Elizabeth Rider Montgomery Julesberg, the woman whose reading primers about Dick and Jane and Spot the dog helped more than 20 million children learn to read, is dead at 82.
Mrs. Julesberg, author of more than 70 published books and plays, died Tuesday at Providence Hospital in Seattle after a long illness.
She was a first-grade teacher in Los Angeles in 1940 when she wrote the first of the primer series, “We Look and See.”
Using repetition of simple words and sentences, such as “See Dick run,” her books featured the characters Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot.
She began writing her primers because she was “horrified at the available reading books,” she once said.
“I knew nothing about writing, but I knew children needed books they could get interested in, not those dull things they handed out,” she said.
She later signed a long-term contract with Scott, Foresman & Co., a leading educational book publisher.
Born in Peru, Mrs. Julesberg grew up in Independence, Mo., and moved to Seattle in 1946. She continued to write from her West Seattle home, and her published works included biographies of Henry Ford and Dag Hammarskjold as well as several adventure novels.
She is survived by her husband, Arthur Julesberg; a daughter; a son; a stepdaughter, and eight grandchildren.
Memorial services are planned for Saturday in Alki Congregational Church in Seattle.