We are on a journey to ensure that all students love to read and write. It's a bold mission. The Phonemic Advantage Learning System™
equips every teacher with the vital resources for success.
Students learn to read as naturally and easily as learning to speak.
Plus, the Harbor Friends™ become your students’ new best friends, priming their heart for loving reading.
President's Profile: Beverly N. Terpstra
Beverly’s story is fascinating. To give you a quick glimpse, Beverly spent her early childhood in East Africa where she was continuously exposed to languages other than English. Of those who spoke English─fewer than 15 people on a regular basis─a British accent added a delightful twist. Living in the southern highlands of
Ethiopia, where black-maned lions and spotted hyenas prowled near her bedroom window, Beverly became keenly aware of the uniqueness of life and language from an early age.
Upon coming to the United States and the sudden introduction to a very modern society, Beverly was woefully unprepared for 1st grade and learning to read. Being socially and linguistically behind, Beverly had to figure out how to communicate and fit in with a group of children she was unaccustomed to. Even simple tasks like the teacher's request to “line up” after recess seemed very quizzical.
In addition, Language Arts was not her forte. Like many science-minded students today, Beverly struggled with some aspects of language. Reading, spelling, and writing beset any progress she hoped for. The widely used whole language approach conflicted with her learning style of needing a system where the 44 sounds and 26 letters fit together. She wanted to know "why letters stand together to form words."
Though English instruction felt daunting to her, Beverly excelled in science. Desiring to go into the medical profession, she took a year off from college to work with an international medical team in Somalia. During her time in this war-torn, famine-ridden country, observing the necessary skills for communicating cross-culturally captured Beverly’s attention.
Living in close proximity to the militia’s firefights, the food supply lines via Kenya were easily cut off. And the Somali warlords withheld much of the international aid at Mogadishu. It was in this challenging context, where basic day-to-day operations required resourceful interaction, that Beverly discovered the valuable gift of language and her empathy for anyone who struggles with it.
To this end, she obtained a Master of Arts from Azusa Pacific University, completing her study with a graduate certificate from the Stanford Institute for Cross-Cultural Communication. In the years following, Mrs. Terpstra consulted with corporations and non-profit organizations regarding communicating with people from other countries and cultures, including programs in Canada, Japan, and South Africa.
Building Alphabet Harbor™ highlights the president's passion for all children: that they enjoy the process of reading and find the gift of language. In Alphabet Harbor™, Beverly ensures a grand scheme that ignites the thinking styles of science-minded, artistic and literary gifted children.
Two Inventors: Susan Mortimer and Beverly Terpstra
A Christmas party. It was on such an occasion that Susan and Beverly met and where Susan mentioned her research of the English sounds (called phonemes). With Beverly’s curiosity piqued, Susan began to describe how ancient Hebrew filtered through as a means for understanding the alphabetic code. As unique as Beverly’s story, so is Susan’s ─ a third culture kid who grew up with exposure to ancient languages, Hebrew and Sanskrit.
As Beverly and Susan explored the research together discovering how the alphabet works, they soon began to envision a Language Arts curriculum that benefits all students. For 10 years Beverly devoted a room in her home to the phonemes of 18,000 root words. With charts lining the walls, multiple dictionaries open and countless sticky notes, they discovered a system to this language so many describe as “systemless,” “inconsistent,” and “too complex.”
Obtaining a patent on this innovative teaching system, Phonemic Advantage Learning System™ identifies comprehensive patterns sequenced from the most simple to the most complex. The beauty of the program is that everything the students learn with one Smart Pattern™ builds on the next. This relational building-block format gives all students the tools to master English quickly and effectively. Truly a coherent curriculum, Alphabet Harbor™ requires very little rote memorization (the boring stuff of learning).
More importantly for even the youngest learner, Alphabet Harbor™ encourages the love of learning and fosters a heart for reading. The Harbor Friends™ characters exhibit the personality of each letter as they stand together to create words. This exclusive, patented component of Alphabet Harbor™ prepares every child to read with amazing confidence.