked if I had any other books ready to be published. I mentioned I had a reading program that I had developed over many years that has proved highly successful to help students of all ages boost their academic achievement by raising their reading comprehension. He gave me his contact information, and I gave him mine. He said he was from Detroit, and would love to help me publish my reading program.

Mr. Curtis Woodson got in touch with me, and I shared my program with him. I was able to scan in my typewritten masters to my computer, and using the OmniPage program, convert the scanned documents to MSWord files. Mr. Woodson was able to get several different schools to try the program. In each case, the program worked very well, exactly as I had described that it would.

Mr. Woodson had me come to the Chandler Park Charter School in Detroit to explain to the teachers how to use the program. The teachers had great success using the program with their students. I was told that of the three charter schools that were in some kind of group and associated together, the Chandler Park Charter School did the best, by far, of the three. The other two schools in the group were suburban charter schools. For the first time for this charter school group, the urban school now had a far higher achievement rate on the MEAP Tests for all subjects than the other two.

Mr. Woodson was quite good as a publicist. He arranged for my classroom to be visited by a newspaper reporter and a photographer. I’ll tell more next time.

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