Teaching Reading Again: The Struggle

by Jon Rappoport

August 18, 2022

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Time Magazine reports there is an internal struggle among teachers and school systems across America—in an attempt to turn back the clock and teach the basics of reading to first and second grade students.

It seems that phonics was dropped by the side of the road years ago, because many teachers didn’t have the patience for it. They wouldn’t go through the laborious step by step process of imparting the basic sounds of letters and letter combinations to young minds.

And trying to read without learning those sounds is a complete failure for all but a relatively few students.

But now, phonics is on the way back in some school districts. I guess it’s too embarrassing to show parents reading-test scores that come in lower than sea-bottom.

I recall learning phonics day after day in the first and second grade, in 1943 and 1944.

Memo to school boards buying text books these days: We had no text books.

The teacher taught phonics using the blackboard.

When we’d progressed far enough, we read, bit by bit, from Dick and Jane books. And those books weren’t new. They were handed down from class to class every year.

My earliest memory of reading instruction (first grade): Each student had a little box containing small squares of cardboard. On each square was a letter. The teacher printed a simple sentence on the blackboard. We dug into our boxes, pulled out the squares, and laid out that sentence on our desks.

Those were the primitive conditions of yesteryear.

They were more than adequate. The TEACHERS were the key.

As we moved up from grade to grade, there was the excitement of knowing we could go to the school library, find books, check them out, and read them. We knew how to read.

When I was 11, I was on a baseball team playing in a tournament in Niagara Falls. Just before climbing on the bus for the long ride back to New York, I ran into a store, spotted a book rack, and grabbed a paperback.

It was Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.

Reading it on the way home, I thought about becoming a writer for the first time.

I still remember my first grade teacher, Miss Hampe. She was patient, disciplined, and kind. No student ever considered getting around her and avoiding schoolwork.

The child geniuses who inhabit classrooms these days can call us prisoners. But we did eventually throw off our chains.

When we were ready. When we had learned enough.

And no moron or monster ever asked us, “Have you thought about what gender you are?”

(Episode 19 of Rappoport Podcasts — “The FBI Mar-a-Lago raid, and much more; Three mind-boggling events this past week; Number 3 is virtually unknown, and it’s a massive crusher—FOR us, not against us” — is now posted on my substack. It’s a blockbuster. To listen, click here. To learn more about This Episode of Rappoport Podcasts, click here.)

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Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

31 comments on “Teaching Reading Again: The Struggle

  1. Rob says:

    Well said Jon. Those were the days.

    • JohnnyUinta says:

      I didn’t know you were an ‘Oldie But Goodie” Jon….I never looked into your history.

      I started 1st grade in 1947 in Flint, Michigan and was taught phonics similar to you. My wife was in education her entire working career and a teacher and later as an administrator. I well remember her dismay when they did away with phonics and instituted ‘Sight Reading.’ For our own kids , some were taught ‘sight reading’ with her teaching them phonics at home.

      I have a connection to Niagara Falls also, my youngest son grsduated from NU.

      Be Well. Thanks for what you do……still.

  2. Paul says:


    What A WonderLand Story
    You Are !

    And Thank God For Mr. RAY,
    Stimulating A Shining Day.

    Don’t cha just miss those hard as stone shale blackboards !

    I could even tolerate a linear scratch or squirrelly squeak or two, ‘ere the day was thru.


  3. NikkiBop says:

    I love this! I remember the same excitement of learning to read and finding new books on the classroom shelves or going to the library! Brighty of The Grand Canyon was the first “real” book I ever read. Wonderful memories. Thank you.

  4. Paul says:

    (Ignore the laugh in track)

    Construct easy to assemble, inexpensive, home usable, cones for talkin’.

    WE’LL MAKE A KIL***’

    Gary Owens hand to ear:
    “This has brought to your by
    A RamHead & Cistern

    Gary isn’t related to PK Ted.
    No matter.


  5. Sean says:

    I hated books that just had words. I am ashamed to say that in the 6th grade I had the record on the most books ever read in our school. But I didnt read a single one of them. You just had to do a live book review with the teacher. I simply read the back of the books and told him all about it. He must not had been to smart. Im not a very good liar.

    Though in the 4th, I was the smartest in math except for one sixth grader girl.

    Now no patience for math and never enough time to read all of things I would like to. Reading takes me away sometimes.

  6. BoogeymanSlayer says:

    My first grade teacher was awesome. She also taught by using the chalkboard. I learned how to spell and pronounce words correctly. I remember that in second grade we had to take some kind of state or national test and I got every answer correct—the only one in my class to do so. I give credit to my first grade teacher for her expertise in teaching.

  7. Roundball Shaman says:

    “Teaching Reading Again: The Struggle… there is an internal struggle among teachers and school systems across America—in an attempt to turn back the clock and teach the basics of reading to first and second grade students.”

    Actually educating students. What a novel concept.

    And how about a few other ‘basics’ coming back? Civics? Remember those?

    How about math? WITHOUT using a hand-held device to get the answer.

    Geography. So kids can learn about where the country is on our Globe that The Indispensable Nation will invade next.

    Shop Class. Where kids actually use their hands for something other than holding the magic little box of dancing pixels and They actually MAKE SOMETHING USEFUL. Not a new short video or anti-social media meme but something tangible that has a use. But more important than that… teaching and instilling in kids the idea that They can be creative with their hands and with their minds and make REAL THINGS.

    Home Econ. Where kids learn not to buy some toxic ‘food’ product off the shelf loaded with fat and sodium and sugar but how They can make something good to eat FROM SCRATCH and with their own hands.

    Wow. Real education. What a concept.

    Of course, underlying all of this is the basic question of do we want an educated Citizenry or not. Sane people and parents who actually care about their kids would say Yes. Predatory Globalists are saying HELL NO… ‘In fact, We don’t even want your sorry carcass on OUR Earth at all!..’

    Two very different versions of The Future. Or, said another way, the Path to Heaven or the Highway to Hell.

    And we are pushing our kids into the center of the Poker Pot and betting their future on who holds the better hand of cards. The Sane… or the Predators.

  8. William R Hall Jr says:

    Reading and writing should be the only purpose of schools.

    After a student has shown that they are able to read and write at a designated level attendance would no longer be required.

    That would give kids an incentive to finish their school-prison sentence by the end of the first grade.

    Since Americans born after 1989 are vaccine injured to one degree or another some will make it to the twelfth grade and further until that problem is fixed.

  9. Peter Harter says:

    I thought we stopped teaching phonics because it’s racist against Phoenicians. It’s cultural appropriation. The Phoenicians are named after the Phoenix, who they worshipped. The Phoenix, according to John Toland, gave to humanity the four original written languages: Hebrew, Ogum (the ancient Irish language that is today spoken as Welsh), Arabic, and Summerian. This is from Toland’s Celtic Antiquities.

  10. Raven says:

    I have no children (or grandchildren, surprise, surprise) so I had no clue they stopped teaching phonics in school. How does a child learn to read without phonics? Do they also teach math without knowing what “7” means?

    Thanks for waking me up, Jon. This is shocking news to this old out-of-touch person but it sure explains a lot.

    Run Spot, run!

  11. Lisa Sarenduc says:

    Books were my salvation throughout childhood. At 10 I discovered in the midst of my chaotic booze and anger-filled household that if I stayed up after my parents went to bed, the house was quiet and I could breathe. So I read in bed every night until 2 or 3 a.m. and struggled to stay awake in class each day, worth it absolutely, maintaining this nightly ritual for the rest of my school career and decades beyond, always a joy.

    From the start I was unable to go past a sentence or a paragraph until I completely understood the words and meanings, and each character’s feelings and experience! Reading was laborious, needless to say, no speed-reading possible though I tried, and this inner mandate remains intact today. What is the point of reading if I don’t understand it, I would say to myself.

    Those countless nights spent in the quiet with wondrous stories by Dickens, the Bronte sisters and many others granted me vital respite from the relentless fear of those days and transported me to unknown worlds.

  12. Jo Johnson says:

    Hi Jon,

    A few years ago, my daughter taught her children to read at home, using Mona McNee’s “Step by Step” method. Well worth checking out for anyone interested in giving their children or grandchildren the priceless gift of literacy.


    Best wishes,


  13. A Reader emailed me the following comment:


    Did you read The Boxcar Children?

    It’s outlawed now.


    [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boxcar_Children ]

    • Jim S. Smith says:


      Outlawed? ? ?

      And YET,

      WikiPedia treats it like the “series” is still in publication.

      There again,

      I generally do not trust very much of what is published on “WikiPedia”, being that there is a lot of disinformation published on it, and the fact that more factual posts either get deleted or “edited” to the point of irrelevance!

  14. A Reader emailed me the following comment:


    Every word rings true for my childhood too, And recess twice daily and walking home for lunch recharged our lithe and lanky bodies

  15. Jim S. Smith says:


    When the so-called “experts in education” decided that there was no such thing as English Grammar, and any calls to continue supporting it were called off as “muh white supremacy“, that further spelled doom for the future generations’ ability to speak and write properly and legibly.

    Even now,

    HOW many “news” articles, essays, and various other published “professional” writings are laden with spelling errors, poor word choice and usage, misapplied prepositions, and (especially now – with “gender-dysphoric” politics being injected into “public education”) – the improper usage of “pronouns” and mismatches of pronouns to the applied “objects” of the statements – has rendered null and MOOT – any realizations of clear, effective communication!

    After all,

    An intelligent, and very knowledgeable public is a very hard to rule over public.

    Clear, effective communication between and among the masses is what every tyrant wants to eliminate!

  16. Jim S. Smith says:

    The old Dr, Seuss books were always fun to read.

    In the UK,

    They had the “Beano” books.

    “The Adventures of Tin-Tin” were geared more towards the more advanced readers. However, “Tin-Tin” have been practically banned worldwide, supposedly because they were “pro-NAZI” – which of course, is just more book-burning BS!

  17. Jim S. Smith says:

    Life-long bookworm, BTW.

    And I did NOT waste my time on soppy, drivel novels either!

    I LOVE science books and magazines.

    I also used to lose myself in my Dad’s stack of National Geographics back in the day. He also had a complete 1947 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Talk about hours of serious reading!

  18. A Reader emailed me the following comment:


    Thank you, Jon.

    I was born in [the late 1930s]…presumably learned to read as you did and it has always served me well.

  19. A Reader emailed me the following comment:


    THANK YOU!! I had a similar experience learning to read in the ’50’s. I’m so grateful for it! I have a lot to say about this subject, and I suspect it wasn’t just lazy teachers who dispensed with teaching phonics. They normally do what they’re told to do by the Board of Education powers that be, who are dictated to by ill-meaning HIGHER powers with big money and blackmail tactics!

    I just discovered you recently, Jon, and I’m blown away by all you know! Your whole thing on the evils of psychiatry and Big Pharma is SPOT ON! You must know about CCHR.com and CCHRInt.com. If you don’t, check them out, because they have ALL the data!

    Glad to have found you!

  20. A Reader emailed me the following comment:


    The idea of the box with letters to make sense for kids today !
    They are so stuck with the dangerous electronics in schools, that having a REAL box, with REAL letters, they can move, and be in control of, should be a real treat.

    I have taught 3-5 year olds in Europe, and at that young age it is SO important to have the feel of concrete objects, concrete grasp of life around us.

    My 2nd grader nephew beat my professional ski instructor husband in the Wee game, skiing mocking it up on screen. But when he went to ski on REAL ski hill at Mamoth he reported that his skill was worthless. He skied “Head butt, I fell a lot…” That electronic skill did not transfer to skill in real 3-D world.

    So your box with letters, and real physical blackboard would be marvelous !

  21. A Reader emailed me the following comment:


    Dearest Jon,

    A topic so close to my heart. I taught my nursery school for 45 years and I actually had Dick and Jane books from the American School in New Delhi (They were discarding them).

    After that I had various other reading books (remember they were called “primers” – but none worked as well as the Dick and Jane series.

    About 5 years back I taught my cook’s sons who did not even speak English from those books. I even have an old copy of a most unusual early reading book – “All up and down Gay Street were little white houses and Gay street ran down to the sea. Down by the sea lived old captain Mac…”

    The person who wrote that book was a genius. And I have always believed that you don’t need expensive equipment, however, having said that, I almost weep to think of all the millions of dollars that Bill Gates has theoretically spent on India — and those dollars could have had 90 percent of Indians literate by now.

    I know it could be done with some modern equipment and the right attitude.

    Keep going, keep going, Jon

  22. Paul says:

    THAT IS.


    “Things did not begin to go bad with that first, and most horrific explosion.”

    ~ clif, way-way too high


    The purported Dolly The Sheep was presented Scientifically & bolstered Medi-ally, as a “clean 1-2-3 shot, as easy as sweet pie.

    Buuttt…in actuality, & hidden in laboratory reality, many grotesque manifestations, were birthed initially.

    Ya never can tell, who’s who.


    • Jim S. Smith says:

      Surprised YouTube is still allowing this channel!

      Perhaps the “ministry of truth” hasn’t gone that far just yet?

  23. Bob S. says:

    Tops, Jon. And thousands of years of history and 40 years of the modern homeschool movement are proof positive that we don’t need state-licensed teachers and hundreds/thousands of dollars of my neighbor’s tax dollars to teach reading. High-school dropout homeschool moms with flashcards or a $19 book or phonics kit are teaching reading to a millions of children who love to read and out-do their state-school peers in terms of reading and thinking skills and the joy of reading and flying into space on wings of imagination.

  24. Rebecca says:

    I am a first grade teacher at a small Christian school and I still teach phonics. It is my favorite part of teaching first grade. By the end of the year every student in my class is reading and more importantly they are excited about reading!

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