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Reading Reform Foundation (RRF) - Promoting Synthetic Phonics : Page Title

RRF Newsletter 55 back to contents
1955 –2005: 50 Years on from Rudolph Flesch
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rudolph Flesch’s book Why Johnny Can’t Read. The book was a best-seller for nine months after it was published. Flesch pinpointed the lack of good phonics teaching as the overwhelming reason for reading failure. Sadly, his book Why Johnny Still Can't Read, which appeared 16 years later in 1981, was only too justified, but his friend on the board of Harper Row had retired; Harper Row was selling a reading scheme of its own, so they gave minimum support to his second book, and when he looked at his contract, it forbade him advertising it himself! He was very disillusioned about this. He died in October 1986. Were he still alive, he might feel that Johnny’s prospects had improved a little.




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