Sam Blumenfeld dedicates his life to combat illiteracy.  He often sent letters like the one below to the nation’s opinion makers, political and business leaders.  Few bothered to reply.  In this letter, Sam was offering Chevron the rights to his Alpha-Phonics free of charge.



161 Great Road Littleton, MA 01460

January 14, 2013
John S. Watson
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Chevron Corporation
6001 Bollinger Canyon Road
San Ramon, CA 94583

Dear Mr. Watson:

Knowing of Chevron’s interest in the development of human energy, I believe you would be
interested in making America the most literate nation on earth-with the enhanced brain
power that comes with high literacy. I am an 86-year-old inventor of the simplest, easiest-to-use, most effective and least expensive reading program ever produced by anyone anywhere.

It can be used not only to make Americans the most literate people on the planet but also teach
the rest of the world to read English. It has been used for years in a private school in Boston for
dropouts, immigrants, and reading-disabled minorities. Latinos love it. It works miracles!
The program, Alpha-Phonics, has been used by thousands of homeschoolers since the mid-1980s, and has been proven to be an extraordinary teaching tool. The fact that thousands of
parents with no special training have been able to use the system so effectively has led me to
believe that the program can solve the world’s illiteracy problem if made available. But I need
the help of a business leader like yourself to make this program available to everyone who
wants to learn to read.

Meanwhile, our schools continue to turn out functional illiterates by the million. And there is
no indication in sight that this corrosive dumbing-down process will cease. As Dr. Rudolf Flesch
wrote in 1955 in his famous book, Why Johnny Can’t Read:
“The teaching of reading-all over the United States, in all the schools, and in all the
textbooks-is totally wrong and flies in the face of all logic and common sense.”

You would think that by now-58 years later-the reading problem would have been solved.
But it hasn’t. Indeed, in 2007, The National Endowment for the Arts released an alarming
report, Reading at Risk, about the declining state of literacy in America. According to the
report, the number of 17-year-olds who never read for pleasure increased from 9 percent in
1984 to 19 percent in 2004. About half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 never read
books for pleasure.

Endowment Chairman Dana Gioia stated: “This is a massive social problem. We are losing the
majority of the new generation. They will not achieve anything close to their potential because
of poor reading.” The survey found that only a third of high-school seniors read at a proficient
level. “And proficiency is not a high standard,” said Gioia. “We’re not asking them to be able to
read Proust in the original. We’re talking about reading the daily newspaper.”
Speaking of newspapers, in 1988, Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, told his
fellow newspaper publishers that 60 million Americans, one third of our adult population,
could not read. In 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that only 13
percent of American adults are highly literate, 56 percent have intermediate literacy skills, and
that 43 percent of American adults are illiterate.

In 2006, the U.S. was 18th out of 45 countries in reading, according to the Progress in
International Reading Literacy Test. We were behind Bulgaria, Hungary, Singapore, and Hong
Kong. Who was Number One? Russia! How can we be expected to successfully compete
internationally with a majority of Americans unable to handle the written word?
The simple truth is that we could be Number One if we changed the way children are taught to
read in our primary schools. But the education establishment stands in the way. I’ve been
writing about this problem for over thirty years. But no one in the establishment will listen.
And that is why I am writing you. Only the resolve and resources of a large corporation like
yours can begin to make a dent in solving this problem. If Chevron would print several million
copies of Alpha-Phonics under its own name and distribute them to families and schools who
could make good use of them, that would begin to put America back on the road to high

The reason why the “sight” method used in our schools doesn’t work is because it uses the right
brain to perform the functions of the left brain. According to the latest research by
neuroscientists, this causes brain impairment, otherwise known as “dyslexia.”
Back in 1998 I received a letter from Stephen and Janet Coakley of Malad, Idaho, who had
bought Alpha-Phonics in order to conduct a remedial program for reading-disabled teenagers.
Mrs. Coakley wrote:

“We started the class in February with five youths referred to us by the local juvenile
probation officer. We held the class every Monday evening at our church. We expected
a certain amount of students to drop out ofthe class but the numbers increased every
week until we were teaching your program to fifteen students! We actually had to turn
away five more students, who arrived towards the end of the program. The effect that
your program has had on this class has been truly profound. Every student of school
age has shown an improvement in their school grades.”

In Florida, one high-school teacher used the program to teach potential dropouts to read. In
2008, he sent me a long letter describing the successes he has had with Alpha-Phonics. He
“I once was explaining to a student why children have reading problems. When I finished,
a girl … who I thought was not listening, said, ‘This is what happened to my brother.
He is in the fourth grade, hates to read and gets stomach aches and headaches.”  I told
her that his troubles were over and gave her a copy of Alpha-Phonics. Four months later,
I asked how was her brother doing. She said he completed the book and reads just fine.
I had the same success with students in special education, who were labeled as
learning disabled or educatably mentally retarded. I have 100% per cent success with
every student…. I have many other heartbreaking stories about children who have quit
school because they did not know how to read, and no one will teach them. I have had
children take a copy of Alpha-Phonics and keep it to teach friends they know, how to
read. The results you see in the child are truly miraculous. It must be seen to be

In other words, an inexpensive, easy-to-use reading program exists that could make America
Number One in literacy and help the world learn English. Note that even children can teach
their friends to read with Alpha-Phonics. It’s that simple.
I also believe that a literate nation will be a far less violent nation.
I hope you will see the value to Chevron and America to have this great innovative invention
made available to millions of American parents and teachers to make America the most literate
nation on the planet. We owe it to the children to give them the best that exists. If you agree
with me that something must be done to reverse our slide into greater illiteracy, I would be
happy to meet with you or any person in your company interested in exploring this project

Sincerely yours,
Samuel L. Blumenfeld

While Mr. Watson took no interest in Alpha-Phonics, we at Camp Constitution make them available from our on-line book store: