Friday, January 20, 2012

COLLECTION #147: The Ginn Basic Readers

More readers! There is never any end to them, and I have tons more to go! But the Ginn Basic Readers, as well as the Alice and Jerry books, and the Scott, Foresman readers (Dick and Jane), were extremely popular readers across the US from the 1940s on. I'm sure there are current versions being used by American schools today, but I don't keep up with those.

I have nearly all of the 1957 edition of the Basic Readers, missing is the 6th grade one. One of these days I'll discover its title, and add it to my collection. These are wonderful books, using a variety of illustrators. There are about a dozen different illustrators who worked on these volumes. 

You can identify the books by their grade level, by observing the spine... on the later, revised edition (1957-1961) on the right, there are dots and lines.  Two dots and two lines means the book is second grade level, part two or semester two. The fourth through sixth grades only have one book per school year. I assume this is because less emphasis is placed on basic reading in the upper grades, and new subjects have come to take their place: science, arithmetic, social studies. The books on the left- the earlier 1948 editions, is the same way, but since I have fewer of them, it might be hard to identify those grade levels. If you look really closely, you can see that there are a few books that don't have such dots and lines. These books (Fun and Fancy in the early edition, Open the Gate and Ranches and Rainbows on the later editions, are considered 'enrichment' books. These were designed to help children who weren't quite ready to advance to the next level, OR to give to those who read more quickly, to give them extra reading practice while the rest of their classmates were catching up).

 I have two different pre-primers, two of the same title. These are all from the 1940s, and use the illustrators from the early books above. They are charming, but not nearly as wonderful as the later books.

1948 edition of On Cherry Street
1957 edition
 I've also included a few pages from early editions vs. later edition to see some differences in the illustrations. They are all wonderful!

1948 edition of the Little White House
1957 edition
 One of my favorite illustrators, Corinne Malvern, is one of the primary illustrators of the mid-grade books of the early editions. In those books there is usually just one or two illustrators for the whole book, as opposed to the later editions that have as many as a dozen different illustrators.

Example of Corinne Malvern illustraion in the 1948 edition of Around the Corner
I hope you enjoy reading  a little bit about Susan, Tom and Betty, and seeing these wonderful mid-century readers.

Around the Corner (1957 edition) with its Do and Learn Book


joscelyne cutchens said...

i LOVE old books.

Diann Melk said...

Trying to get my own vintage set of these. Off to a great start. Looked all over internet trying to find a picture of the complete set and I found yours...thanks a million. Kids today don't know what they are missing out on. These were a wonderful way to teach reading.I use them in my home schooling of pre-k through so far 3rd graders.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a fun story about a little gray mouse that loved to dance. She did not like cleaning house and one day she saw a lovely red dress and shoes in a store window so she bought them. When she took them home she laid them across a chair and the next morning they were full of dust. Needless to say she always cleaned her house and then still had enough time to dance.
Does anyone know or remember this? I would love to have a copy

Anonymous said...

The 6th grade reader is "Wings to Adventure." :-)


Anonymous said...

I'm looking for the reader that had the story about commercial space flight. I recall a drawing of a flight attendant floating in the cabin.

Can anyone help? Thank you.

Randy Hull said...

So glad I came across this. I collect old school books myself. Right now about 250 in my collection. Readers are my favorite.