Hooked on Phonics is a commercial brand of educational materials, originally designed for reading education through phonetics.
Developed in the late 1980s and first marketed widely in the 1990s, it used a particular instructional design to teach letter-sound correlations (phonics) as part of children's literacy. The program has since expanded to encompass a wide variety of media, including computer games, music, and flash cards in addition to books in its materials, as well as to include other subject areas. The target audience for this brand is primarily individuals and home school parents, as exemplified by the memorable 1-800-ABCDEFG® phone number, prominently featured in radio advertisements, or by the letters in the phone number lighting up bouncing ball-style on-screen during the television ad.
The product along with its catchphrase, "Hooked on Phonics worked for me!" (spoken by happy children in the product's television ads), became widely recognized during the mid-1990s. The phrase was used widely in pop culture to make pejorative tongue-in-cheek jokes about not being able to read or for making incidental reading errors. Modifications (typically phonetic misspellings) to the catchphrase also abound for both comic as well as promotional purposes.
The developer of the program, Gateway Learning Corporation, was based in Santa Ana, California used the success of Hooked on Phonics to develop new educational aids such as Hooked on Math, Hooked on School Success, and Master Reader.
In 2005, Educate, Inc. acquired the company, now known as HOP, LLC.
· 1987: The original Hooked on Phonics program was released and Gateway Educational Products, Ltd., was founded.
· 1990: The Hooked on Math® program was introduced.
· 1996: Company sold, becomes Gateway Learning Corporation.
· 1998: Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read program released.
· 1999: New edition of Hooked on Math released, includes games and activities.
· 2001: Hooked on School Success® created to teach study skills, test-taking strategies.
· 2001: Partnership with KinderCare to offer Hooked on Phonics tutoring programs in KinderCare daycare centers.
· 2003: Hooked on Phonics® Master Reader was developed to teach kids "advanced skills."
· 2005: Educate, Inc. acquired the company, now known as HOP, LLC.
· 2005: Learn to Read grade-level kits offered in major retail locations nationwide.
On July 6, 2004, the Federal Trade Commission revealed that Gateway Learning Corporation had been selling its customer list to telemarketers. Although the company's website stated that it "would not sell personal information such as phone numbers and children's ages to marketers without customer permission", in April 2003 it inadvertently had and took corrective action.