Nicholas John DeCandia, BSME, CPA, BBA
Author & Founder, Den Publishing Company

Hi there. I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), with two Bachelor's degrees. The first one is a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from the University of Notre Dame (long story: dad was a tech type guy). And, the second Bachelor's degree is more suited to me: Bachelor's in Business Administration (BBA), with concentrations in both Finance & Accounting - from the University of New Mexico.  Hopefully, that explains all the acronyms! :)

*Note: my story is a bit random & a bit complicated, but whose isn't, right?!

Reading program motivation, really started with early struggles - in learning to read.

In early elementary school, I remember a teacher standing over my shoulder - with the question, "why can't you get this (learning to read thing)?"  And, I remember thinking, ~"why can't you break this down for me/why can't you help me with this?" You see, educators in N.J. at that juncture were pushing the "whole language" approach to reading. It wasn't until many years later, that I would run into a retired Certified Reading Specialist from N.J. who explained. When phonics first came out, the publishers didn't put enough pictures in it. Hence, it didn't keep students' interest.  So, it got dropped categorically at least in New Jersey, at that time.  And, in all actuality, it probably became a bit of a taboo direction for publishers. Period.  

Her name, the Certified Reading Specialist, was Wendy G., a friend of a family member - who also retired from teaching in N.J.
In fact, when I first showed Wendy - Den's reading program, her comment was, "The pictures are gorgeous! This is great." I had to step back from that comment, and ask why she commented about the pictures and not the content or organization of the material.  That's when she explained about how phonics got dropped, early on. 
So, honestly, reading was a real struggle for me. Without have the foundational skills of letter-sounds (the sounds the letters make when reading them, like /b/ makes the "buh" sound), I was constantly falling behind over a summer, in my early elementary years.  Of course, as a youngster i had no idea phonics even existed. In fact, when I got to college, my roommate at Notre Dame mentioned "phonics" to me at a pivotal moment, and I remember replying, "What's phonics?" Ha!


Reading struggles in high school continued.  In 10th grade, i was supposed to do a book report on Moby Dick. Well, I could not get through that book. In fact, i never wanted the infamous "Cliff Notes" more that the day before my book report was due. Of course, Cliff Notes were out of the question, and I tried bluffing my way through that book report, only to receive the worst grade, not only I had/have ever received, but was is probably the worst grade in the history of grades, "Failing -" (yeah that's a minus), but she wasn't done with me. She added, "Totally inadequate and incoherent." Omgosh. :)  Yeah, that stuck with me.

So, when does this story take an up-turn? Or are we still having too much fun, "at my expense"?

Senior year, 3rd trimester - we are allowed to do a project of sorts. One guy built a "kit car". He was a shop dude (wood shop, metal shop). This kind of thing. But, i didn't have the resources for any kind of project. So, my only other option was to take little mini-classes offered at school. One of the classes offered was a "Poetry Analyzing" class, given by who else - the same 10th grade teacher, Mrs Anne Shepherd, who tore me apart on the book report!  I didn't understand why i was drawn to this class. English was my least favorite subject, and poetry was even worse! Lol  Let alone, why would I subject myself to her, again?!  But, none the less, I signed up.
Fortunately, the poems were quite short: like a paragraph at most. Ahhh.  AND - we only had to write a one-page analysis. Maybe I could do something here, I thought. So, I decided to apply myself. I used my analytical side (probably from my math abilities) to really analyze what I was seeing in these poems. Heck - it was a chance for me to "critique" them for once.  Then, i just had to put to paper what i was seeing!  OMGOSH - did it work: "Outstanding" on one paper, "Distinguished" on another paper. Now, mind you - these grades meant sooooo much more to me, that I knew she wouldn't pull any punches, having gotten the worst grade ever from her, just 2 years earlier.  I saved those papers, 4 or 5 in all, for years to come. They gave me the courage to attempt to write. Period.  It still does encourage me.  The two things Mrs. Shepherd always emphasized about writing were: (1) be specific, and (2) give examples!

I attended the University of Notre Dame, where I obtained a Mechanical Engineering degree. [Math was my "forte" - remember.]  But, this writing ability served quite well - even in engineering school. For instance,
I remember spending about 3 days writing a paper for the class, "Nuclear Reactor Theory" and received a 94% on that paper.  I needed it - in that class! 

While in High School, I took some independent aptitude tests that recommended Business Finance and Accounting.  I ended up entering that field, first obtaining a Business Degree, with Concentrations in Finance and Accounting - where I became a lifetime member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. Upon graduation I entered the workplace via small business corporate accounting, and worked my way up to a "full-charge" bookkeeping position (and beyond). But, I wanted to put that book ("Full-Charge Bookkeeping") on my shelf. However, when I went to buy it, it wasn't there.  I searched  I searched the Copyright office.  It didn't exist! And, when I thought about it, I realized I knew the subject matter, and already knew that I could write well--when I applied myself.  So, I decided to take a stab at "Full-Charge Bookkeeping".  I spent a (very) significant amount of time writing it. In 2015, by request, we introduced our Certification program for Full Charge Bookkeepers:

"It's good..., right-on and good."
- G.H., CPA and Controller

-many more testimonials-

-Available at AMAZON - Here

After careful consideration, I decided to start a publishing company.  The aptitude tests I had taken actually suggested starting/running a small business, in addition to accounting/finance. So, that works out fairly well.

Meanwhile, my mom was working on a children's book - based on a true story, that happened to her mother. My mom dropped the project, because of issues in getting it published. But, I knew she was disappointed, so I convinced her that we could finish it together. We found a talented, local university art student, via flyers and interviews, to illustrate it.  We signed a contract to purchase her work, and finish the book - we did!  It's based on the spirit of giving.  :-)

In 2004, my daughter entered Kindergarten, and wanted to learn to read.  So, I went to, and bought a couple of books (to remain unnamed).  I was surprised at how hard they were making it.  So, I asked a friend of mine how she had taught her son how to read.  He was reading at a second grade level in preschool. She said with three-letter words.  At that point, it dawned on me (glory to the Lord) -- if they knew 3 letter-sounds, they could read a 3-letter word.  And, if I put that word on a page with some graphic art, they could read a page. It worked amazingly well. My daughter went from just knowing the alphabet to reading short-vowel books in a semester.

"It's great!"
-C.C., Parent of elementary school students. 

"Andrew is having a ball. He takes it to bed with him."
-J.H., Grandparent of a 4 and 1/2 year old.
-many more testimonials-

-All "DeCandia" books, available at AMAZON - Here

The first and second editions are titled My Child's First Reading Book (because it was my child's first reading book).
The 3rd Edition is titled Students' First Reading
The 4th (and most recent) Edition is titled The Phonics Reading
In 2014, we brought it back to include the alphabet, with Alphabet to Phonics:

Nicholas John DeCandia, BSME, CPA, BBA
Author & Founder, Den Publishing Company

Contact Me - Here

Nick's blog at:


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