Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

William Hertzog Thompson

Second Advisor

Francis M. Hurst

Third Advisor

Stewart J. Briggs


In the remote past the reading of written and printed symbols had Its origin when man first began to use pictures and other characters to send messages and to record events. It occurred very slowly and took a lot of effort to change from picture writing to the use of letters In representing specific sounds.

The Egyptians as early as twenty-five centuries before Christ had analysed words and syllables into sounds and had developed a series of symbols to represent them. As a result of the ingenuity of the Semites these sounds and symbols were the beginning of the Phoenician alphabet, which later developed In turn the Greek letters and the Roman alphabet.

As the arts of writing and reading improved, they took on more significance in the social life and educational systems of the more advanced nations. An example was in Greece, where reading was a school subject of great importance long before the Battle of Marathon (490 B. C.). However, in other parts of the world the use of reading spread slowly.


A Thesis Presented to the Graduate Division of The University of Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts.

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