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Reading with and without Dick and Jane

February 15 - March 15, 2013/ AACC Gallery 

Reading with and without Dick and Jane: Objects, Images and Imaginings.

An interactive visual arts exhibition that addresses the politics of identity and literacy in 20th century America.

Reading with and without Dick and Jane

For decades, educators, policy makers and parents have fought over the best ways to teach children to read. The popular Dick and Jane Readers were introduced in 1930 as an innovative way to teach basic vocabulary to young readers. By the 1960s, however, they had fallen out of favor because of what critics identified as their overly simplistic narratives, limited vocabulary, and, later conservative representations of race, gender and class. Dick and Jane would be slowly fazed out of middle class and white school districts in responses, but in underserved poor and working class neighborhoods with limited funds, Dick and Jane would live on despite the criticisms, with newly discovered Black and Brown families at the center of their narratives. This exhibition addressed questions about educational opportunity using some of the most popular children’s books as catalysts for the investigation. Curated by AACC Director Lori Barcliff Baptista. Mounted in conjunction with performances of “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison, Adapted by Lydia Diamond, and Produced by the UIC Department of Theatre and Music, Directed by Derrick Sanders.