Hooked On Phonics 1957

J. Harris

How the parochial/private schools made better readers faster.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3OumiN_0Y34NN2O00 Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Peak and decline of parochial schools

For more than two generations, enrollment climbed steadily. By the mid-1960s, enrollment in Catholic parochial schools had reached an all-time high of 4.5 million elementary school pupils, with about 1 million students in Catholic high schools.[17]

A major transition took place in the 1970s as most of the teaching nuns left their orders. Many schools closed, others replaced the nuns with much better paid lay teachers and started charging higher tuition. Source: Wikipedia.org

Private schools are funded from resources outside of the government, which typically comes from a combination of student tuition, donations, fundraising, and endowments. Private school enrollment makes up about 10 percent of all K-12 enrollment in the U.S (about 4 million students),while public school enrollment encompasses 56.4 million students.

Because private schools are funded outside of government channels, they often exercise more freedom in how they operate their schools. Many private schools choose to teach material outside of the state-mandated curriculum. They are also allowed to have religious affiliations and selection criteria for which students they accept.

Differences in private vs public education

Differences in private vs public education can have effects on the future achievement of children. Several studies point out the fact that students who attend private schools are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college afterward. There have been studies that point to the fact that areas where a homogeneous public education system is present have higher amounts of inter-generational social mobility. In comparison, private education systems can lead to higher inequality and less mobility. The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth has also pointed to the fact that students who attend private schools tend to earn more in their careers than compared to their public school counterparts. Source: https://en.wikipedia.orgwikiEducational_inequality_in_the_United_States#Private_vs._public_education

My early education

I’m giving you all this information to make the point that I went to a private/parochial school in my elementary school days and I learned to read with “Hooked on Phonics” back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

As I was researching this subject there was very little data about this. Actually, there was no data showing this product was used in my school. But I remember using it. I was happy when they pulled out the box full of surprises to learn that day. It also helped me to be a better speller and wordsmith. I keep hearing the words, “sound it out” which still helps me to this day.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1UUWys_0Y34NN2O00 photo mercyhurst.edu

Sisters Of Mercy

It seems to me they look a little scary in their habits even to me today.

I found that private/parochial schools can basically teach the way they want to teach. Most of the schools teachers were nuns as well. Mine were from the order of “Sisters of Mercy.”

Sisters of Mercy, (R.S.M.), Roman Catholic religious congregation founded in Dublin in 1831 by Catherine Elizabeth McAuley. By 1822 she had developed a program for instructing and training poor girls, distributing food and clothing to the needy, and performing other works of mercy. Source: Google

Private Schools

Since they are not under state supervision, private schools can offer a curriculum that suits their focus. If you have a child that wants to study the arts, theater, music, or other such subjects a private school will be a better fit. Due to ever-changing budgets and mandated testing, public schools are more focused on the core classes, often at the expense of more peripheral subjects.


James Coleman’s famous 1982 study comparing public and Catholic school test scores relied upon 17 control variables that represented family characteristics. His results showed that Catholic school students scored higher than public school students on standardized tests.



You may be surprised to hear that, from an educational perspective, research shows that a strong foundation in phonics actually helps children learn to spell. Despite all of the irregular spellings in the language, which children will have to learn, instruction in letter-sound correspondence (phonemic awareness) and learning the basic phonetic rules help children learn to be better spellers. Source:

Does Phonics Make Kids Bad Spellers?

Stop me if you've heard this one. A mother was reading to her child from a zoo book before his nap. As they were…


I hope writing and remembering this helps someone use this product. I am not promoting this product since it has been a long time since I used it and I am pretty sure the contents have changed a bit, but may be it will make a difference in someone’s early educational life.

Jo Ann Harris is an author, parent, book devotee, writer, copywriter, and film fanatic. She is an autodidact who learns about everything and rows her own boat. She grew up and worked in Atlanta, Georgia and lived there sixty years. She writes articles about love, hope, personal life stories, advice and poems. She is a published author with an article in Woman’s World magazine in October, 2017.

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I usually write about a lot of subject matter from my own personal life to animal behavior. Everything in between. I have been writing for over two years but have always been a writer and avid reader. I lived in Atlanta, GA for sixty years then moved to South Florida and it was a huge change for me. I write truth as I see it in hopes it will help others.

Plantation, FL

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