My Reading Crusade, Part 10

Probably the newspaper article about “Jerome Smith’s Reading Crusade” came out too soon, before the program could be reproduced for distribution. The article generated wide interest at the time.

My school principal, Dr. Miller, said my work helps students, especially athletes, prep for and pass the ACT test. “His teaching style is effective, and he has what most teachers don’t have–keeping the students involved especially on their learning levels.”

Over the years my program has benefited hundreds of students at Denby, Southeastern, and Cass Technical High Schools.

Present and former students, counselors, curriculum specialists, and coaches give high praise to the program and the results it brings.

Cortez Lett, a fullback for Denby’s football team, and one of my most faithful and diligent students, praises my methods. Cortez received instruction in reading, English composition and writing. Twenty-one athletes received instruction using the Language Enrichment Program who subsequently received high enough ACT scores to qualify for full athletic scholarships to college.

“No matter how good a player you are, you will still need to get the right grades to succeed in college and in life,” said Cortez,  17. A senior, he is going to the Naval Academy on a full scholarship to study sports medicine.

Cortez said the program works. “I’m a living witness,” he said. “I took the ACT and got a real good score the first time.

“All praises go to God first and to Mr. Smith. I now have the chance to further my education with the scholarship.”

Today, Smith’s supplementary literacy training resource program, now called The Language Enrichment Program, aims to improve and maximize students’ reading and writing communication skills. It is available on in both printed book and Kindle format.

The 24-unit, easy-to-use program superficially looks like a “fill-in-the-blank” series of exercises. It is far more than that. Unlike any other available resource, it has been carefully tested with hundreds of students, and has been revised in response to their questions until virtually all students experience continued success as they work through the program units.

Students can use the program without a teacher’s help by following the simple directions.

“In an ordinary textbook, students need a teacher,” Smith said. “In this program, students are enabled to reach their objective and learn at their own pace.”

“Many of my ‘remedial reading students,’ who were thought to be beyond hope and certain dropouts, completed high school and went on to college.”

National statistics continue to indicate the need for academic enhancement programs such as mine.

Emery Moss, pastor of Strictly Biblical Bible Teaching Ministries in Dearborn, said my program paid off for him when he was a student at Cass.

“The program helped me to have a better grasp of English and reading comprehension,” said Moss, who subsequently earned a master’s degree in theology from William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills, and another in biblical studies from Ashland Seminary in Ashland, Ohio.

“It is a great program and it would be good if it were instituted in all public schools,” he said.

Steven Yezback, a long-time reading and English instructor with the Detroit Public Schools who now teaches at Marygrove and the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said Smith “has something to offer the students because reading forces a person to think.”

“In any group of students, even in we adults, you seldom find any two people who will read at the same pace,” Yezback said. “Each of us come from a different background and our vocabulary is different.”

Ruben Washington, Denby’s basketball, track and field and cross-country coach, said his students attend after-school tutorial sessions with Smith.

“We have been very fortunate to have Mr. Smith as part of our program to enhance our athletes’ reading, English, and composition skills,” Washington said.

Denby football coach Don Stuckey said: “We’ve got good athletes, but they were not going on to the next level as they should.

“That is, getting scholarships to college. And since Mr. Smith had volunteered to help these kids study, particularly to get them prepared for college, we have had every young man and woman going to college with his help.”

Shantee Orr, a Denby senior who wants to major in physical therapy in college, is going to the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship.

Shantee said Smith’s remedial reading program came in handy during his college entrance exams.

“The concepts of grammar, language usage, placement of subjects and verb all came together for me during the test,” he said.

Gail Kowitz, a counselor at Denby, was an English instructor and worked with Smith at Southeastern.

“He’s so committed,” she said. “It is that kind of commitment that just makes him kind of a rare treasure in Detroit–because he is so willing to put the children first.”

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