Thursday, October 23, 2008


I learned to read from the series of books entitled "Dick and Jane". Educators, writers, illustrators and editors produced these books that taught millions of children to read from 1930 through 1960.

Dick and Jane (plus others including little sister, Sally) lived in a wonderful world where the fun never stopped. For those of us that were depression or World War II children, it was perhaps a fantasy world; but one that we could aspire to live in to achieve the American dream.

Below are three original pages from Dick and Jane that I have found over the years. The first one is 16" x 20" and is from a teacher's table display.
"Mother Makes Something" is from one of the student books.

And my favorite: Sally CAN work!!!!

I remember how exciting it was to learn to read, and how proud I was that one of the characters in the books shared my name.

Even though my mother read constantly, my first real reading experience began with my first grade teacher, Miss LaShier. She was the same first grade teacher in the same classroom that my father experienced, and she was very knowledgeable about first graders. Some of us were still only five years old, and the room seemed huge to us with 33 wooden desks in rows and columns all facing Miss LaShier's desk. There were six large windows letting in lots of light and a third wall with a blackboard.

We knew from day one that we were there for one purpose and that was to learn to read, write, and do math. That was our job, and there was no messing around. Miss LaShier had on her desk a wooden ruler that we knew was not for a mathematical exercise. I never knew her to use it on a child, but we knew that we were responsible for the consequences of our actions. Even with all of this seriousness, it was fun to be at school.

We soon learned that acquiring knowledge and learning to read was a reward in of itself! Our deviation from the rows and columns of our desks in the classroom was to circle up on little wooden chairs while Miss LaShier read to us each day from Dick and Jane, other story books and even the encyclopedia. She instilled in us the desire for knowledge about the world beyond our door through reading.

Here is a picture of my first grade class minus one (I got angry with one boy and cut his picture out. I regret that, now!). We all came from different backgrounds; for some English was a second language; some had ribbons in their hair while some felt fortunate to have shoes on their feet; and none of us had been to preschool or kindergarten. That was not an option in 1944.

Miss LaShier managed with the help of Dick and Jane to teach all 33 of us to read during that first year of school. I graduated from high school with almost all of those same kids; and we all continued to read, learn, and excel in school and beyond.

Thank you Dick, Jane, and Miss LaShier. (Oh yes, and Sally, too)

Thanks for stopping by,



Twice as Nice said...

Wow you sure have a great memory! I too remember Dick, Jane and Sally. They were still using those books in the late 60's when I went to school. I loved them too.

I taught all 3 of my children to read before kindergarten. I felt it was the foundation for all learning. I know it paid off!!

Twice as Nice said...

Wow you sure have a great memory! I too remember Dick, Jane and Sally. They were still using those books in the late 60's when I went to school. I loved them too.

I taught all 3 of my children to read before kindergarten. I felt it was the foundation for all learning. I know it paid off!!

laurie said...

Oh Sally, I look for "Dick and Jane" books that I can afford all of the time! Those books have skyrocketed. I just keep thinking I'm going to find one at a yard sale, where they think it's only worth fifty cents. I loved those illustrations. What fun to come over here and see these pictures. I haven't forgotten Dick and Jane, but thanks so much for the wonderful pics. laurie (bargainhunr)

Susie Q said...

What a wonderful post dear friend!
My mom taught for 34 years and I was raised to love books! I well remember Dick and Jane and Sally...I think the pages look so sweet framed.

I so enjoyed this Sally...


Smilingsal said...

I learned with that book too. How I loved it because Sally is so cute.

I'm sharing some awards; stop by.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

LOL! What did that boy do :-) I love the illustrations in those books! I've always though it would be so cute to do a kids room with them!


Picket said...

Ohhhh I well remember Dick and Jane and Sally too! I remember my first grade teacher...Miss Smith...I loved her...she was so kind and I thought she had the prettiest handwriting on a chalkboard I had ever seen...I thought it was the neatest thing to have those writing tablets with the dotted lines going across the middle of each row and those huge fat pencils!!!! lol Wow you just cut the little boy's pic out huh!!! What happen..did he not push you on the merry go round!!! lol lol Great poat girl...Have a wonderful Friday!

Marie said...

Funny, funny Sally! lol I love those books! My daughter learned to read with Dick and Jane. They seem to have made a comeback because a few years ago I bought a whole bunch of them.

LOVE that class photo. :o)

Shelia said...

Oh, Sally, I've just loved your post today! I, too, learned to read with Dick, Jane and Sally. I found a calendar last year with pictures from the readers on each month. I had to buy it and just had to keep it! I love it that you'd found some original pages!

It's so sweet that you've jarred my memory of 1st grade. You didn't have to go to kindergarden when I was little - so I just started green as a bean in 1st day. I remember the first time I brought home my little reader and had learned to read the first few pages. How thrilled!

Oh, thanks Sally, for the sweet memories,
Shelia ;)

Carrie said...

What wonderful memories...thanks for sharing them.

Sue said...

I love the Dick and Jane illustrations... just recently came across a line a fabric with the pictures from the stories printed on it, very cute for making kids clothes....have a great weekend...

nikkicrumpet said...

I learned to read with Dick and Jane too!!! and their little dog spot! ANd remind me not to get anywhere near you if you're mad at me and you have scissors!!!

Southern Lady said...

What a wonderful post, Sally. I, too, learned to read with Dick and Jane. I wonder what kind of books first graders today are reading.

There's nothing like holding a child in your lap and reading to him or her. And you can't start too early either.

Thank you for sharing your sweet memories of growing up in a time when things seemed so much simpler and innocent.



Rue said...

Hi Sally :)

I can't wait to see your office redo!

What a sweet childhood memory you have. I love that picture! What did that boy do to get cut out? LOL


bj said...

What a precious posting you shared with us.
I just HAVE to tell you a funny story about one of my nephews...he was a fisty little man and on the very first day of school, the teacher asked him if he could read at all...he replied, "hell,no..this is my first day of school"...can you imagine a little first grader coming up with that answer? I have laughed many times over it....
love, bj

santamaker said...

I learned how to read english while I was in Portugal from an English lady who would serve me tea and sandwiches and then pull out the Dick and Jane books! thanks for the trip down memory lane!
I love that you cut out that boys picture!
Glad you are joining me on Monday for Nobrainer Dinner Ideas!

Penny said...

Awe, how adorable. I remember learning from these books too.