This introduction addresses the origins, general assumptions and intentions of the special issue. The guest editors show how reading primers published and used around the end of the Second World War in several European countries may serve as an object of study in different disciplinary contexts. They present a broad working definition of the reading primer as an educational medium that lends itself to interdisciplinary research which takes into account aspects such as visual and textual content, materiality, and societal contexts of production, distribution and usage. The editors further highlight characteristics of current research into primers and argue in favor of more comparative approaches that reveal transnational dimensions of textbooks designed to teach children how to read and write.
Simona Szakács-Behling is a postdoctoral researcher at the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendelin Sroka is an independent educationalist in Essen, Germany, and the speaker of the Reading Primers SIG of the International Society for Research on Schoolbooks and Educational Media. Email: email@example.com