I recently shared a post from ‘Vintage Queensland’ on the Write of the Middle Facebook page. It was a picture of the inside couple of pages of one of the Dick, Dora, Nip and Fluff books from back when I was in early primary school. It received the most likes, comments and interactive discussion that I think I have ever seen on my Facebook page before, which was lovely. You can see the post here. Considering this, it was clearly evident that these readers needed to be featured as part of my ‘I Remember When’ series and so here they are!
The reaction to this post goes to show just how powerful the emotional attachment can be to memories and events from our childhood. For me, the memory of learning to read is a happy one. I loved learning to read. I recall the satisfaction of sounding out and learning new words and bit by bit being able to read a book all on my very own. A whole new world of opportunity opened up to me. I loved stories and had a vivid imagination. To this day I still love being swept away by a book to another world. I distinctly remember being welcomed into the world of Dick, Dora, Nip and Fluff and being fascinated by them and all of their adventures. Childhood is a time where our minds are so wonderfully innocent and open and they default to positive thinking and excitement over learning and new opportunities and possibilities. What a shame our minds don’t always still naturally default this way as adults.
It’s nice to revisit happy and positive memories that often give us the ‘warm and fuzzies’ and not only that, I think it’s a good reminder of how much joy the simple things in life can give us – hence my ‘I Remember When’ series.
A screenshot of what I posted is below.
The Happy Venture Readers were a series featuring Dick [the boy], Dora [the girl], Nip [the dog] and Fluff [the cat]. They are the books from which I learned to read in my early years of primary school. I started school in 197O but the books were around from the late 195O’s before being phased out in the mid 197O’s. They are not to be confused with the Dick and Jane series which were the popular basal readers written by William S. Gray and Zerna Sharp and published by Scott Foresman, that were used to teach children to read from the 1930s through to the 1970s in the United States. There was and probably still is controversy as to plagiarism, with Gray accused of copying Fred Schonell’s similar Dick and Dora readers found in his Happy Venture Playbooks.
Here’s an excerpt about the end of Queensland School Readers from the Qld Department of Education and Training:
The Queensland written and published Prep 1-4 Readers, which were part of the Queensland School Readers were phased out in the 1950s with the restructuring of primary education including the end of the Prep grades. They were replaced by the Happy Venture Readers which had been written by Professor Fred Schonnell, while still in England with Irene Sargent and Phyllis Flowerdew, Goldsmith College (part of University of London).
The remaining Queensland School Readers including books for Grades I – VIII were phased out in the 1960s and 1970s. Wide Range Readers followed the latter Readers for a time. However, schools began selecting their own reading materials from a range of schemes including the Endeavour Reading Scheme, PM Readers, Reading 360 and the Mount Gravatt Reading Scheme during the 1970s.
And here are a few more images from the books that I have found.
Do you too have happy memories of learning to read with The Happy Venture Readers and Dick, Dora, Nip and Fluff? If not, can you remember and share the readers you learnt to read with when you started school?
Ciao for now,
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