Eleanor Johnson, 94, the founder and retired editor of the Weekly Reader, a classroom newspaper that is read by two-thirds of America's elementary schoolchildren, died of pneumonia yesterday at her home in Gaithersburg.

Miss Johnson taught in the public schools of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania before she conceived the idea for the Weekly Reader and helped to put out its first edition on Sept. 21, 1928.

The periodical, which has a circulation of 9 million, has come out weekly during the school year ever since.

Miss Johnson said she began developing the concept of a weekly news publication for the classroom because she felt children needed a more realistic view of the world's people and events than they were getting.

"I was an assistant superintendent of schools in York, Pa.," Miss Johnson said in a 1978 interview printed in The Washington Post. "I saw that children were being given a lot of myths and folklore to read but were utterly illiterate about what was happening in the world."

She said the idea for a weekly newspaper tailored to the needs of schoolchildren simmered for a full year before she met William C. Blakey, publisher of the American Education Press in Columbus, Ohio, in the summer of 1928. She told him about her idea, and he liked it.

"On a blistering Sunday in August we met in the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago and on the same day we mapped out policy and framework and format," Miss Johnson said in the 1978 interview. "A month later, he started putting {the Weekly Reader} out."

Miss Johnson returned to her job in York, but she advised members of Blakey's staff on how to write for the new publication and supplied them with model issues for guidance and a workbook that she had developed.

She joined the American Education Press full time in 1935 as editor-in-chief of the Weekly Reader. Within a few years Miss Johnson's idea developed into one of the curriculum staples in classrooms throughout America, and the Weekly Reader became standard fare for millions of elementary school pupils.

Miss Johnson moved to Middletown, Conn., during the 1940s when her publishing company was bought by the Xerox Corp. and its name was changed to American Education Publications.

She retired as editor of the Weekly Reader in 1966 and moved back to the Washington area. During the next 12 years, she continued to work for American Education Publications as a consultant. She maintained regular contact with the editors of the Weekly Reader until her death.

Miss Johnson also had been a visiting professor at Columbia University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Chicago.

A native of Frederick, Md., Miss Johnson graduated from the University of Chicago and earned a master's degree in education at Columbia University. She later received an honorary doctorate in literature from Hood College in Maryland.

Her books include "The Treasury of Literature Readers." She also wrote more than 50 workbooks on reading, arithmetic and geography, and served on the editorial board of Education magazine.

Survivors include one sister, Maria Johnson of Hagerstown, Md.


30, a former accountant with the U.S. Telephone Association, died Oct. 8 at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore of injuries he received in an automobile accident Aug. 27 on Rte. 50 near Annapolis.

A spokesman for the Maryland State Police said Mr. Marceron's car struck the rear end of a tractor-trailer that had stopped on the right shoulder of the road. The driver of the truck was charged with failure to display proper warning devices around the vehicle, police said.

Mr. Marceron, who lived in Annapolis, was born in Washington. He graduated from Parkdale High School in Lanham and attended the University of Maryland at College Park.

He worked for the Night Owl Security Service and was the manager of the Slumberland Furniture Store in Hyattsville before joining the U.S. Telephone Association where he worked until July of this year. Since then he had worked as an independent accountant.

Mr. Marceron was a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve.

Survivors include his father, Ralph A. Marceron of Stafford, Va.; his mother, Patricia Calvert of Laurel and Annapolis; a stepmother, Phyllis Marceron of Stafford; a stepfather, Cameron Calvert of Laurel and Annapolis; two sisters, Jeanne Ring of Greenbelt and Laura Marceron of Burtonsville; three stepbrothers, George Tyson and John Holladay, both of Stafford, and Jeffrey Calvert of Laurel; three stepsisters, Christie Calvert and Karen Ugarte, both of Laurel, and Leigh Smith of Arlington; his grandparents, Elmer and Doris Marceron of Silver Spring, and Florence Riley of Washington.