Frequently Asked Questions
for Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl
FAQs for Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition
Why did you write a new edition of The Roadmap to Literacy?
- To show teachers how to fix the #1 thing they are doing wrong when they use The Roadmap to Literacy (Langley and Militzer-Kopperl 2018.)
- To show teachers how to transition to the sequel Continuing the Journey to Literacy (Militzer-Kopperl 2020).
- To breathe fresh life into The Roadmap to Literacy.
Why did you write: The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition without your co-author Janet Langley?
Janet Langley declined to write a new edition with me, so I wrote a new edition by myself.
How is it legal to make a new edition without your co-author?
That’s what I said when I discovered Janet Langley was making Roadmap to Literacy workshops without me, without showing me what she and her cohort/s were doing in the name of the book I wrote, and without paying me for their use of my intellectual property!
I tried to get Ms. Langley to change course for several years, without success (pun intended). My lawyer advised me to adopt my co-author's position in order to resolve the disagreement and allow me an avenue for pursuing my professional interests. I did so. That gives Ms. Langley the right to make courses without me and me the right to make a new edition without her. It took a lot of time and cost a lot of money to make a new edition, but it was cheaper than court!
What are we talking? How much time, how much money?
To write and self-publish The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition took 19 months and more than $10,000. To put it into perspective, I have invested more in The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition than I made from book sales last year.
I recognize my co-author's right to profit. Janet Langley is to get 50% of the royalty money from sales of the Renewal of Literacy® Edition despite doing no additional work and investing no additional money.
You will be hard pressed to recoup your investment.
I know. But I believe in The Roadmap to Literacy and I believe in Continuing the Journey to Literacy. This new edition will help teachers and students prepare for the sequel--and for Steiner's incredible curriculum for grades 4-8.
Will the original edition of The Roadmap to Literacy still be available for sale?
Why is it called Renewal of Literacy® Edition?
My co-author objected to the new edition being called a second edition because she did not want to be associated with it. Therefore, I named it after my registered trademark: Renewal of Literacy®.
What does Renewal of Literacy mean?
The term Renewal of Literacy reflects why I wrote The Roadmap to Literacy Books. I am taking up Rudolf Steiner's banner to renew education, and I believe the way to start is by renewing literacy, including both what is taught to Waldorf students and Waldorf teachers' understanding of Rudolf Steiner's indications and the Steiner-Waldorf curriculum.
What makes The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition an improvement over the original?
- You will learn several ways to fix the #1 thing teachers are doing wrong when they use Roadmap so that all students will be met.
- You will learn ways to teach symbol imagery, an underlying literacy capacity that Steiner asked Waldorf teachers to train (and that will help Waldorf students master spelling).
- You will get the 16th aspect of language arts: Storytelling. Once you understand Steiner’s original indications, you will see that the original storytelling curriculum is the key to restoring diversity and inclusivity to Waldorf education.
- You will learn how to use environmental education (Home Surroundings) to introduce all the new subjects in grades 4–6 (except for physics), just as Steiner intended.
- You will have several new assessment options to help you get up to 95% of students reading and spelling at grade level by the end of third grade, just as Steiner intended. Proper assessment is the key to restoring balance and making sure all students learn to read and spell. It is the counterweight to creative education, and it is every bit as important to include in a Waldorf curriculum.
- You will understand Rudolf Steiner's indications for teaching and assessing language arts grades 1-3 and have the material you need to talk to colleagues and parents about what you are doing and why.
- You will understand my thesis and understand how to meet students where they are academically as well as developmentally.
- You will learn how to end the reading wars by using four different reading methodologies: Whole Language, Phonics, Look-Say, and the Spelling Method.
When will The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy Edition be released?
I don't know. It was supposed to be released in December 2022, but unexpected legal problems have re-emerged.
Unexpected legal problems have plagued you every step of the way. How can I help?
Indeed they have! You can help by holding a good thought for me and my co-author. And please give the Renewal of Literacy® Edition a good Amazon review when it is released.
Working on The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition was a labor of love. Providing we avoid further legal entanglements, Janet Langley can continue to make her courses, and I can promote and sell a new edition of The Roadmap to Literacy and make support courses for all three of my books.
Why are you requesting good Amazon reviews?
Janet Langley has expressed concern for the Renewal of Literacy® Edition's Amazon reviews. That in turn makes me concerned.
I need your help to ease both of our concerns. When The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition is released, please give The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy ® Edition a good Amazon review. Just a sentence or two would suffice.
Thank you for everything you do to help me chart a positive course. I really appreciate it. And please keep a good thought out for all parties involved.
Blessings on our work.
FAQs for Continuing the Journey to Literacy
Why did you write Continuing the Journey to Literacy on your own?
Janet Langley, the co-author of the original edition of Roadmap, reneged on her promise to write the sequel in order to do Roadmap workshops with a third party.
Journey is the Steiner-Waldorf curriculum. Was that intentional?
Yes. Waldorf educational is a holistic education. Language arts are taught in all subject blocks. Therefore, teachers need to understand the entire Steiner-Waldorf curriculum if they are to teach language arts. As Else Gottgens, mentor teacher, used to say, "Every block is a language arts block."
Why did you include block plan templates in Roadmap but not in Continuing the Journey to Literacy?
I want there to be excellence in teaching.
In Roadmap, there is not a lot of room for innovation because the students are learning basic literacy skills and capacities. Those skills and capacities are the same across the English-speaking Waldorf world. The block plans provided in Roadmap are an ideal way to teach those skills and capacities. Teachers who feel they can improve on them are encouraged to do so, but many would benefit from using the block plans.
The Waldorf curriculum in grades 4-8 should look very different around the world and across each country. There are numerous ways to set up blocks in grades 4-8. Were I to include block plans, many readers would use my work. That would then stifle innovation and lead to McWaldorf, a bland franchise of education that assumes that every child around the world should get the same content delivered in the same fashion. That is the opposite of what I want Journey to do.
Teachers who need additional help setting up block plans can contact me for mentoring.
The index in Continuing the Journey to Literacy appears to be off. What is going on? How do I fix it?
My sincere apologies. The index is off on some copies of Continuing the Journey to Literacy. There is an easy way to tell--look at the last page: About the Author. If the About the Author page is on page 951, the index is off. If it is on page 950 it is not. If your copy is affected, there is an easy fix--download the refreshed index.
Then, make lemonade from the lemons. The book is 950 pages. The easiest way to use the book is to rebind it into smaller books with spiral binding. For example, I rebound my copy into four shorter books, as shown below. When you rebind the book, simply swap out the indexes.
How can I rebind my copy of the book?
Take the book to an office supply store such as Office Max and have it spiral bound into several shorter books.
For example, Office Max can cut the binding off the book and then rebind it using spiral binding. I recommend breaking the sequel into four or six shorter books. Some people like to make each section into a separate book. Others like to group sections as follows: Sections 1 and 2; Section 3; Section 4; and Sections 5 and 6 to the end (see picture above).
When the book is rebound in this fashion, you can have multiple sections open at the same time. You can also place the book flat on the table and annotate in the margins. It is much more user friendly.
I recommend that you print off several new copies of the index and put one at the end of each of your shorter books. (If you have an erroneous index, just discard those pages and substitute the corrected pages.) That way, you will have a complete index at the end of each shorter book you make.
Download the refreshed index.
Why is the index off?
I faced numerous legal challenges publishing Continuing the Journey to Literacy. It was supposed to come out in February 2020, but the legal problems delayed it by five months. Once the pandemic hit (March 2020), the challenges just seemed to spiral out of control. The person laying out the book faced numerous deaths in his family. My beloved cat died unexpectedly, my husband got appendicitis, and my family had to scramble to find new living arrangements for my parents-in-law. It was a perfect storm. In the midst of all this chaos, I had to make changes to the text.
Come June, everything was resolved except for the table of contents: the page numbers would not line up correctly. In fixing the table of contents, the index went off, but I didn't realize it at the time. I submitted the book to the publisher a full four months late--just weeks before my in-laws moved across country to become my next-door neighbors. I got the review copy a few weeks later, right after they moved in and I was navigating my new role as care giver. I quickly checked the table of contents, saw that it was good, and approved the book. When I came up for air several months later, I found the problem with the index. I was so busy looking at the beginning, I didn't check the end!
My apologies. My in-laws and I thank you for your understanding.
If I have questions or comments, what is the best way to get in touch?
Use the form to submit a question or comment. I will do my best to respond.
Good luck, and happy innovating!
FAQs for The Roadmap to Literacy
Who are the authors?
There are two co-authors for The Roadmap to Literacy: Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl and Janet Langley.
I (Jennifer) brought expertise in literacy, assessment, and remedial issues; Janet brought expertise in Waldorf education. I provided the organization of the book; Janet provided the voice (i.e., the style of the writing). The thesis (why Waldorf literacy was not working --i.e., English is not German--and how to fix it using the phases of literacy) is mine, but Janet brought the impulse to write a book together around the idea. Janet and I both wrote and edited the book: she and I both hold copyright.
Why is there a third name on some copies of Roadmap?
My co-author Janet Langley wanted to acknowledge a person who participated in a study group prior to the writing of The Roadmap to Literacy. I wanted to avoid a fight with my co-author. Putting this person's name on the front cover was a mistake. It gave her legitimacy to speak on behalf of Roadmap as if she were an author. Let me be clear: she is not an author. Her name has since been taken off, at her and my requests.
I see Roadmap in lots of schools. It seems to me that you must have made a fortune.
Not even close. For a variety of reasons, that is not the case. The initial self-publisher went bankrupt, taking most of the royalty money it owed me and Janet with it. It was then necessary to republish the book, which doubled publication costs.
Let's put it into perspective: the best year of book sales netted me the same as a full-time minimum-wage job, and that was several years ago.
If the money is that bad, why do it?
There are several reasons.
First, I have a health challenge that prevents me from holding a regular job: sensitivity to electromagnetic pollution. It would not be entirely wrong to say that I am “allergic” to your cell phone—and your smart watch, iPad, Wi-Fi router, laptop computer, desktop computer, etc. To manage symptoms, I began social isolation in 2016; however, social isolation also reduced my ability to hold a job and make money. I had hoped that writing and publishing a book would allow me to earn money from home.
Second, researching and writing the books gave my life purpose and meaning. Social isolation is hard. I almost never see friends; I had to give up many hobbies and entertainments. The books became my vocation and my avocation. Researching and writing are academically stimulating. I enjoyed meeting new people online. It was amazing, discovering Steiner’s original indications and reconstructing his vision for Waldorf education. I felt like an archeologist, opening a secret room full of treasures and rebuilding valuable objects from the pieces I found.
Third, I loved researching and writing the books. That's why I worked on them seven days a week. I went into the project with skepticism about the curriculum Rudolf Steiner created because all I had seen were the students it had failed, and then I realized that everything that I thought was questionable about the Steiner-Waldorf language arts curriculum comes from people other than Steiner or pertains to the German language, Steiner's language. Ironically, Steiner agrees with almost everything I said in The Roadmap to Literacy. It's current Waldorf practices that are problematic.
I can’t wait to see what Waldorf teachers do with the work. Between the three books, everything is in place for a renewal of literacy in the Waldorf world.
It is possible to be allergic to electro-magnetic pollution?
Yes and no. It is not really an allergic reaction per se—more a sensitivity. That said, many of the symptoms feel like an allergic reaction: itchy/burning skin, facial swelling, stomach swelling, difficulty digesting, brain fog, etc. An allergy may not be a medically accurate description, but it is a useful metaphor.
What do I do if I think I am sensitive to wireless technology too?
A good place to start is to do an Internet search to see if your symptoms could be explained by electromagnetic pollution. A good website is the following: http://www.weepinitiative.org/areyou.html.
Next, find a doctor who is willing to treat the problem. This is easier in some countries than others. A condition called electrohypersensitivity is recognized in some countries but not others.
Note: Do NOT skip this step. It took me about eight years to figure out what was causing my health problems. Since I am in the United States, my doctor refused to treat me for electrohypersensitivity because it is not recognized by the American Medical Association. I gave up trying to treat my condition and figured I would just have to live with it. Six months later I was incapacitated by symptoms, and 18 months later, I began voluntary social isolation to cope. Had I gotten treatment sooner, I could have avoided these outcomes.
In addition, consider changing your relationship to technology. Almost everything can be wired—and your exposure will be much reduced. (Consider: I wrote a 950-page book on an old computer with an ethernet connection to the Internet, despite having moderately severe sensitivity.) Also, turn off the power to your bedroom at night. Your sleep will be much improved if you do. At a bare minimum, never sleep with the Wi-Fi on or near a cell phone. Everyone would benefit from making these simple changes, not just those who are sensitive.
How did you come up with the thesis for Roadmap?
The thesis comes from my academic background and my experience working with Waldorf students. There are three parts:
My academic background is in language and linguistics. I had to study lots of foreign languages—including languages that used a different alphabet (Cyrillic). The take-away lesson for me was that some written languages are much more phonetic than others. Some do not even have a word for to spell because spelling is obvious!
After dropping out of graduate school, I took a job at Lindamood Bell Learning Processes, a private remedial firm that specializes in reading remediation. I taught hundreds of students and trained scores of teachers, but I wanted a more holistic curriculum. That's why I took Waldorf teacher training. However, I was disappointed in the quality of reading instruction: it was based on indications for a foreign language (German). English is not German--we need to go beyond Steiner's indications to teach literacy in English. That is the first part of the thesis.
A second part of the thesis—the phases of literacy, or the Roadmap to Literacy (based on brain development)—came later. I realized that many students would not be ready for phonics right after learning the alphabet because their phonemic awareness would be too underdeveloped to support decoding. That realization became the basis for the phases of literacy, or the Roadmap to Literacy, which is based on the work of Bear et al in Words Their Way and modified based on my experience.
The final part of the thesis--recapitulation of the history of writing and reading--was a speculative thought I followed up on when I got sick and had rather too much time on my hands.
I used these three points of the thesis to craft a way to end the reading wars. When I read Steiner, I saw that he had reached the same conclusion I had: Teachers should not take sides in the reading wars. Instead, all reading methodologies should be included. I developed the idea to its logical conclusion in The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition.
You solved the reading wars in The Roadmap to Literacy. You compiled Steiner's curriculum in Continuing the Journey to Literacy. You restored balance in The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy Edition. What do you plan to do next?
I am in the process of making online, on-demand courses to show people how to use the books. Wish me luck!
If I have questions or comments, what is the best way to get in touch?
Use the form to submit a question or comment. I will do my best to respond.
I hope you will join me in renewing literacy, for the 21st century--and beyond!