Elizabeth Rider Montgomery Julesberg, 82, the woman whose stories about Dick and Jane and Spot the dog helped more than 20 million children learn to read, died Feb. 19 at Providence Hospital here. The cause of death was not reported.
Mrs. Julesberg was the author of more than 70 published books and plays. These included biographies on Henry Ford and Dag Hammarskjold as well as several Northwest adventure novels.
She was a first grade teacher in Los Angeles in 1940 when she wrote the first of the primer series, "We Look and See." Using repetition of simple words and sentences, such as "See Dick run," her grade school reading primers featured the characters Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot.
She began writing her primers because she was "horrified at the available reading books," she once said. "I knew nothing about writing, but I knew children needed books they could get interested in, not those dull things they handed out."
She later signed a long-term contract as a writer with the Scott-Foresman Co., a leading educational book publisher.
Born in Juarez, Peru, Mrs. Julesberg grew up in Independence, Mo., and moved to Seattle in 1946.
She is survived by her husband, Arthur Julesberg; a daughter; a son; a step-daughter; and eight grandchildren.