When I was in preschool and kindergarten in the early 1970s, I learned to read with what I believe we called "Sullivan Workbooks." They featured characters named Sam and Ann, their dog Nip and cat Tab. One of the workbooks is shown in this video and seems to somehow be a part of some Montessori program somewhere. But for all I know, the video might be 25 years old. It gives no information on where these old books might be available.
There is also a series of readers with titles like "Pins and Pans" and "Jars and Jars of Jam." But what I remember most are the workbooks.
Now that I have preschoolers of my own, I would love to get my hands on some of these books, even if they're used. Partly for nostalgia's sake, but partly because I feel like they worked pretty well for me and I might as well try them out with my own kids!
Surely I'm not the only one that learned to read with these...