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Janet and John Books

752 of 1169 nominations


Janet and John Books

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Janet and John Books

In 1949, Janet and John were supposed to be average English kids, living a typical English life. Their unexceptional middle-class existence was the basis of a series of books designed to teach 4-7 year old children to read, progressively incorporating and repeating key words in the development of reading skills. By the 1970s, Janet and John’s straightforward world was seen as being hopelessly outdated, and they fell out of favour, but remained as icons in the minds of the generations who had grown up with them.

The revamp Janet and John received in 2001 is very illuminating. The only thing that hasn’t been updated about the brother and sister team is their names, a nostalgic hook to encourage parents and teachers to take a look at the new series. Nowadays, characters come from a wider range of ethnic backgrounds and not all are in nuclear families, Janet likes to play football, and modern technology makes regular appearances. However, Janet and John are still best remembered by the numerous parodies and references to the simple style and old-fashioned cultural outlook that defined the earlier series.


Your comments

I learnt to read using these books. Why doesn't everyone? They work. Everyone of my generation (50 and over) learnt to read using them, didn't they?

Alan Gatter

I taught both my children and grandchildren to read before they all started school.I now would like my great-grandchildren to have the same advantage. These primary readers had to be the best ever teachers of phonetics that I have used.

I was taught to read long before I started school and got through the entire JJ series in the first week. Why I still remember that the last page of book 1 had an Aeroplane on it I don't know maybe it was the only "hard" word in it. Another tradition murdered by the PC brigade.
Alan Johnson

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I nominate the English weather.