On Phonics


In the 1700's and early 1800's, reading was often taught with Webster's Blue Backed Speller. After working through the Speller, learning to sound out and spell words syllable by syllable, children were able to read well enough to read from the King James Version of the Bible, and often used the Psalms as early reading texts. The focus on syllables and spelling resulted in high reading grade level scores at a very young age.

3rd Grade Student, North Little Rock, AR

Phonics Basics
This page is a quick overview of phonics.

Who Needs Phonics
Literacy Statistics for American adults and children, how to tell if you need phonics.

Phonics is scientifically proven. A little bit of why here, and a link to more information at the NRRF.

Shows how easy phonics is to teach and learn. Link to online phonics lessons for young children, link to the online phonics lessons for adults and older children.

How phonics can improve your reading abilities and how reading can improve your life.

A graph and a table showing the powerful economic advantages of reading well. Literacy is more highly correlated with earnings than IQ. It also contains a link to a page showing the percentage of American adults at each literacy level (also

History of Reading Instruction
A history of reading instruction, how whole language got started, phonics landmarks, and a timeline showing significant events in the battle between whole language and phonetic reading methods.

Concentration Game
This is a phonics game developed to help reinforce the basic skills learned in 40L's phonics lessons. They are helpful for both new and remedial students.

Marked Prints: Leigh Print and UPP
Marked prints aid in phonetic pronunciation of English. Leigh Print was a self-pronouncing print successfully used as an Initial Teaching Alphabet (ITA) in the late 1800's. It allowed students to learn to read much faster than conventional reading methods. UPP is a diacritically marked self-pronouncing print developed to help remedialstudents.

Webster's Way
Explains how Webster taught reading and spelling with his "Blue Backed Speller", and why 40L believes this is the best way to teach anyone to read--beginner or adult. If you are reading below college level, you could benefit from learning to read and spell Webster's Way.