Friday, February 18, 2011

If you're reading this, thank Dick and Jane

The Big Book is about 19 inches by 25 inches.
After McGuffey Readers and before Hooked on Phonics, there was Dick and Jane.

Millions of adults of a certain age remember Dick and Jane well. For many, they were the first introduction to books, to stories that didn’t appear on radio or television or in the movies.

From the 1930s through the 1960s, Dick and Jane books were the standard teaching text for beginning readers in schools throughout the nation. Oh, sure. Some places had Alice and Jerry and Jip, but by far the more ubiquitous reader was Dick and Jane (and the dog named Spot, an altogether more suitable name for a dog than Jip.)

Dick and Jane lived an idyllic middle American life in a quiet neighborhood, uncomplicated by the harsh realities of modern living. The stories were simple, of course, especially at the beginning. They grew progressively more difficult as a child moved through the series.

These were basal readers, textbooks designed to teach reading. A basal series usually came with pre-primers and primers for students, word cards, charts, tests and records, a teacher’s edition and a large version, called the Big Book, for use in front of the classroom. An example of the Big Book is in the collection of rare and unusual items at Lighthouse Books, ABAA.

Over the decades, the clothing for Dick and Jane changed, as did their pets and playmates. Early on they had a kitten named Spot but soon the kitten’s name became Mew, and then Puff by the 1950s. The dog at first was a terrier named Happy but eventually became a Cocker Spaniel named Spot.

Dick and Jane were siblings about the same age. They had a little sister named Sally. They were little white children and there was no diversity in their world. It was not until 1965 that an African-American family moved in next door and Dick and Jane had new playmates, Mike and his twin sisters Pam and Penny.

The books were as simple as the storyline. Each page contained a colorful illustration that helped move the plot forward and a few words in huge Century Schoolbook typeface. And repetition, the foundation of those basal readers.

Look, Jane.
Look, Dick.
See funny Sally.
Funny, funny Sally.

The plots involved simple everyday activities to which the young readers could relate. Playing with an umbrella. Playing dress up. Rollerskating down the sidewalk. In one episode, Dick puts a harness on Spot and goes for a wild ride under puppy power.

The basal readers received their share of criticism by proponents of a phonics-based reading system. Although the Dick and Jane series did not totally ignore phonics, the emphasis was on sight word reading and repetition.

The series, published by Scott, Foresman and Company, and the Alice and Jerry series, published by Row, Peterson and Company, eventually fell out of favor.

Still, millions of Americans today have fond memories of learning to read with Dick and Jane.

1 comment:

  1. Teach Your Child to Read Today!

    Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and warnings on labels, allow them to discover reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.

    Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression in the development of reading ability over time. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a young age - even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything. They are naturally intrigued by the printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.

    At what age can you start teaching a child to read? When they're babies? At 2 years old, 3, 4, or 5 years old, or wait until they're in school?

    If you delay your child's reading skill development until he or she enters school, you are putting your child at risk...

    Did you know that 67% of all Grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level! According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, of those 67%, 33% read at just the BASIC level, and 34% CANNOT even achieve reading abilities of the lowest basic level!

    There is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read.

    This is a unique reading program developed by two amazing parents and reading teachers, Jim and Elena, who successfully taught their four children to read before turning 3 years old. The reading system they developed is so effective that by the time their daughter was just 4 years 2 months old, she was already reading at a grade 3 level. They have videos to prove it.

    >> Click here to watch the videos and learn more.

    Their reading system is called Children Learning Reading, and it is nothing like the infomercials you see on TV, showing babies appearing to read, but who have only learned to memorize a few word shapes. This is a program that will teach your child to effectively decode and read phonetically. It will give your child a big head start, and allow you to teach your child to read and help your child develop reading skills years ahead of similar aged children.

    This is not a quick fix solution where you put your child in front of the TV or computer for hours and hope that your child learns to "read"... somehow...

    This is a reading program that requires you, the parent, to be involved. But the results are absolutely amazing. Thousands of parents have used the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach their children to read.

    All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day.

    >> Click here to get started right now. How to Teach a 2 or 3 Year Old to Read.


Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP