Phonics Hero and Get Reading Right

As you may be aware, Get Reading Right Pty Ltd ceased reselling the Phonics Hero product in early 2015. A number of customers have asked for the background on this decision. As such, this page has been created to provide clarity to Get Reading Right’s customer base.

Get Reading Right’s involvement in Phonics Hero

Jo-Anne Dooner, literacy consultant and author of the Get Reading Right materials, was involved in Phonics Hero in its early years. Jo-Anne helped the company to understand Synthetic Phonics and how it could design and develop an app that aligned to Jo-Anne’s teaching methodology. As part of Jo-Anne’s and Get Reading Right’s support, shares in Phonics Hero Ltd were issued to Get Reading Right, and Get Reading Right was appointed as a Director of the company [1].

Phonics Hero Ltd initially sold their software as an app, downloadable from the iTunes store. Over the years, Phonics Hero Ltd moved to an online subscription model. This change had both commercial and educational implications, such as introducing ongoing costs to its users [2A], and increasing the difficulty of accessing the product [2B].

The initial app was developed with background and input from Jo-Anne based on educational research and her experience as both a consultant and a teacher. If you use Phonics Hero, you will see the company uses the sequences Jo-Anne teaches, and even Get Reading Right’s own characters throughout the app.


Phonics Hero Today

Contrary to the impression Phonics Hero Ltd provides about its educational credentials, and the team behind the company, Jo-Anne’s direct input and advice in regards to both the product and the company has been ignored for years. As such, Jo-Anne has requested her company, Get Reading Right, to resign as a Director from the Phonics Hero Ltd board, on multiple occasions.

Further, on its website, Phonics Hero Ltd makes questionable claims about its product (such as “Australian schools are achieving improvements 8x the national average” [3]), and the product’s supporting team [4]. For example, the company stated that Jo-Anne Dooner is the “Curriculum Director” [4, 6], a position she has never held. The site also described other educators as “Literacy Consultants” [4, 6], despite none of these people working for the company. We also note that the two largest shareholders in the company removed themselves from the “about” page in 2015, for unknown reasons [5].

Phonics Hero Ltd was formally sent a cease and desist letter in August 2015, regarding false or misleading claims the company makes on its website, in advertising and social media. Although Jo-Anne helped the company to initially learn what they needed to, to develop the iPad app, she believes it is inappropriate for Phonics Hero Ltd to trade from the good name and experience of educators [6] who do not work for the company, let alone doing so without their knowledge or permission.

Our customers may note that a short time after this page was published, the internet archive removed all content it stored from phonicshero.com [7]. Removal of pages from the internet archive can be made by website owners who no longer want previous versions of their website to be available [8A]. We note that the PhonicsHero.com site also now explicitly disables archiving of their site [8B]. In response to such actions, this page now references screenshots of the archived Phonics Hero pages that have been since taken down, to ensure the evidence supporting our statements is preserved, and cannot be removed by the Phonics Hero team.

Given these issues and the direction of Phonics Hero Ltd, Get Reading Right Pty Ltd ceased reselling Phonics Hero in early 2015, and has no plans to sell the product again in future.


[1] https://www.icris.cr.gov.hk/csci/login_i.do?loginType=iguest (Search Company Name, “Phonics Hero Ltd”, retrieve all records)

[2A] This reference originally linked to the internet archive’s copy of the original page. Following the publishing of this article, the originals were deleted from the web archive [7]. Click to see screenshot of original document before it was deleted.

[2B] The company subscription model requires access codes (login/password), which are difficult for children to use when they are learning how to read

[3] This reference originally linked to the internet archive’s copy of the original page. Following the publishing of this article, the originals were deleted from the web archive [7]. Click to see screenshot of original document before it was deleted. (Phonics Hero “about” page, at time of writing)

[4] This reference originally linked to the internet archive’s copy of the original page. Following the publishing of this article, the originals were deleted from the web archive [7]. Click to see screenshot of original document before it was deleted. (Phonics Hero “about” page, at time of writing)

[5] This reference originally linked to the internet archive’s copy of the original page. Following the publishing of this article, the originals were deleted from the web archive [7]. Click to see screenshot of original document before it was deleted. (Previous Phonics Hero “about” page, as captured in early 2015)

[6] This reference originally linked to the internet archive’s copy of the original page. Following the publishing of this article, the originals were deleted from the web archive [7]. Click to see screenshot of original document before it was deleted.

[7] PhonicsHero.com removed from the internet archive

[8A] Example removal request from the internet archive

[8B] PhonicsHero.com robots.txt file instructing the internet archive to not archive their site