Back in the 1950s Melbourne looked like this.
Reading was taught by memorising individual words on cards called flashcards. Before you were given the reader you had to be able to read all the words on the flashcards. If you had a lovely teacher you might play games, like Tic Tac Toe, to help to learn the words. Sometimes you had to stand in line to take turns reading a word. If you got it wrong the other students might laugh at you or you might have to sit in the corner. Or if you had a really mean teacher you might get a whack with a ruler.
If you had older brothers and sisters you probably knew most of John And Betty before you started school because you had heard your siblings read it to your mum many times.
If you were a girl you probably carried your reader between home and school in your school case.
All the desks faced the big blackboard at the front of the room. A lot of time was spent copying information from the board. Left handed students were often not allowed to write with their left hands.
There were certainly no computers, air conditioning, or playgrounds like ours.