We are the Wildcats!

Reading Institute

For decades, Cathy Cummins’ Early Bird Reading Program has taught thousands of children how to read and has served as a learning model for community instructors who teach Orton Phonics. The Program’s success has continued to flourish with the addition of Reading Masters, designed to build upon the reading skills acquired through Early Bird. The two programs have proven so popular that there is often a steady wait list, enrolling over 140 children on a weekly basis, reaching boys and girls from SAA’s private and public sectors, to children from cities as far as Eagle Pass, Laredo and McAllen.   

Early Bird Reading (Ages 4-7)

Course description: The curriculum consists of Orton-based phonics and basal readers that use a controlled vocabulary. In each session there is a formal lesson in oral language, rhyming patterns and the 71 English language phonograms. We play word games, practice handwriting and work on art projects related to the phonograms we are studying. The group instruction is uniform because all students need the information about the phonograms, syllabication and the rules of English. The art project is an important component of the program because it gives the children time to practice fine motor skills and to reflect on the phonograms that are being illustrated. 


Reading Masters (Ages 7-10)

Course description: This is the next step after Early Bird Reading, yet with the same back-to-basics curriculum. Reading Masters is the perfect class for a fluent reader who needs to maintain speed, accuracy and comprehension. All children need to continue building the “brain lists” to remember which phonograms are used in which words to represent identical sounds. This expertise is gained with exposure, direct instruction and practice.


Phonics for Adults 

Course description: Help your child become a better reader and speller! When children learn the sounds of the 71 English language phonograms, decoding becomes easy because 93% of all English words can be “sounded out.” Class participants will learn spelling and decoding tactics, compile a notebook and make puzzles, games and other teaching materials. This phonics course is excellent for parents whose children are in pre-kindergarten through second grade. It is recommended also for parents who homeschool their youngsters and for parents of older students who are experiencing reading or language barriers.