Jeanne Chall

Jeanne Chall was a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who founded the Harvard Reading Laboratory in 1967. Her classic study of teaching reading, Learning to Read: The Great Debate, reviewed various tests of reading skills at different grade levels in American schools. Those tests showed that early training in phonics (the relationship between letters and their sounds) improved reading proficiency in later years.

Her finding was not without subsequent controversy. The Great Debate is widely cited as the start of the >Reading Wars, although we now trace the rejection of direct instruction in phonics to the mid-nineteenth century with Horace Mann.