If you are of a “certain age” and learned to read between the 1940s and the early 1960s, chances are good that you read “Dick and Jane” books. A big part of those narratives was “Spot,” who in early books was a terrier, but later became a Cocker Spaniel, possibly because it was such a popular breed.
Spot, Dick and Jane were part of a reading method of teaching known as the “whole word” or “look-say” method of reading. It taught kids to look at each word as a whole unit, and not try to sound it out. The method was created by Williams S. Gray and Zerna Sharp, who believed that the “whole word” method was the ideal way to teach reading.
Kate Kelly does a marvelous job of sharing the story of these early readers which you can read here.