Happy Reading

Got Questions? Here are some answers:

Site Content Questions:

1. How can I be sure of the quality of the instructional materials?

All materials are written by a veteran literacy educator with years of experience with content standards alignment, an advanced degree in reading with additional endorsements in both adolescent literacy and gifted education. The author also has extensive experience as a writer and speaker with additional background in theater. Materials are tested with readings by real learners. Your feedback is also welcome.

2. What if I’d like more support to use the materials with my learners?

General questions about use of the materials at home, in school or in other community settings can be directed to lovebooks@happyreading.org For more extensive support, you may wish to consider a request for custom consulting services. A telephone conference can be arranged to discuss your particular need.

3. Are your poems and scripts leveled by any particular reading or leveling system?

Though they are not leveled officially by Fountas and Pinnell, they are leveled by HAPPY Reading to be an approximate match for F&P. In leveling our materials, we look at the same measures of readability you might expect: word count, difficulty of words, sentence length and structure, number of repeated words, rhyme, picture support, text to white space ratio, and so on.

In addition, we weigh heavily motivation. Though “fun factor” is not an actual scientific term, you will find many experienced educators who know that student motivation can make difficult text more manageable for any reader. Our materials are enjoyable for students. The “fun factor” along with your instructional guidance and student repetition make mastery possible with just a few repeated readings so long as the material is close to the student’s assessed instructional level.

4. Will you be offering other instructional materials or just the poems and reader’s theater scripts?

Over time, there will be many other items offered by HAPPY Reading. Please keep an eye on the monthly calendar for news of new products, new profiles, new articles, new featured books and new instructional materials that will become available in the weeks and months ahead.

5. What is the BookMine and when will it become available?

The BookMine is a treasure trove for the parent and educational leader who want to infuse meaningful learning with rich literacy experiences using real books. For those looking to add to their library, the BookMine will help you make smart choices about what you’d like, based on your learner’s unique needs. For those wanting to make the most of what you already have in your home or local public library, the BookMine is for you, as well. It will help you make instructional connections with thousands of real books. It opens in the late summer of 2011.

6. Do you provide any sort of guarantee for your products?

We do guarantee that our materials are of the highest quality… designed to address language arts, content, motivation and parent involvement (with the Take2 versions of our poems and with all RT scripts that are practiced at home). We are not able, however, to guarantee any specific reading gain through use of our materials, simply because there are too many factors beyond the control of HAPPY Reading. The knowledge of the instructor, the accurate assessment of the student’s readiness, the student’s motivation, the amount and quality of the time devoted to the learning tasks, and the connections made among materials, other content and learners all impact student progress in ways we cannot predict or direct. HAPPY Reading is, however, dedicated to creating advantages for you and your learners in all these areas through our offerings here.

7. Do you offer instructional materials for adult learners?

Currently, we do not offer materials designed strictly for adult learners, although that may change in the months ahead. For now, be sure that the same materials that work for younger readers who are just learning can work for adults as well… provided those adult learners have been properly assessed and are motivated to grasp new skills.

8. Are your materials available in languages other than English?

HAPPY Reading materials are available in English only, but we value diversity here. Materials for English language learners are in our plans. We also invite you to notice over the coming weeks that as new instructional materials are introduced, they are sensitive to our diverse population. Learning is more enjoyable for most of us when we see characters and conditions in text that resemble what we see in our lives, at least some of the time. HAPPY Reading has this in mind at all times.

9. How do I offer my feedback regarding items on the site?

Please e-mail us at lovebooks@happyreading.org.

10. Can you tell me more about the cartoon characters on the site and in the instructional materials?

HAPPY Reading is fortunate to have benefited from the talents of many fine artists. They bring different artistic range and preferred styles to the work. The characters and cartoons that are a part of the HAPPY Reading experience we owe to their creativity and commitment to education. Should you have an illustration need and an interest in one or more of our artists, we may be able to assist you in contacting an artist for a quote. We appreciate serious inquiries only.

11. Are your materials compatible with standards for my state and with the new new Common Core State Standards?

Initially, HAPPY Reading poems and scripts are compatible with virtually all traditional educational settings. They are specifically aligned with the new Common Core State Standards as well as state standards for Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia. What this means is that educators in those districts can search for relevant content by specific standard. Educators anywhere can search for materials by topic or general content. Materials will be aligned with standards for all American states by 2012.

12. What is the difference between Personal Power Poems and Word Power Poems?

Personal Power Poems are primarily to build phonological awareness, concept of word, sight word knowledge, fluency, expression and fun. They are most useful for learners who are just beginning to read. The picture support is quite helpful to them.

Word Power Poems are for beginning readers who are studying specific word study (phonics) features. They deliver many of the same benefits as the Personal Power Poems. Unlike Personal Power Poems, which rhyme without major consideration for spelling, Word Power Poems are designed to be rich with recurring word study feature(s). They can be used to build recall and speaking skills but also to support word study instruction. All the poems can be incredibly helpful for any Language Arts instructor, but HAPPY Reading does recommend reading or coursework on word study. You can find reference books on the topic listed in our Resources-Concise Science area in the article entitled Word Study, Leveled Reading and Vocabulary.

Reading Instruction Questions:

1. What if I’d like more information about quality reading instruction?

You may begin in our Resources area, with a look at the Concise Science of Reading articles. There are any number of excellent books and journals on reading instruction, as well. You may wish to visit the International Reading Association to begin a plan of study. Videos, journals and regular news from IRA can assist the literacy educator or researcher in making great strides. The IRA is included on HAPPY Reading’s Links page.

2. Are you paid to endorse any particular experts, programs or reading systems?

At this time, HAPPY Reading is not paid to endorse any particular reading program or system, with the exception of the associate and partner programs for various booksellers. These sellers do provide a percentage to HAPPY Reading for sales that originate on our site. HAPPY is also pleased to include among the booksellers a link to allow you to find books in your local library, which are of course, free to borrow.

3. How is word study different from regular phonics instruction?

Phonics is instruction that includes both sounds made in language and the corresponding letter(s) that are symbols for the sounds. Word study does involve teaching phonics, but it begins with an understanding of the developmental process involved in learning to spell. Word study, which involves sorting and categorizing words by visual and aural features, is best learned by extensive reading and/or coursework. Please see the books recommended under the Resources tab. Follow Resources to Concise Science and click on the article entitled Word Study, Leveled Books and Vocabulary.

4. Is reading instruction exactly the same for native English speakers as it is for others who have a different first language?

Learning to read is considered the second most difficult thing we do. Learning to speak is the first. This is true across languages and across cultures. Reading (and understanding) words that you’ve never heard before is far more difficult than learning to read words that you hear and say all the time. Native English speakers have a distinct advantage in the classroom, because early reading involves words that most children know… CAT, BAT, HAT. For the English language learners, the task is more challenging. Many of them who have limited or no English are suddenly in classrooms where they must learn to speak and read in a language for which they have few or no words. And many of them are without an English-speaking adult at home. It is different and usually, much more difficult for English language learners to learn to read in English, but with time and quality instruction, they usually do!

5. Does HAPPY offer a complete reading system that can be used in the classroom or at home?

HAPPY Reading does not offer an instructional system. HAPPY Reading does provide materials and information to bring you evidence-based support as you implement the best practices for quality literacy support at school and at home.

6. Can HAPPY Reading provide consulting services to help me with reading instruction in my home, classroom, or other setting?

It is quite possible. Please e-mail us at lovebooks@happyreading.org to schedule a telephone conference to discuss your needs.

7. How do I put together a classroom or home library for learners, especially when I’m supposed to keep each reader at the right reading level?

You do this by offering a good mix of books and reading experiences. The types of books will be determined by reading levels, interests, and purpose(s) for reading. As you visit the Featured Books on our website over the coming months, you may begin to develop a good working list of books you’d like to provide for your learners to explore. It is also a good practice for learners to have practice in appropriately leveled books.

8. Is there research to support the use of reader’s theater?

Yes. There is a great deal of research that shows reader’s theater and poetry are both excellent for teaching fluency. To discover other benefits, go to the Links page of our site. At the bottom are links to articles and research about the use of Poems and Reader’s Theater to improve reading.

Technical Support Questions:

For all technical issues and questions, please do the following:

Make sure that your server is not blocking content from HAPPY Reading. In the case of e-mail, you may have to check your SPAM controls to ensure content from happyreading.org is always accepted. In the case of a school or division, you may need to check with your IT administrator. If you are unable to solve the problem this way, please send an e-mail to techhelp@happyreading.org Someone will follow up with you within 24 hours.

Payment, Purchasing and Membership Questions:

1. What exactly am I buying with my paid registration?

You are buying the use of registered user privileges at HAPPY Reading for one year, in accordance with your license agreement.

2. Why is the price for membership increasing so quickly right away?

Over the course of the first year, the price to register as a member with HAPPY Reading will increase more than 100%. The initial subscriber rate is only an introductory rate. After the site has been active for some time and the number and types of materials and resources have grown, use of the site will be worth a great deal more. Rather than going to an inflated price within the first year, HAPPY is offering a significant price break for the pioneer members of HAPPY Reading!

3. My purchase is for a one-year license agreement. What happens at the end of that year?

At the end of the one-year license agreement, HAPPY Reading will simply deactivate your User Password so that it no longer works on the site. You may avoid this by renewing in advance of your anniversary date of joining. You will still get credit for a full year of services even if you renew somewhat early for the following year.

4. What if I have other questions related to registering as a paid user?

You may contact us at register@happyreading.org

5. I have other questions about how I may use the materials I am downloading from the HAPPY Reading site. Is there someone available to answer my other questions?

The best way to express your questions or concerns is by e-mail: lovebooks@happyreading.org.

HAPPY Reading Questions:

HAPPY Reading is a private, Limited Liability Corporation based in Virginia. Though it is a for-profit company, HAPPY abides by the code of ethics practiced by many social entrepreneurs today. Building a sense of community and promoting the well-being of all are aims far above profits. HAPPY believes it is the right of all human beings to pursue happiness honorably. HAPPY also believes that happiness is most often achieved in service to others. Literacy has the power to enable the honorable pursuit of happiness for virtually everyone.

I’m HAPPY Reading-Books to You Questions

1. I purchased one subscription, but it seems I have two memberships. How is that possible?

At certain times of the year, HAPPY Reading may offer a special promotion for subscribers or registrants. When there are special promotions, you will find information about them on the HAPPY Calendar and on the registration and subscription pages.

2. What do I do if I am giving a subscription as a gift? I don’t want to fill out the Interest Inventory for another family. Should I send the registration form to them?

You can download the Interest Inventory only and send it on to the gift recipient to fill out and return to subscribe@happyreading.org This allows the recipient family to complete their preferences without having to handle any of the financial details of your gift.

3. Will all of my books for the month arrive in one shipment?

They will and they must be delivered to the same address each time. If you need a different arrangement, for any reason, please notify us and we will try to accommodate.

4. I have limited English. Can I still help my child with word study?

You may be able to do so. Word study generally involves words the learner knows so that the primary focus is given to spelling patterns. HAPPY suggests you try and if it is too difficult, see if an English-speaking friend or neighbor can help. The word study may end up helping both parent and child!

5. Do I have to order the service for a family? Can I order it for myself?

Individuals CAN order I’m HAPPY Reading-Books to You, however, the book selections only go up to Young Adult (YA). There are no novels, for example, written for a general, adult audience.

6. Is it possible to cancel my subscription early?

Under normal circumstances, no. If you have extenuating circumstances, you may contact us at subscribe@happyreading.org to explain your situation. Cancellations are at the discretion of HAPPY Reading.

7. May I renew my subscription before the one-year period ends? May I do this if there is a special promotion to take advantage of the savings?

You may do this and you may also take advantage of promotions, except those that specifically say they are for new subscribers only. You will still get the benefit of a full year for each paid, year-long subscription.

8. May I transfer my plan to another family?

This is not possible under normal circumstances. If your circumstances are extenuating, contact subscribe@happyreading.org to discuss.

9. I would like to donate a subscription to a family with limited resources. Is this possible?

You may do this as a gift for that family, provided you have contact information for the family and can provide them with the Interest Inventory to complete and submit. There may also be opportunities through HAPPY Reading to donate a membership to a family in conjunction with HAPPY Reading community service partners.


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