Rudolf Flesch

Rudolf Flesch was an Austrian-born naturalized American writer whose 1955 book Why Johnny Can't Read caused an uproar in American education by charging that the "look-say" or <word method was failing to teach reading to children.

Flesch knew that English has complicated pronunciation rules based on the multiple European languages that have contributed to its vocabulary. His native German in Austria was much more regular. Flesch had read Leonard Bloomfield's great linguistic book Language, with its advice to teach first the consonants with hard sounds and the short vowels.