Scott Hanselman

Dick and Jane: Jedi Masters

September 15, 2012 Comment on this post [27] Posted in Musings
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Dick and Jane: Jedi MastersMy 6 year old started First Grade this last week. We've been reading to him and his brother, without fail, every night for their entire lives. It's been awesome to start seeing their little brains firing as they are starting to read on their own.

My wife picked up a copy of the classic 1950s Dick and Jane series since it's what her parents used and how she learned to read. We only made it a few pages in when both boys declared "this is boring!"

"Why is it boring?"

"There are no light sabers! Dick and Jane don't DOOOOOO anything."

So before dinner this afternoon the 6 year old and the 4 year old - the same little boys for whom I wrote The Nerd Parent's Guide: When and how to introduce your kids to Star Wars - and I proceeded to sit down and create Dick and Jane: Jedi Master.

The boys not only wrote all the text but also made all the decisions about the pictures. You can blame me for the poor Photoshop work but the kids get the credit for everything else. We printed it on glossy inkjet paper and stapled it and the boys are THRILLED.

Have fun. PDF at the bottom, thumbnails here.

NOTE: This is a parody, it's not for sale. Don't sue me. Just playin'.


Jump, Sally. Jump up. Flip, Sally. Flip up!Force push, Sally! Force push Tim. Fly, Tim, fly!

Use the Force, Dick. Use the Force, JaneThere is no try, Jane. There is only do. Do, Jane, Do.

We had so much fun doing this. I hope my kids end up feeling empowered to create and remix.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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September 15, 2012 15:08
This is fantastic! My 6 year old son is also a huge Star Wars geek and is also learning to read. You've inspired me to dig up some old books and see if we can't Jedify them!
September 15, 2012 15:11
I think I'll start a Tumblr for this...
September 15, 2012 18:46
I'm 50 - and I learned to read with the Dick and Jane books....
September 15, 2012 20:03
Sheer genious. Unleash the creative power of geek parents and their kids!
September 15, 2012 20:04
Uh, that would be genius. I am so smart, S-M-R-T.
September 16, 2012 0:06
I'm a huge fan of everything I am seeing here. My kids are going to say
1) what the Lightning McQueen is going on here,
and 2) this is better than Gangnam style, dad!.
September 16, 2012 2:15

I read once that the reason Dr. Seuss started writing children's books was repeated comments about how boring the dick and Jane books are. I think your idea has strong company.
September 16, 2012 9:32
You've been reading to him and his brother, without fail, every night for their entire lives. Direct object takes the objective pronoun "him" not the subjective pronoun "he".

Great work nonetheless.
September 16, 2012 11:15
My first grade daughter read it and loved it. Thanks for making it, Scott.
September 17, 2012 2:45
LOVE this.. with 4 kids at home, wish I we had this when they were learning to read!

Thanks Scott.
September 17, 2012 4:05
You might like "the big brown bear, who loved to write software"
September 17, 2012 7:07
Scott - all your posts are fantastic and insightful, but this one just became my favourite by a country mile.

September 17, 2012 9:48
"Brilliant, this is... Appreciate, we must"

Thanks for inspiring us Scott!
September 17, 2012 19:44
My favorite: "Use the force, Dick. Use the force, Jane." The picture alone is a masterpiece!
September 17, 2012 20:56

Please make this book. Do, Scott, Do.
September 17, 2012 21:18
The thing that amazes me the most about this blog post is that with a 6 year old and a 4 year old at home you still have time to do things like this!

I have a 3 year old and a 4 1/2 year old (boys) at home and finding time to do anything including reading your blog is a hard thing to do - oh, wait, that is why I go to work so I can read your blog and do work of course ;)
September 17, 2012 21:37
Thanks friends!

Kathy - I'd love to but I'm afraid I'd get sued twice!

Joshua - Well, we did this together so it was Daddy time AND Kids time.
September 18, 2012 5:53
Awesome! Reminds me of two books I saw recently: Dick and Jane and Vampires, and Darth Vader and Son.
September 19, 2012 5:26
I think you could get away with it as parody. From both sides.
September 19, 2012 19:57
Awesome. I love when pop culture are mashed up this way!
September 21, 2012 8:04
This is great! I'm printing a copy for my 2nd grade daughter.
September 25, 2012 15:47
Excellent work, Scott.

My only other comment, though, is that these are still "look say" readers. They don't really equip children to work out new words for themselves, the way that phonics-based stories would.

It is worth checking out the Bob Books to see if phonics appeals to your understanding of children's cognitive development.
October 03, 2012 12:38
Seriosuly, how do you come up with those ideas?
And more importantly, why do your kids play along?
Most kids that age just want to watch TV and play angry birds all day long.
October 03, 2012 13:36
My kids only get 20 minutes of TV three times a week. Kids should play, IMHO, not watch TV or use computers.
March 18, 2013 7:41
For a little change up, try telling your kids a story at bedtime - it fires a different set of neurons...enjoy!
March 18, 2013 7:43
Oh, totally agree about the TV limit; computer time limit, and video game limit is equally effective.
August 07, 2013 18:53
Dear Scott -- This is great! What a shame it can't be for sale! You seem to have a reeeeeal winner here -- so many people are lighted up with it! Fun for the kids, fun for the parents! And it could be very simple, you could do a whole series -- and you'd have so much fun doing it and probably end up making a potload of money!! Well, now you have the time to design it! Here's to your 2025 book-signing! You're cool parents and you're a cool guy, Scott, and you all have done a wonderfully creative and excellent thing here! The blessings of the Internet...

But Scott... PLEASE -- this is the scourge of the Internet -- How can you be a "former professor" and "book author" and yet be contributing so blithely to the GHASTLY state of the English language crumbling before our very eyes? It breaks my heart to see the viral decimation of our wonderful language, and troubles me greatly that even supposedly educated people (like you) haven't take the time to have a clue about spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Please, pleeeeeease -- our language is important! -- please be willing to take it upon yourself to accept the responsibility of not passing this blase, uncaring attitude on to your children. Please don't pass it on to all who read your blog, as well, as though it's okay that we're turning into a nation of near-illiterates, unable to write our own language correctly.

I was heartened and filled with respect and gratitude to see that when another commenter pointed out a grammar glitch -- you changed it! Bravo! I thank you so much for caring enough to do that. And here are two more...

1. "There's no light sabers!" -- There ARE no light sabers... (plural noun, plural verb) -- what you in essence said/wrote is: "There is no light sabers!" That's not what you'd actually say, is it?

2. "...the same little boys for who I wrote The Nerd Parent's Guide" -- for WHOM I wrote...

With all due respect and enthusiastic appreciation for your creativity, fun, and generosity, Scott --

Sincerely, Nancy E. Wood, Oklahoma City

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.