First Stage Publishing Company
Some Facts to Make Good Teachers Weep!
The United States Office of Education recently estimated that approximately 18 ½ million Americans cannot read well enough to fill out a simple application form, and 30 million are functionally illiterate (1). Furthermore, it indicated that the public school system is failing to teach reading adequately to 32% of school-aged children, for half of the students in the large school systems cannot read well enough to do their assignments (2). This is tragic, but it is not nearly as tragic as the fact that 19%, or approximately 532,000 High School graduate students are functionally illiterate (3). Even more tragic is the fact that they might have learned how to read in the first grade in three months.
The First Stage Metamorphosis
At that particular moment he felt that there was a sort of magic process to reading. All those little black marks were words! If he would grasp their meaning, then he would be able to read. But each word was different! How could anyone remember which group of black marks represented a particular word? True, they were different, but they all looked alike.
After being homeschooled 3 hours a day by Professor Thomas Velasquez for two weeks, the strange marks in books, magazines, posters, box tops and road signs were no longer mysteries. Brook experienced the dawn of the world of the printed page. In two weeks the chain reaction of learning how to read had resulted in an explosion of knowledge that staggered his parents and his sisters. He was reading on the fourth grade level! One year later, he completed the sixth grade at the top of his class in reading. The power of reading surged through him, and it enabled him to bridge the gap between the printed word and meaning. Brook had solved the riddle and cut the knot that had kept him blindfolded in the world of the printed page. He was the first student to learn how to read through the revolutionary First Stage Reading Program.
Professor Velasquez was asked to write a book based on the teaching method he had used with Brook. He submitted it to various publishers. They wanted to have the program rewritten so that it could be taught through many books over three years because one book taught over a few weeks would not make any money. He declined their offer. The advantage of learning to read using First Stage is that one can learn the most important generalizations of reading in one book. In a very short time the wonder of the printed page can be learned!
The First Stage Reading Program
The First Stage Reader contains 148 pages of stories with colored illustrations. It is written for people who need an opportunity to learn an efficient and effective process of reading. The First Stage Teacher’s Edition provides both research and a brief history of the development of the English language text system. Included is fundamental information about generalizations of the reading process with exercises and activities for a student to learn to read the English language in an efficient manner. Learning the process takes approximately 30 hours to read with comprehension at the reader’s level of interest and maturity. The First Stage Reader and Teacher's Manual are available for purchase.
Brook- twelve years old, son of the West Coast Representative of one of the major book publishers in the United States; mother - a school teacher; younger sisters - good readers; eye sight and hearing- good; good natured, bright, curious, never a discipline problem; three years in classes for the educationally handicapped, yet Brook had not learned how to read. Verdict- place in class for the mentally retarded- STOP!
Thomas Aquinas Velasquez
•Linguistic scholar and teacher of Language Arts for 20+ years at City College of SF in CA
• B.A. in Liberal Arts with English emphasis; M.A. in Language Arts at SF State University
• Nominated for best teacher of the year at City College of SF
• Taught English to bilingual students of diverse back-grounds
• 25 year member of Int. Literacy Association
Ruth Lind Velasquez
• Experienced and recognized educator in CA for 40+ years
• Member of the International Literacy Association, CKA,
• B.A. in Liberal Arts; M.A. in Education Administration and Supervision from SF State Univ.
History of First Stage Reading Program