Origin of the Daddy, I Want to Read books

          Dr. and Mrs. Bryan were serving as Christian missionaries in Africa. They were living in a tent in the Kalahari Desert. It was hot. Dr. Bryan sat at a crude, homemade table in the shade of a large camel thorn tree, waiting for the heat of the day to pass. He was reading a Bible in Setswana to familiarize himself further with this African language.
          His five year old daughter, Victoria, saw him reading. She came up to him and sweetly said, "Daddy, I want to read, too."
          Her father thought about it. There were no books available for Victoria to read in the desert. He would have to write something for her to read.
          Dr. Bryan thought about the different languages he had learned. He thought about the different methods for teaching children, and adults, to read. He pondered how best to teach his daughter to read.
          Dr. Bryan decided to try something new, something he had never seen or heard of before. He obtained a blank piece of paper, a black pen, and a blue pen. He wrote a short reading lesson for his daughter. She was delighted. She slowly but eagerly completed the lesson. That first reading lesson was almost identical to page 1, book 1, of Daddy, I Want to Read.
          Over the next few weeks, Dr. Bryan wrote, rewrote, and organized a beginning reading book for Victoria. He purchased a blank Sarnia Exercise Book, the kind that school children use to write their assignments. The book had forty-eight pages. This turned out to be the number of pages needed for Victoria to learn to read words containing every letter of the alphabet. This is why the Daddy, I Want to Read books are the length they are.
          Over the next few months, Dr. Bryan expanded his daughter's reading lessons to a total of five books. Before she had completed the fifth book, Victoria was reading everything in sight. It seemed unnecessary to have her finish the last book.
          Each of the Bryan children learned to read using the system their father created in the Kalahari Desert. For each child, the books were rewritten to make them better and better. The text of each book was individualized for each child.
          Dr. Bryan wrote these books for the sole purpose of teaching his own children to read. He had no intention of doing anything further with the books.
          While the Bryans were still living in Arica, a British woman took an interest in how the oldest two Bryan children had learned to read. She intended to home school her children, and it was time to teach them to read. Dr. Bryan showed her what he had written.
          "That's clever! May I use that?"
          Dr. Bryan gave her permission, but said she would have to rewrite the books for British spellings and British pronunciations. He also asked her to let him know if it works. Later, after using it, she said it worked quite well.
          Hmm. Perhaps other home school parents would like to use the same books. That is when Dr. Bryan decided to try to publish the books.
          Dr. Bryan wanted to call the books the Kalahari Readers, because they were first written in the Kalahari Desert. In talking to home school mothers, he discovered this was an unappealing title. The mothers much preferred "Daddy, I Want to Read" as the title for the books. These were the exact words Victoria used when she spoke to her father in the shade of the large thorn tree in the desert. The name of the books was changed. The system of using blue and black ink to assist the child in learning to read is still called the Kalahari reading system.

          In the past, when Dr. Bryan had written books or pamphlets, he had illustrated them himself. This time it was decided to hire an artist.
          A young artist who had recently graduated from William Carey University in Mississippi, USA, was chosen. After illustrating the books, she married. Kristen van Lieshout now lives with her husband in South Africa.

(1) About the DADDY I WANT TO READ books

(2) Where did the DADDY I WANT TO READ books come from? (You are on this page)

(3) Who illustrated the DADDY, I WANT TO READ books?

(4) What English versions of DADDY, I WANT TO READ are available?

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