Elayne Reiss-Weimann and Rita Friedman originally created the concept of Letter People to teach beginning readers how to "decode" or "sound out" the consonants and vowels that form words. They embodied the basic rules of phonics into stories about these make-believe characters called Letter People. Each letter of the alphabet had a distinct characteristic to help children learn not only the letter but the sound the letter represents in the written word. For example, Mr. N has a Noisy Nose or Mr. T has Tall Teeth. Reiss and Friedman developed the concept as teachers in Nanuet, New York. They later sold the idea to New Dimensions in Education, Inc. which, in turn, developed the concept into classroom programs called Alpha Time and Alpha One. The inflatable, child-sized characters became commonly known as "The Huggables", (see Life Magazine, May 12, 1972) because they were large enough for small children to hug. Eventually, Alan J. Pratt, Ph. D. , a director and vice-president of NDE, Inc. approached KETC-TV, a PBS affiliate in St. Louis, MO about creating a TV series based on the escapades of the Letter People. After five pilot programs were produced, Dr. Pratt approached the Council of Great City Schools (the 20 largest school districts in the Country. ) Eventually, with the cooperation of the superintendents of the Council, NDE, Inc. and KETC-TV a joint venture commenced. The series comprised 60, 15-minute episodes that became extremely popular with children nationwide who were learning to read. To insure phonetic and linguistic accuracy in the television production process, Ruth Lerner from NDE served as the Editorial Supervisor. Alan Pratt, Ph. D. was the Curriculum Consultant for the TV series. Prior to this, The Letter People educational products were copyrighted in 1968 and published by New Dimensions in Education, Inc. (located in Plainview, New York and later Norwalk, Connecticut. ). NDE hired Elizabeth Callen to design the look of the characters in the classroom programs. Tom McDonough of KETC-TV was writer-director of the television series. The Letter People still has thousands of adult fans who remember learning how much fun it was learning to read with the help of The Letter People.