A Little History

How I got Interested in Blend Phonics.

Back in 1999, I read the following stirring recommendation for Hazel Loring’s 1980 Reading_Made_Easy_With_Blend_Phonics for First Grade by Mr. Robert W. Sweet, Jr. Cofounder and President of The National Right to Read Foundation in his 1996 article, “The Century of Miseducation of American Teachers.”

An effective answer to illiteracy … Let me offer a less costly, and more effective answer. I have here a twenty-five page booklet called Blend Phonics by Hazel Loring, a master teacher born in 1902, who taught under both the “whole word” and phonics systems. The legacy she has left us is powerful. Within the pages of this little booklet is the cure of illiteracy as we begin the twenty-first century. … If every preservice reading teacher, every reading supervisor, every kindergarten, first- and second-grade teacher in America had the information contained in Hazel Loring’s 25-page booklet, and taught it this fall, there would be such a dramatic decrease in illiteracy in this country that the national media would be forced to take note.”

That last sentence struck me with great force. I thought, “What if Mr. Sweet was correct? Why on earth are we having so many children with reading problems when an inexpensive method that can solve the problem is available in a mere 25 page, free pamphlet.” I immediately ordered a copy from the Interlibrary Loan. Later in 2003, I republished it as a free pdf document on my website, www.donpotter.net.

At that time I had not used the method. Time passed. I continued to use various excellent commercial phonics methods with good results, but Bob’s bold statement gnawed away at my conscience. What if Bob is right? The other methods I have used are inexpensive, none more than $50.00; yet the thought that a mere twenty-five page pamphlet could do everything that Bob claimed just wouldn’t go alway.

Surely, I thought, it would be possible to supply every teacher in America with a little twenty-five page pamphlet. School districts everywhere, including my own, have spent vast sums of money (millions upon millions of dollars annually) to try to insure that all students learn to read, yet the problem continues to worsen every year.

In 2007 I decided to take the plunge and start using Blend Phonics with all my tutoring students.

What I discovered. 

I experienced complete success with all my students. This includes students from kindergarten through adult. I have discovered to my complete satisfaction that Mr. Sweet wasn’t exaggerating. Here is the solution to illiteracy in the twenty-first century.

Blend Phonics website launched.

On October 28, 2007, I purchased the www.blendphonics.org and www.blendphonics.com domain names.  I call it “A Nationwide Educational Reform Campaign.”

Blend Phonics Features

  • Blend Phonics Technique with build in Directional Guidance.
  • Comprehensive Scope and Sequence.
  • Complete, easy-to-follow Teacher’s Manual included.
  • Students are taught to sound-out over 2,ooo words.
  • All 44 speech sound and all major spelling patterns are taught for reading and spelling.
  • Highly effective for any age or grade level.
  • Only a chalkboard or marker board and Wide Lined Spiral Notebooks are necessary for success. No need for costly outlay of funds for high tech equipment. Any school can afford it. No worksheets to purchase or copy.
  • Perfect for in-class Tier II or Tier III tutoring. If used for Tier I, it would largely eliminate the need for Tier II or Tier III.
  • Absolutely FREE, no strings attached.
  • Special features for curing artificially induced whole-word dyslexia, an often undiagnosed condition that is all to common in today’s schools.
  • Successfully used by thousands of parents and teachers since 1980.

Mrs. Loring’s Cover Letter from first edition – sent to over 5000 teachers

Dear First Grade Teacher:

This booklet is sent to you free of charge by the non-profit Logan Institute for Educational Excellence, thanks to the generous contribution of Mrs. Raymond Rubicam, who has unselfishly devoted many years to the purpose of improving the teaching of reading and of combating illiteracy. It was Mrs. Rubicam who inspired me to write about my work in teaching reading to a first grade classroom. When Dr. Ralph W. Lewis read my description of the method that I had used, he commented that we should find some way to get it into the hands of every first grade teacher in Michigan. And here it is.

Please read the little booklet and try it out. It will take very little time and cost nothing. Simply allot half an hour each day for about four months in which to teach blend phonics to your children and thus provide them the important ingredient that too often is missing from reading programs, namely, directional training.

Except for this half hour, use materials of your choice, as you ordinarily would do. There is no need to disrupt the program to which you are accustomed though, of course, I am sure you will find it useful to utilize blend phonics techniques while attacking new words in oral reading, spelling, and writing. Your own judgment will dictate to what extent you make use of this tool during the school day.

Please try it. It can make all the difference for those children who might otherwise fail. I found this to be true in my classes. With best wishes for a successful school year.

Hazel Logan Loring

Some information on Mrs. Loring and Blend Phonics from the archives of the Reading Reform Foundation.

  1.  Washburn Memorial Award for Excellence in Education (1982)
  2. Intensive Phonics, The Only Way to Go” by Mrs. Loring. Published in the 1979 Reading Informer.
  3. In Tribute to Hazel Loring” by her son Mr. Lloyd Loring. It was from this article that I learned that Mrs. Loring taught the 1912/1921 Beacon Phonics Method and was able to make the connection between that method and Blend Phonics. 

 Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade in paperback.

In March 2015, I published a paperback edition of Loring’s book as a courtesy to teachers and parents who might prefer to purchase an inexpensive book rather than run the book off on a printer. Order your copy at Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade: Plus Blend Phonics Fluency Drills. The Blend Phonics Fluency Drills are especially effective for helping students overcome dyslexia.

Blend Phonics Lessons and Stories 

To go with Loring’s Blend Phonics, I have published an attractive paperback book of 62 lessons and stories that make learning to read a real joy. The lessons and stories follow Loring’s Scope and Sequence and include comprehension questions and spelling words.

Homeschool Parent

Here is a excellent YouTube video of how one homeschool parent teaching her children to read, write, and spell with Bend Phonics Lessons & Stories. She explains how she organizes each part of the program for effective instruction.

Letter from Dr. Earl Eugene Roth, Jr.  

This is an informative and encouraging letter from Dr. Earl Eugene Roth, Jr. of Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Roth has been a close co-worker with me in researching reading methods for a number of years.

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