As I wandered aimlessly about in the deep recesses of my mind (read vacuous, not necessarily voluminous) for something… anything… to blog about, I took a mental trip down memory lane and suddenly remembered reading in Mrs. Izette’s 5th grade class. It wasn’t what we read that I remembered, it was how we read.
There was a reading program that we participated in, and for the life of me I could not remember the name of it or details about it. I called my brother who *always* remembers all of these little, trivial, unimportant things - he claims these memories will all be on “the test” and he’s gonna ace it! I described to him my best recollections and waited for him to simultaneously tell me everything about it and scold me for not remembering. But – he couldn’t! I couldn’t believe it! I glanced outside but saw no pigs flying so I figured that he must really be stumped. We each agreed to call the other back if and when we remembered.
…dinner and the evening – nothing.
…late night drafting and Leno – still nothing.
…slept the whole night – no springing up in bed at 3:30 with the answer.
Then – this morning in the shower – I remembered. I shouted out SRA! That’s it! SRA!!!
Having dashed to the bathroom to rescue me from who knows what, I could tell my wife really was glad I was ok through her scolding me for scaring her half to death.
It was called a Reading Laboratory Kit that a company called Science Research Associates (SRA) began in 1957 and teachers used in the classrooms as a reading comprehension tool geared towards individual students. The reading materials were color coded, and as you read, completed and successfully tested all of the lessons in one level, you got to move to the next level, which was another color. And the really cool thing was the Progress Board that was set up in the classroom. For each lesson you completed, a big gold star was put in that space and it was out there for all to see.
I remember vividly that it was fun, a challenge and really encouraged us to read. There was pride in our hearts as kids as we achieved the successive levels and had the gold stars to show for it. I don’t know if I’m actually a better reader or not because I used this program, but I do remember that it was fun, and anytime you can make learning fun for a kid, you’re doing something right.
The internet is awesome. I was able to find some images from an original SRA lesson. For those of you who can remember these – it’ll take you back. For everyone else – here’s how we used to learn, old school! Click on these and they'll open up full size.
And yes, I did call my brother and taunt him that I had remembered it. That’s one for me to his thousands…but it’s one!