Learning to Read

Do you remember the books you read in first grade?

I sure do. And I fondly recall spelling tests, recess, flavored milk, and a girl name Lynne. I still drink flavored milk, but my wife tells me a recess with Lynne today is unacceptable.

The best part of school was the “Dick and Jane” stories that taught us to read.

If you grew up in the 1950’s through the 1970’s, you may remember Dick and Jane. I’m not sure they had a last name, which would make them quite trendy today. They lived in a little house somewhere in America…we just didn’t know where.

They had a puppy called Spot, and a cat named Puff. (I once had a girlfriend named Puff, but that’s another story.)

One of the books’ writers – Sterl Artley — died in 1998. A famous reading teacher, Sterl began his stories with basic words, gradually building vocabulary.

It’s hard to find these readers today. I guess a few educators chose different teaching methods, for reasons unknown to me or my friends, many of whom read quite well.

Sadly, there will be no new Dick and Jane adventures for future generations. Oh my, oh my. Did someone say, “Baby Boomers getting older?”

Goodbye, Dick, Goodbye, Jane. Goodbye, childhood.

Hello, Arthur Ritis.

Got a story idea for Rix? E-mail him at rix@rixquinn.com.