Two fictional characters whose exploits brought the joys of reading to millions of Americans from the Great Depression through the Vietnam War.

Dick and Jane and their friends were featured in elementary school primers and pre-primers published by Scott, Foresman & Co. starting in 1930. By 1960, 85% of American schools were using these texts.

The primers used very simple, repetitive ideas to teach reading. For millions of Americans these lines are familiar and nostalgic:

See Dick.
See Dick run.

See Jane.
See Jane run.
Run, Jane, run.

See spot.
See spot run.

The Dick and Jane world was one of white, suburban America. The books centered around Dick, Jane, their dog Spot, baby, mother, father and a friend or two from neighboring families. Not until 1965 was there an African-American character.

The Dick and Jane approach to teaching reading was an alternative to phonics. The debate between competing theories of the best way to teach reading continues today.