Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Fun With Dick And Jane
I have fond memories of my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Edgerton. She was at least 100 years old, as I recall, but she was wonderful. Very creative. She used to cut words out of the newspaper and put them in an envelope. If we were good, we could pick out a word and try to read it.
Can you imagine the excitement?
Seriously. I thought it was great fun to pick out a crumpled piece of newspaper and sound out words like "Monday" or "coffee."
Today's first-graders don't know what they are missing. They think they are cool, using LeapFrog Learning Pads and reading in French and doing algebra in their spare time. Of course, if their teachers cut words out of the newspaper they would end up sounding out terrifying things like "recession" and "homeless." Parents would be calling the school to complain. If they still had phone service. Or a home.
Anyway, back to my fascinating childhood. Our first grade book was "Fun With Dick and Jane," a classic piece of literature that is now listed in the Antiquarian/Collectible section of eBay, which is appropriate but a bit depressing nonetheless. There was an entire collection of Dick and Jane books, each of which used four words in various combinations to tell a story.
See Jane run.
Run Jane, run.
Run fast Jane.
Fast, Jane, fast.
See Jane run fast.
See? Jane run fast.
Fast! Run fast, Jane.
Run, Jane. Fast. See? Jane run fast. Fast? Fast, fast. See? Jane! Run!!
There were some amazing twists and turns in the plots, as you can tell. Not to mention the surprise endings. (Will Jane run? We couldn't wait to find out.) And once Spot came into the picture, watch out! There was no end to the hilarity and hi-jinks. (Sit, Spot! Run, Jane! See Spot sit!)
Who needs a LeapFrog Learning Pad? By the time we were all in high school, we were reading just fine. Sit, Jane. Sit.