Dick and Jane Readers in the 1960’s Were Written by Reading Pioneer

Posted on:

< < Back to

Remember being taught to read through Dick, Jane, and Spot the dog along with Puff the cat, Tim the teddy bear and Sally the baby sister.
The Dick and Jane reading series began in the 1930’s and the books were published up until the 1970’s.
In the 1960’s the books went through a renaissance to match the changing times.
The art work was modernized. An African-American family was added to the storyline and the books became less sight based and more phonics based in teaching reading.
Leading that quiet revolution was Dr. Helen Mansfield Robinson. She was born in Athens, Ohio in 1906 and became an Ohio University graduate in 1926. She married and reared a family and received her doctorate in Chicago in the 1940’s.
From there she became a noted researcher, scholar and nationally recognized expert on teaching reading to children. Her contributions were stellar in combatting illiteracy and bringing the joy of reading to the masses.
This week, Kimberly Barlag the Director of Communication for the Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education at Ohio University and Julie Francis the Director of the new Edward Stevens Literacy Center at Ohio University talk with Spectrum about the history and the contributions of Helen Robinson.
We also will hear from the Patton College of Education Dean, Dr. Rene Middleton about Dr. Robinson’s efforts to bring diversity to the Dick and Jane series. Dr. Middleton, an African-American woman, has a special place in her memories for reading the Dick and Jane series that included people of color in the 1960’s.