Our Story

Where it all began…

Picture Me Reading was developed in the 1990s by teacher/educational psychologist Dr. Marlys Isaacson, as she sought to help children who were failing to learn to read by the phonics-only approach.  Originally, she was trying to help one child who quickly mastered words when she added a small visual clue to each word.  Soon she had parents and teachers asking her to source materials which used this technique to teach the important high frequency words, but her search turned up nothing.  This is when she decided to produce pictograph cards for all of the Dolch high frequency words herself.  She and her husband, Alan, produced and sold them from their home in San Diego, California.

Our Story

Where it all began…

Picture Me Reading was developed in the 1990s by teacher/educational psychologist Dr. Marlys Isaacson, as she sought to help children who were failing to learn to read by the phonics-only approach.  Originally, she was trying to help one child who quickly mastered words when she added a small visual clue to each word.  Soon she had parents and teachers asking her to source materials which used this technique to teach the important high frequency words, but her search turned up nothing.  This is when she decided to produce pictograph cards for all of the Dolch high frequency words herself.  She and her husband, Alan, produced and sold them from their home in San Diego, California.

A New Beginning

When the Isaacsons were no longer able to continue the business, Karen Shaw and her lifelong friend Marian Daugherty were concerned that Picture Me Reading would no longer be available to children who need an alternative approach to developing early reading skills.  So, in 2017, we purchased the business from the Isaacsons, who, in their words, welcomed us to “the ranks of reading missionaries.” 

We were delighted when Rachel Senior, our digital guru, joined our team.  Her ideas and expertise in digital and print media have greatly enhanced our ability to improve and disseminate our products.

The Team: Marian, Karen & Rachel

Where we are now

We are all truly passionate about helping children and adults worldwide learn to read English.  Thanks to the generosity of Marian’s father-in-law we were able to set up a philanthropic fund in 2020, making it possible to provide materials at reduced cost or free of charge to struggling learners who might not otherwise be able to purchase our cards, in the US, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Australia and other countries, as well as to refugees in Europe who are learning English. 

In 2019 we updated our products, and we will continue to develop new products into the future.  

While others have attempted to emulate Picture Me Reading, we continue to provide the only visual/conceptual high frequency word cards which are simple, affordable, primarily black and white (which makes them less confusing for the learner) and suitable for both children and adults who need support learning to read.

Meet the Team

Marian Daugherty

Co-Owner / Director of Operations

Karen Shaw

Co-Owner / Director of Product Development & Graphics

Rachel Senior

Graphic Designer / Social Media / Digital Guru

Picture Me Reading Board of Directors

Joe Leaser, Marian Daugherty, Karen Shaw, Cormac Shaw