The other odd addition to our reading instruction in the 7th grade was a box of color coded sheets with short readings printed on them. They resembled the picture shown above, though ours were for a higher grade level than the illustration. You took a sheet from the box, read it, answered the questions, graded yourself, wrote down your score and went on to the next sheet. The idea was to gradually improve your reading comprehension.
Sadly, the selections were as dull as those early Dick and Jane stories I had endured in 1st grade. I imagine that our principal had fallen for the advertising from McGraw Hill, publishers of these SRA Reading Laboratory boxes. I went to the McGraw Hill web site and see that they still sell updated versions of the same thing. Apparently having children read on their own in these truncated bits frees the teacher to help other kids. It might be a great marketing ploy, but it is a waste of kids’ time. We were better served in other grades by being able to read full length books once we were finished with our other assignments.
Our grade school had a rich library and we went to it frequently. While I had the ambition to read every book there(I was a nerd even in those days!), it never happened. The savvy librarian kept buying new books! And every one was more interesting than anything in that box.