I wonder whether someone knows this material. I have tried to find even pictures on the internet, but to no avail.

They were small, thin books called Reader's Primers or something like that. I'm almost sure they were printed by Longman's and comissioned by the English department of colonies.

They were obviously aimed to teaching English as a second language to the English colonies on the Indian subcontinent before the decolonization.

They were remarkable in their approach and obviously were designed to need an instructor.

An example of their approach:

Page 1 of booklet 1 showed a ink-pen draw of a monkey with the caption "it". Page 2 showed the monkey sitting and the caption "it sits". And so on.

All illustrations were old-style ink-pen drawings, and usually images that people from India or Pakistan whould relate to, including clothes, animals and the like.

  • Does someone remember those booklets?
  • Does someone know a web resource where pictures of it can be found?

Note: I saw those booklets on the 80's and they were from the 30's and early 40's.

  • Are you sure they were called Reader's Primers and not Graded Readers? (Not that this would narrow down the search, on the contrary ...)
    – Tsundoku
    Aug 12, 2016 at 13:17
  • 1
    I'm almost sure they were Reader's Primer. I made a Google Image search for Graded Readers and the have a very contemporary look to them, whereas what I'am looking for have a quaint look to them. Aug 12, 2016 at 13:28
  • @TulainsCórdova: If you have images of what you're looking for, that would be good to include in the question.
    – Flimzy
    Aug 12, 2016 at 14:18
  • @Flimzy That's precisely what I'm trying to find: images. But to no avail. Aug 12, 2016 at 14:19
  • 2
    The nearest thing I could find to an answer was in this eBook. It mentions that some popular primers in colonial India were "Alexander Duff's First Instructor, [and] Alexander Barrie's Collection of English Prose and Verse for the Use of Schools, Selected from Different Authors."
    – fi12
    Aug 13, 2016 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


To be entirely honest, I didn't think I could find this one..but I did (I hope so!)

On this French eBay page, the vendor is selling a copy of Longman's Indian Readers Primer. II 1948.

enter image description here

As you can see above, the book does seem to match of all of your criteria:

  • it is indeed small and thin
  • it is in fact printed by Longman
  • the art style in the book seems to mostly ink pen
  • the book definitely does use animals and other concepts to help teach English (as seen by the peacock on the cover (India's national bird), as well as the Taj Mahal in the background)
  • the book was published within the timeframe that you specify



Honorable mention to @fi12's answer. His finding was indeed very similar to my request. But at last I found images of the books I was looking for. My question was somewhat misleading because I remembered these books as having the word "primer" in their title and they didn't. The name is "New Method Reader".

enter image description here The old Longman's logo enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here


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