At Building Blocks Phonics we believe that all students can learn to read regardless of background or opportunity.
The literacy situation in the United States is rather grim. According to World Population Review and the National Center for Education Statistics, about one in five U.S. adults have low literacy skills. This equates to over one-fifth of the entire population (21%), or roughly 43 million adults.
In response to this pressing issue, we have made it our mission to promote literacy among underserved adult populations.
THE WOMAN BEHIND THE VISION
About Barbara McNamara
Barbara is a certified literacy professional with extensive teaching experience spanning back to 2003. Barbara's expertise encompasses various educational domains, including literacy, research, K-12 special education, and education leadership and supervision.
Throughout her career working with learning-disabled readers, Barbara identified a need for more systematic phonics instruction. This led her to establish Building Blocks Phonics in 2017.
Barbara holds a teaching license in K-12 Multi-Categorical Special Education, a bachelor's degree in psychology, and a master's degree in education.
The Research Behind the Program
Explicit, systematic phonics instruction best served elementary students who are having difficulty learning to read… Systematic phonics instruction produced students with better decoding and encoding skills."
The development of our program was driven by thorough research that uncovered critical gaps in existing curricula around phonics instruction for adults.
The program's primary focus revolved around the pivotal role of phonics instruction in effective literacy education, supported by research findings from Herbest and Apel (2017) and the International Literacy Association (2018). These studies underscored the significance of phonological awareness as a predictor of reading ability, enabling students to manipulate language sounds for reading and writing.
However, this led to the critical question of how to deliver phonics instruction effectively.
Interestingly, while many literacy curricula in the market predominantly employed analytic methods for teaching phonics, practical experience revealed the necessity for highly specific instruction in letter-sound associations. Indeed, research from the National Reading Panel (2000) identified systematic phonics instruction as the preferred approach for enhancing students' capacity to read both familiar and unfamiliar words, including those with regular and irregular spellings.