Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dick and Jane book's author

This is just to wonderful not to post and share for today (from 8/12/12 The Writer's Almanac)--

Today is the birthday of Zerna Sharp (books by this author), born in Hillsburg, Indiana (1889). She was a writer and elementary school teacher who created the "Dick and Jane" series of books for beginning readers. She was concerned about the low literacy rates she encountered as she traveled, and felt that children would be more receptive to reading if the stories featured kids they could relate to, and had colorful illustrations. In 1927, Sharp approached reading expert William Gray, and he agreed it would be a good way to get his reading method into the classroom. So she came up with a young brother and sister named Dick and Jane, and gradually added in more family members: Mother, Father, little sister Sally, Spot the dog, Puff the cat, and even Tim the teddy bear. She kept the storylines simple, and the sentences short and repetitive: "Run, Spot, run. Oh, oh, oh. Funny, funny Spot." The Dick and Jane books first entered classrooms in 1930 and were routinely used until the late 1960s, when educators began calling for materials to reflect the diversity in their classrooms. They went out of print during the 1970s, but were reissued in 2003, much to the delight of nostalgic baby boomers, who bought 2.5 million books in the first year and a half.

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