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 transition to the sequel Continuing the Journey to Literacy (Militzer-Kopperl 2020).
- To finish The Roadmap to Literacy. The book was not completed when it was published--and that has created problems.
- 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.)
What makes The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition an improvement over the original?
- Fix the #1 Thing Teachers are Doing Wrong: You will learn several ways to fix the #1 thing teachers are doing wrong when they use Roadmap so that Waldorf education meets all students where they are at academically.
- Discover a New Aspect of Language Arts: 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.
- Use Environmental Education to Unlock the Subject Curriculum Grades 4-8: You will learn to use environmental education (Home Surroundings) to introduce all the new subjects in grades 4–6 (except for physics), just as Steiner intended.
- Try New Assessment Tools: 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.
- Discover Steiner's Indications: You will have all-new research on 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.
- End the Reading Wars: You will learn how to end the reading wars by using four different reading methodologies: Whole Language, Phonics, Look-Say, and the Spelling Method.
What is the number one thing teachers are doing wrong when they use Roadmap?
Some teachers are attempting to teach a set Roadmap curriculum by grade, which means that every student in the same grade receives the same instruction and practice. Doing so turns The Roadmap to Literacy on its head.
The point of Roadmap is meeting all students where they are at by using the phases of learning to read and spell (i.e., the roadmap to literacy) so teachers can get up to 95% of students reading and spelling at grade level by the end of third grade.
Teachers need to realize that it is natural for students in first grade, second grade, and third grade to be in different phases because learning to read is not a natural part of child development.
Those who teach a set curriculum by grade are not teaching Roadmap but a knock-off curriculum that I euphemistically call Roadcrap. Click here to see if you can separate the Roadmap from the Roadcrap.
What is the point of knowing the phases of learning to read and spell if teachers are going to disregard the phases of the students in front of them and teach a set curriculum by grade?
Why did you write: The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition without your co-author Janet Langley?
Janet Langley declined to join me.
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 and selling Roadmap to Literacy workshops with a third party: "How is this legal?"
I tried to get Ms. Langley to use change course for several years, without success (pun intended). She refused to pay me for use of our joint intellectual property. She refused to show me what she and her partner are doing in the name of my book. (So much for consensus.)
After years of legal back-and-forth, my lawyer advised me to adopt Janet Langley's position in order to resolve the legal disagreement and create an avenue for me to pursue my interests. That gives Ms. Langley the right to make courses without my consent and me the right to make a new edition without her consent. It also gave me the right to make online courses.
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 enjoy more success with Roadmap, and it will prepare them 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 want to see up to 95% of Waldorf students reading and spelling at grade level by the end of third grade--and enjoying success with an academically rigorous language arts curriculum in grades 4-8.
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.
Social renewal through a renewal of education, and a renewal of education through a renewal of literacy.
How can I help?
If you like the The Roadmap to Literacy: Renewal of Literacy® Edition, please give it a good Amazon review--and please recommend it to those who could benefit from it. Also, check out my support courses.
Thank you for all your support!
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 a good way to teach those skills and capacities--provided teachers match instruction to their students' phase(s) of learning to read and spell!
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--and it is the opposite of Steiner's intent.
Teachers who need additional help setting up block plans can contact me for mentoring.
The index in my copy of 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 the first 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 spiraled 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.
Good luck, and happy innovating!
FAQs for The Roadmap to Literacy
Who are the authors?
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 learning to read and spell) 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 Patti Connolly's name on some copies of Roadmap?
My co-author Janet Langley wanted to acknowledge Patti Connolly for participating in a study group prior to the writing of The Roadmap to Literacy.
Putting Patti Connolly's name on the front cover was a mistake. It confused people into thinking there were three co-authors--including the second publisher (Mill City Press). It gave Patti Connolly a false veneer of legitimacy to speak on behalf of Roadmap.
In 2021 Patti Connolly's name was taken off the cover of The Roadmap to Literacy, at her request and mine.
It sounds like there was a fall out. What happened?
Your guess is as good as mine. Post publication of The Roadmap to Literacy, Janet Langley reneged on the agreements she and I had made in order to do unauthorized workshops for and/or based on The Roadmap to Literacy with Patti Connolly. Ms. Langley refused to follow the sign-off process that she and I had agreed to use. I could not afford to protect The Roadmap to Literacy and complete Continuing the Journey to Literacy on my own. I had to make a Sophie's Choice with my book children.
Consequently, Janet Langley and Patti Connolly's workshops are the source of the #1 thing teachers are doing wrong when they use The Roadmap to Literacy--and a lot of other practices that undermine its efficacy.
For the truth about Patti Connolly's involvement with The Roadmap to Literacy, click here to read the official information on file with the Copyright Office.
What are these questionable practices that undermine The Roadmap to Literacy?
I refer to these practices as roadcrap: practices that violate The Roadmap to Literacy and undermine its efficacy. I made a quiz to help teachers learn to identify these practices. Click here to take the quiz.
Please help me fight for the integrity of The Roadmap to Literacy. If you or your school choose to adopt roadcrap, kindly do not claim that you are using Roadmap. Doing so undermines the integrity of the book and undermines its financial value.
I see Roadmap in lots of schools. It seems to me that you must have made a fortune.
If the money is so bad, why write the books?
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 curtailed my ability to work. I had hoped that writing and publishing books would allow me to earn a living from home. (I was wrong.)
Second, researching and writing the books gave my life purpose and meaning during some very dark times. Social isolation is hard, but I loved researching and writing The Roadmap to Literacy Books. (That's why I continued, even though royalty money was disappointing.)
Third, I want to help students and the teachers who are struggling. Doing so would redeem my own struggles--and the struggles of the hundreds of Waldorf students I have worked with. (This fact has given me the strength to persevere.)
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 (e.g., itchy/burning skin, swelling, headache, 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 diagnose and treat the problem. (This is easier outside the US and the UK.)
In addition, consider changing your relationship to technology. Almost everything can be wired—and your exposure will be much reduced. At a bare minimum, turn it off--and keep it far away, especially when you are asleep.
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 to the thesis:
First, English is not German. 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; consequently, we need to go beyond Steiner's indications to teach literacy in English.
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 learning to read and spell, or the Roadmap to Literacy. It is based on the work of Bear et al in Words Their Way and modified based on my experience and the experience of my students.
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 studied 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.
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 and check them out!
If I have questions or comments, what is the best way to get in touch?
Go to this form to submit a question or comment.
I hope you will join me in renewing literacy, for the 21st century--and beyond.