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Why Johnny Can't Read

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Why Johnny Can't Read
AuthorRudolf Flesch
SubjectLiteracy, American education
PublisherHarper and Brothers
Publication date

Why Johnny Can't Read—And What You Can Do About It is a 1955 book-length exposé of American reading education by Rudolf Flesch. It was an immediate bestseller for 37 weeks and became an educational cause célèbre.[1] In the book, the author concluded that the "(look-say)" method (memorization of whole words by sight) was ineffective because it lacked proper phonics training. Additionally, Flesch was critical of the simple stories and limited text and vocabulary of the Dick and Jane style readers that taught students to read by memorization of words.[2] Flesch also believed that the look-say method did not properly prepare students to read more complex materials in later grade levels.[3][4]

See also



  1. ^ Hall 1956, pp. 310–311.
  2. ^ "The Victims of Dick and Jane". September 2002.
  3. ^ "Reading with and Without Dick and Jane: The Politics of Literacy in c20 America".
  4. ^ "Why Johnny Still Can't Read -- and What to do About It". Forbes. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018.



Further reading