Tuesday, August 22, 2006

See Dick. See Jane. See Dick and Jane.

As I've said before, I've always thought I was a closet dyslexic, as there were no tests for such things when I was starting school. If you had trouble, they worked with you, and if you still couldn't keep up, they just held you back. Simple.

Well, I did the extra work, and was lucky enough to learn to read during the Dick and Jane See and Say era, so I didn't have to learn Phonics. I just memorized each word as a whole, which worked much better for me. I can still remember those little reading half circles with those delightful Dick and Jane pictures. It was such a wonder to be able to read, and I was so proud of myself.

I would bring that precious book home each afternoon and sit down with my bestest friend in the whole wide world, Sadie, our maid/baby sitter, and I did something I didn't even realize I was doing. I taught her how to read. The more complicated my homework became and the harder the words became, we both learned. Not until I was much older, and something was said about it, did I realize that I had taught Sadie how to read.

Dick and Jane started me on a lifetime adventure that led through graduate school and continues to this day. I even ended up teaching school for 29 years! That early experience, sitting in Sadie's lap, reading all those simple little stories to her, pointing carefully to each word, made a lasting impression on my life, and I'm sure it changed her life, too.

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Chana said...

you write beautiful always. and your memories take me to a better place, that i have come to expect. but today, this post has touched me even more so. love has popped out of every word. how sweet. how terribly sweet. what a lovely memory.

Saby was very blessed to have learned along with you. of course it changed her life, at least that much we know. and you to go on to teach and to pass on that sensitivity and guidance and knowledge that all don't learn the same and that is okay as well, well, that is just a gift.

Dirty Butter said...

Your words of encouragement mean so much to me, Chana. It's just so much easier for me to write about personal things when I know there will be someone reading it who tunes in to my "wavelength."

jan said...

I'm helping my grandson with his homework now and while the stories we are reading have interest and perhaps more realism than Dick and Jane, Spot and Puff, and Baby Jane, I think kids are missing something by not having those charming icons of yesteryear to guide their reading lives.

Dirty Butter said...

There are a lot of well done beginning reader series available now, but I don't know of any that do a better job than the Dick and Jane series did of teaching morals in a simple, child friendly way.

Gem said...

My older daughter learned to read with phonics, my 6yo picked up a Dick and Jane volume when she was 4 and started reading it immediately! She had the first 3 stories read by the end of the day. Kids just all learn differently.

Dirty Butter said...

I taught school for 29 years, Gem, and it's definitely true that not all children learn the same way. A good teacher has to have a repetoire of different approaches to each skill available, and somehow find the time to work with those students who don't catch on the way most of the students do.