the small publishing company of Truman and Smith became interested
in producing school texts. They began scouting for an eminent
educator who could create a series of readers and happened
upon Rev. William Holmes McGuffey.
an Excerpt: McGuffey's(r)
First Eclectic Reader, Revised Edition )
first reader of 1841 introduces children to McGuffey's ethical
code. The child modeled in this book is prompt, good, kind,
honest and truthful. This first book contained fifty-five
lessons that were very moralistic in tone, and of course,
presented the White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant as the model
McGuffey was before our time...my reading experience started
with "Fun With Dick and Jane." Scott Foresman
Publishing Company developed the best loved Dick and Jane
readers, and they were a staple of American education from
the 1930s through the 1960s Certainly they were a step up
in interest level. They did the job of teaching children to
read, but the story line was still boring, and idealized.
images below, Dick and Jane delight in their dog Spot's adventure
with a frog, while the pictures encourage young readers to
fill in the plot line.
(Image source: Fun with Dick
and Jane: A Commemorative Collection of Stories. San Francisco:
Collins Publishers, 1996.)