During the post-war years, the Victorian Education Department formulated plans for a set of new readers for the Infant Department, producing three books:
John and Betty – to be used at the end of the first 6 months after school entry
Playmates – for use during the second year of school.
Holidays – the Grade 2 book for use during the third year of school.
Betty Dorice Sommerville (1921-2008), a teacher at Caulfield South Primary, wrote the text of the John and Betty books. There is no mention of her role in any of the authority statements for the books. The books were created to teach reading in accordance with modern theories such as eye movement, perception, comprehension, and reading readiness.
Victoria. Education Department - Readers
1. John and Betty: the earliest reader for the little ones/ illustrated by Marjorie Howden/ 1951
2. Playmates: The Victorian readers first book/ Illustrated by Marjorie Howden/ 1952
3. Holidays: The Victorian readers second book/ illustrated by Marjorie Howden/ 1953