Dick and Jane

Series of children's early reading books / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Dick and Jane are the two main characters created by Zerna Sharp for a series of basal readers written by William S. Gray to teach children to read. The characters first appeared in the Elson-Gray Readers in 1930 and continued in a subsequent series of books through the final version in 1965. These readers were used in classrooms in the United States and in other English-speaking countries for nearly four decades, reaching the height of their popularity in the 1950s, when 80 percent of first-grade students in the United States used them. Although the Dick and Jane series of primers continued to be sold until 1973 and remained in use in some classrooms throughout the 1970s, they were replaced with other reading texts by the 1980s and gradually disappeared from school curricula.

Fun With Dick and Jane

The Dick and Jane series were known for their simple narrative text and watercolor illustrations. The characters of "Dick", "Jane", and their younger sister "Sally" became household words. The Dick and Jane primers have become icons of mid-century American culture and collectors' items.

Despite criticisms of the stereotypical content that depicted white, middle-class Americans and despite the whole-word (look-say) method of teaching reading on which these readers are based, they retain cultural and pedagogical significance.