10 Books That Taught Us How To Read

There’s few things that give us that lovely feeling of nostalgia more than the books we read when we were kids.

From The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they transported us back to the wonderful world that the book’s author created, and they bring back wonderful memories of reading under our bed sheets once our parents had told us that we really must go to sleep.

But today our focus is taking us even further back in time, to those books that actually taught us how to read in the first place.

How many of the following books do you remember? And which was your very favourite?


1. One, Two, Three And Away!

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You may not recognise the book series that went by the name ‘One, Two, Three and Away!’, but if we give you some of the names of the characters that featured in the series, then we suspect that the memories will come flooding back rather quickly.

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The characters included Roger Red-hat, Billy Blue-hat and Jennifer Yellow-hat, and book titles included Roger and the Little Mouse, Jennifer Yellow-hat Went Out in the Sunshine, and Billy Blue-hat and the Duck Pond. Does it ring any bells now?

2. Ladybird Well Loved Tales

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The Ladybird ‘Well Loved Tales’ series of books gave us new versions of timeless and classic stories, and if you didn’t read at least one of them as a child then we’d be extremely surprised.

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Example of books in the Ladybird ‘Well Loved Tales’ series include The Enormous Turnip, Chicken Licken, The Magic Porridge Pot, The Gingerbread Boy, The Elves And The Shoemaker and The Three Billy-Goats Gruff. How many of them do you remember reading?

3. Ladybird Key Words

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Those of you who are slightly older (or who’s school hadn’t updated their learn to read books in a while) may remember another series of Ladybird books called ‘The Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme’.

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One of the books in the series was called We Have Fun, and some featured the adventures of Peter and Jane. Do you remember them?

4. The Ginn Reading Programme

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Another series of books that helped our teachers teach us how to read in the 1980s went by the name of ‘The Ginn Reading Programme’.

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Do any of you remember reading one of these when you were at primary school?

5. Spot

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Titles in the Spot series of books by Eric Hill included Spot’s Fun in the Sun, Spot Loves His Mommy and Spot Says Goodnight.

But we most remember Where’s Spot?, which was the first book in the series.

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We remember having to open flaps in an attempt to find the cheeky little pup, only to discover a variety of other animals instead!

6. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly

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Many of you will know the ‘There was an old lady who swallowed a fly’ rhyme, but how many of you remember reading the book that visualised the old lady’s disgusting culinary habits?

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We remember reading it at school, and the fact that it was so grisly was the reason that it was one of our very favourites!

7. Peepo!

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Peepo!, written by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, was called Peek-A-Boo! in the US, and is a classic picture book that was aimed at babies and toddlers.

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We’ll be extremely surprised you don’t at least slightly remember the distinctive front cover!

8. Mr Men

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Everybody has their favourite Mr Men book. Personally, we have a strong affection for the loveable Mr Bump.

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We built up quite the Mr Men book collection as kids, and it’s something that our children still love doing 4 decades later!

9. The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark

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We know that many of you are big fans of The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark by Jill Tomlinson, and we bet that a good number of you read it at school.

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In case you’ve forgotten, The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark is about a young barn owl called Plop who is of course scared of the dark.

10. Topsy And Tim

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Topsy and Tim are characters that have been loved for generations and are still extremely popular today, even featuring in their own TV show!

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We remember reading a very non PC Topsy and Tim book back in the 1980s, where the siblings painted their faces brown to dress up as gypsies for a fancy dress party!

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Sadly that’s all we have time for today. Please do post a comment letting us know which of these books was your very favourite, as well as which book you think that we should have included on the list but didn’t!

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And be sure to share this post with your fellow Eighties Kids, so that they too can reminisce about these wonderful books from our childhood!