I REMEMBER WHEN I learnt to read with Dick and Dora, Nip & Fluff

October 26, 2017

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. 

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books

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.

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers, Happy Venture Readers

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers, Happy Venture Readers

Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff, Readers, Childhood, Books, School Readers


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,

Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:

Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Lyndall of Seize the Day Project
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age
of Debbish
and Jo of And Anyways

It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.

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  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit October 26, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I have never heard of Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff. LOL. Those names though!
    The only books I recall from my really young years were a host of Little Golden Books and the Berenstein Bears. I loved the bears. My fave was The Bears Vacation. #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Min October 26, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Wow, fancy you never having heard of them before. I guess they didn’t use them in the ACT and you are younger too of course. I used to read the Little Golden Books too and I do remember the Berenstein Bears!

      • Reply Malcolm Challoner October 6, 2019 at 9:20 pm

        Dick &,Dora Wow
        The holidays are here! The holidays are here! Yes said Mother and we will soon be off to the seaside
        I also remember the glass of orange juice I just wished I could drink Mmm

        Even though I couldn’t read a word I would look and wish at pictures though all 4 books like the other lady 1958/9 I think
        St John the Baptist Kemp Town Brighton Catholic school

        Home is now sunny Perth western Australia for last 20 years I call them my impressionable years
        I wonder now all those teachers and Nuns gone where are all those children. … probably like me scattered all over the world lots of love to them all
        Malcolm Challoner

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee October 26, 2017 at 7:09 am

    That’s weird, In NSW it was Dick and Jane? I loved those books.

    • Reply Min October 26, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Ahhhh really? Dick and Jane were by the American author as mentioned in my post. Very similar!

  • Reply Vanessa October 26, 2017 at 8:50 am

    The readers I remember the most were my french ones actually! In early high school we were reading primary school french books. It struck me as odd that they thought that was what would interest teenagers haha. Surely there were ESL books not just primary school books in existence.

    • Reply Min October 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      That is strange to be reading french primary school books in high school!

  • Reply JODIE FILOGOMO October 26, 2017 at 9:03 am

    I don’t remember the books I learned on, but I do remember reading as many Nancy Drew mysteries as I could get my hands on!!

    • Reply Min October 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries too! I’m sure I read them all … of course when I was a bit older though and able to read unassisted!

  • Reply Kathy Marris October 26, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I remember these books well, particularly the Dick and Dora books. I was born in 1957 so this was definitely my era! I loved to read and still do thanks to these reading books. #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min October 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      Great that you remember them too Kathy. They kick started my love of reading. My most favourite books from childhood were all the Enid Blyton books. Boy did I love her books!

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl October 26, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I am about to enter this world of readers with my son, thanks for the memories!

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min October 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      What fun! I hope they have good and interesting ones these days to ignite a love of reading in the little ones!

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au October 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Good old Dick and Dora and Fluff and Nip – I still remember “run Nip run” and all those other repetitive but obviously useful reading lessons. Your FB pics were a great reminder and obviously they were for others too.

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      I remember those repetitive words too LOL. They did the trick though didn’t they? The words sunk in and we learnt to read!

      • Reply Giles October 5, 2019 at 7:12 am

        It still has the power to stir some kind of innocent bliss inside me . I ve had a tough life psychologically and the memory of those books is almost emancipating . Probably the last time I played on a level surface ! This is now 2019 and i just wanted to put that out to something or someone untraceable .

        • Reply Min October 5, 2019 at 11:23 am

          Hi Giles – it’s lovely to have something that bring back happy and comforting memories. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a tough life. I hope things are going well for you now.

  • Reply Deborah October 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I certainly read Dick and Dora and remember them – only vaguely though – from my school days. I was a huge Enid Blyton fan outside of school though!

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      Oh I was a massive Enid Blyton fan too. They are my most favourite books from childhood ever! I still have some and treasure them.

  • Reply Jo Tracey October 26, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t remember the early readers, but I certainly remember emptying the school library of Enid Blyton books and Asterix and Obelisk…& then later Nancy Drew & pretty much anything else. The imagination, the escapes, the flights of fancy…they carried me away.

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Enid Blyton was the BEST! I loved her books and still do. Such wonderful memories of being taken on such exciting adventures through reading her books. I don’t recall Asterix and Obelisk? I do remember Nancy Drew though and read all of those and loved them. Loved book club at school. It was such a thrill to read through the brochure and choose a book and then have it arrive all fresh and new and ready for reading. I’ve always loved reading and fresh new books! haha

  • Reply Emma October 27, 2017 at 12:43 am

    We still have a lot of books I read when I was young and am now getting to share them with my daughter. Unfortunately she is less impressed, it seems, than I was in this age of TV and the Internet.

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      They expect different things these days don’t they? Less easily amused? We were happy with much simpler things … back in the old days! LOL

  • Reply Jenni | Unclutter Your Universe October 27, 2017 at 6:27 am

    When I was first at school reading is something that did not come naturally and it took a long while for it to be picked up and the right support given. When it was finally sorted I was on my way and became an avid reader, which I still am and love escaping into the pages of a great book. I reading memory that really sticks in my mind is the fuss that was made about Enid Blyton books and they were banned from schools and libraries. I just loved her books and was gutted when i was told that I was no longer allowed to read her books in school reading time. At the time I was obsessed with the Far Away Tree and it’s magical world that I could escape to.

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      I’m glad that with the right support your road to learning to read got on track Jenni. Reading is such a wonderful escape and learning opportunity. Wow, I don’t recall Enid Blyton books being banned from schools and libraries? I wonder why? I absolutely adored all her books. They are hands down my most favourite books from childhood!

      • Reply Jenni | Unclutter Your Universe October 30, 2017 at 4:11 pm

        It was all because of the black golly wog in Noddy. Things were PC back then too, and because wog is often seen as a racist term, all of her books were banned from schools and libraries in NZ. Thankfully they could still be bought in book stores and could be sent in by families overseas.

  • Reply Di from Max The Unicorn October 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I don’t remember much of my childhood, but I’m so happy my son has just found the first book series he’s actually excited to read! It’s a zombie Minecraft book series, haha!

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Zombie Minecraft! LOL Well if it captures his interest and gets him hooked on reading … then awesome!!

  • Reply Lyndall @ SeizeTheDayProject October 29, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Wow Min, you have a good memory! I started school the same year, but I don’t remember these books at all. I went to school in NSW, so maybe we had different readers? Growing up, my favourites were the Dr Seuss books – Green Eggs and Ham is still a fave of mine. I just love the silliness of them – pure escapism! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Min October 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      I could never forget Dick, Dora, Nip & Fluff! lol I think they used different readers from State to State and even within States. Crazy really! I used to read Dr Seuss but I was never really taken with them for some reason. Once I could read, it was Enid Blyton who I adored. Such wonderful adventures she took me on!

  • Reply Lyn @ A Hole in my Shoe November 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I could never forget Dick, Dora, Fluff and Nip. Loved them so much I bought a set of Happy Venture Readers from eBay so I could show my son. I also bought a box of the cuisenaire rods too. Oh the memories.

    • Reply Min November 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      They bring back happy memories to me. I don’t have a set of them though. I remember the rods well too. They were a great teaching tool! 🙂

  • Reply Allan Gardiner July 25, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Thanks Min
    Your information on Fed Schonell was enlightening. His connection to Queensland is seen in the naming of the road to the University of Queensland and one of the theates on that campus. Having read the Dick and Dora books as a Queensland student in the 1960s I can see now where Schonell’s influence reached into my classroom. I endorse your thoughtful ideas about learning to read.

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Hi Allan – so glad you enjoyed the read. Thank you for taking the time to leave your comment! 🙂

  • Reply Mick November 15, 2019 at 2:49 am

    I mentioned that we had Janet and John books as our early readers here in England. May be a boy thing but did anyone get into Biggles down there?

    • Reply Min November 15, 2019 at 3:25 pm

      Yes Biggles were very popular over here though they weren’t books I read in childhood. Too boyish probably LOL I wasn’t even aware of them until adulthood!

  • Reply Mick November 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    There were a hundred and one of them. As a adult, i have collected them in various forms (paperback & hardback) and i think i have every copy. It’s quite a valuable collection.

    • Reply Min November 16, 2019 at 1:25 pm

      My husband has a collection too – though it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. Don’t think it’s as large as yours!

  • Reply Steve May 4, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Yes I remember these. Later it was the How and why books that used to captivate me with their wide range of topics,although now I can appreciate their Happy Days US white middle class flavour of the early 60s.

    • Reply Min May 5, 2020 at 10:51 am

      Hi Steve! These books bring back such lovely memories of simpler times don’t they? Who ever would’ve thought. Lovely to know you enjoyed them too. BTW I used to love watching Happy Days and I had those How and Why books too!

  • Reply Silvan May 23, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Was actually talking about the Dick and Dora texts with friends; decided to see what the internet had to say and came across this post. Grew up in the early 70s in Trinidad with the Dick and Dora series. I guess we were all part of a commonwealth generation education.

    • Reply Min May 24, 2022 at 9:34 am

      Hi there – thanks so much for your comment. It’s so interesting to hear that you had Dick and Dora books in Trinidad too! A previous neighbour of mine was from Trinidad. I remember Dick, Dora, Nip and Fluff very fondly so obviously must’ve enjoyed the books as a child so I’m sure that’d be the case for children anywhere!

  • Reply Lolly July 15, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    Just found this post. Run, Nip, run! comes into my head as an adult at the oddest times! Loved those books. I read them in primary school in Fremantle, Western Australia in the early 70s. Like you, I found it incredibly exciting to learn to read at school. I still remember the flash cards for letters the teacher would hold up. Learning to read opened up a world for me.

    • Reply Min July 17, 2023 at 10:15 am

      Hi Lolly – yes I remember ‘Run Nip Run’! I loved reading them in the early days of my schooling and they ignited a passion for reading and getting lost in stories that I still have today!

  • Reply Michael August 17, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Oh yes indeed! I remember Dick, Dora, Fluff and Nip very well from my learning to read years! Like you, I also remember thoroughly enjoying learning to read and I voraciously consumed all that was put before me. Happy memories of innocence and wonder!

    • Reply Min August 19, 2023 at 3:23 pm

      They were great books to learn from weren’t they? Happy memories of innocence and wonder indeed!

  • Reply Annamaria December 23, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    I loved the Dick and Dora, Fluff and Nip books I learnt to read in school. At the moment I’m trying to find a book that had four or five stories in it and by various authors. I think I was in grade 5 or 6, the books were given to the kids in the class for free. I just loved the stories in it, my favourite was The Horse and Ann, and another was titled Kee Non Stan, great short stories.

    • Reply Min January 11, 2024 at 9:18 am

      Hi Annamaria – I loved the Dick and Dora, Fluff & Nip books too! I hope you find the books you’re after. I remember I used to enjoy ‘Endeavour Reading Programme’ books too. I wonder if those are the books you’re referring too?

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