An Interview with J. Brooks Stephens: Workbook: Learning my Numbers

Sep 26, 2020 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) First of all, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself, your education and experience?

I have a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from Eastern New Mexico University, emphasis Personnel and HR; a Masters of Arts in Organizational Development Psychology, from ENMU; and am ABD (all but dissertation) toward PHD in Organizational Development Psychology from Capella University; Secondary Level Teaching certification through Santa Fe College, emphasis Business Administration and Psychology. 

I taught HS Business classes for five years; Organizational Development Psychologist 12 1/2 years for State of New Mexico; Owner/Manager/Job Placement Consultant of two Private Job Placement Agencies, 12 Years.  At present, private instructor of six students, ages 4.5 to 8 years of age, pre-school through grade 3. 

2) “Learning My Numbers” seems to be a sort of workbook for, well, children to learn their numbers. What age range would you use this workbook with?

I have found that even older students are unable to count or to comprehend simple mathematical calculations. We are using this workbook pre-school through fifth grade at present, teaching both writing and spelling of numbers.  It has significantly improved older students skill sets and test scores, and is assisting younger students to write and conceptualize numbers and thereby simple equations.  Four year old’s are just learning to write the alphabet so are not being required to spell out the numbers in this workbook. 

3) I often hear kindergarten teachers and even first grade teachers bemoan the fact that many students arrive at school not knowing very basic information- such as their numbers. At what point should a teacher be concerned?

Isn’t that what kindergarten and first grade are for?  It has taken seven classes to teach six students from five age groups and five grades one half the book; kindergarten and beyond are spelling the numbers out.

4) Would a teacher use this in the classroom- or could it be sent home to parents to assist their son/daughter?

As a Workbook, this can be used at home or in the classroom.  I find it helps to write the numbers much larger once or twice on the side of the page or on the dry-erase so younger students can study or even trace them with a crayon once or twice before attempting to write the numbers alone. 

5) Right now, we are dealing with COVID-19 and many students are learning from home. How would this workbook help?

The teacher will write the number on the screen, have their students turn to that number in the book and write and spell out the numbers multiple times.  

I understand this is rote, however many students can point out a number on a screen (or have their older siblings point them out for them), but do not have the dexterity to write the number for themselves.  I found this to be the case this past week with two fifth graders.

6) What have I neglected to ask?

I wrote and published this a few weeks back to assist my own pre-school great-granddaughter, was asked to teach our ministers kindergarten and first grade sons whom were having problems learning on-line, and then answered the appeal of additional parents with older children needing remedial teaching.  

This workbook is clear, concise, affords practice and aids in understanding.  One workbook is required per learner.

7) How could parents and teachers get a copy of this workbook?

WORKBOOK: LEARNING MY NUMBERS by J. Brooks Stephens is low priced and can be purchased online through

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