Margaret McEathron

Margaret McEathron was one of the first elementary school teachers to be appalled by the failure of whole-word or look-say methods to teach children to read.

In 1947, a decade and a half before Monica Foltzer (Professor Phonics Gives Sound Advice) and Sister Mary Caroline (Breaking the Sound Barrier), McEathron wrote a self-published pamphlet Teaching Phonics in the Home and in the Classroom. And in 1952, Kenworthy Educational Materials published her book Your Child Can Learn to Read - A Simplified Course in Phonics: A Guide to Teachers and Parents. This was just three years before Rudolf Flesch's blockbuster Why Johnny Can't Read, And What You Can Do About It.

It seems possible that Flesch might have been familiar with McEathron's pamphlet where she too discussed Johnny's reading difficulties five years earlier. Here are her first two sentences...

Johnny went home from school with a note yesterday. It says he's going to fail.
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