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Dick and Jane® Books - their Authors & Creators
Dick and Jane

Zerna Addis Sharp

Miss Zerna Sharp, known as the "Mother of Dick and Jane" was a beautiful and highly intelligent woman and deserves credit in the creation of Dick and Jane. Without Zerna, her thoughts, her beliefs, and fabulous skills, this series would never have been born.

Ms. Sharp was born to Charlotte E. Sharp on August 12, 1889 in Hillisburg Clinton County, Indiana.

As a bright young woman, reading consultant and elementary school teacher, in Laporte, Indiana, Zerna Sharp believed that children would enjoy learning to read and learn much easier if they identified with children shown in illustrations throughout books. Her ideas for "Dick and Jane" originated from experiences she had with her school children. Determined, she contacted William S. Gray, she then presented her ideas. Doctor Gray hired Zerna to develop a family of characters to mold into his scientific process approach to reading instruction. Zerna joined Scott, Foresman and Company in 1924.

For about 30 years Ms. Sharp was a Scott, Foresman & Company textbook editor located in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Sharp retired from this well-known publisher in 1964.

Zerna Sharp Mother of Dick and Jane

The Dick and Jane book series, the most popular reading language of all time, was taught from 1930 through the 1970's in elementary schools throughout the world. They continue today at home, still revolutionizing the way children learn to read.

Zerna lived in Chicago, Illinois, and Seal Beach, California, before returning to Frankfort, Indiana, in November 1977. She was one of five children, of a general store owner. Zerna never married and passed away on June 17, 1981, at the Wesley Manor Health Care Center in Frankfort, Indiana. Zerna was 91 years old.

The Clinton County Historical Society considers Zerna Sharp, "one who has made a significant impact on society." Visit their site and read more about their dedication to Zerna Sharp - click here.



Zerna Sharp

Click the below names
for more history

Zerna A. Sharp
Hugh A. Foresman
E.H. Scott
William H. Elson
William S. Gray
May Hill Arbuthnot
A Sterl Artley
Marion Monroe

I am most grateful to Zerna's nephew for giving me this wonderful photo above that he took of Zerna, and to all her family members who have allowed me to add it my TagNwag site. Thank you

Zerna A. Sharp.

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