Since 1928, kids have looked forward to the day each week when they’d get their copy of Weekly Reader. It was created by York, Pa. educator Dorothy M. Johnson. She said, “I saw children reading folk and fairy tales and myths, which I adore, and to which there is no objection; but the pupils had no idea of what was happening in the world — not a flicker. The idea came to me that school children needed a paper of their own, especially written, so they could read it.”
Johnson contacted an organization called American Education Press, who agreed to publish the weekly magazine for grades one to six. (It’s now available in Pre-K through high school.) She served as its editor-in-chief until 1971. And through its history it’s been somewhat schizophrenic about whether to call itself My Weekly Reader or just Weekly Reader. For the last decade or so, it’s been the latter.
I think I liked Weekly Reader because it was written on a level for kids. Or maybe it was because we could read it in class, which meant no other lessons for a while. And there was usually cool stuff about sports, or space. Or sports and space. Weekly Reader is now in the Reader’s Digest family and produces specific editions for current events, health, and science. But with the Internet and explosion of media for kids, it can’t have the same impact it once had on kids who looked forward to each week’s issue.