Reading is probably the most important part of education and one that opens up the world to any child able to access reading materials. Reading helps develop other related skills, such as grammar, vocabulary, and writing; the usage of phonics is the best way to teach children how to read. However, according to The Economist “most American children are taught to read in a way that study after study has found to be wrong”. The effect of this is quite catastrophic with only 48% of all US adults proficient in reading in 2017; nine-to ten-year olds only rank 15th on the Progress in International Literacy Study, a benchmark international exam. Phonics seems to be a key part of learning to read that is used sparingly in the education system. The state of Mississippi has traditionally been a very poor performer but since 2013 passed new literacy standards that have been showing impressive results. Unfortunately for the rest of the country in spite of the research available and data on results as well as analyses of brain scans teachers use their personal experience to pass on acquired skills, which can be outdated. When combined with political doctrine and compromise the results speak for themselves. Best practice needs to be adopted widely independently of the political party that proposed the changes. Only then can reading and the importance of phonics take centre stage in this fundamental skill.