What odd things do you remember from elementary school readers?
I learned to read in the 1970s. Mostly we had Houghton-Mifflin readers with names like "Panorama," "Kaleidoscope," and "Serendipity," but we also read other things in school.
Some of the weird bits that I remember:
-- A story about a homeless woman who dresses up (including putting on ladies' gloves and lipstick) to go to a grocery store and pretend to shop while she grazes on grapes, etc. She sticks a mop in the cart because she think it will look impressive, like she's doing some serious shopping.
-- A frontier family gets a surprise visit from their congressman, who stays for dinner. There is a family tradition of making fried pies for dessert. One of them is filled with cotton instead of fruit, and whoever gets that pie has to get under the table and be the footstool for everyone else. Of course, the congressman gets this pie and the family tells him not to go through with the "punishment," but he does it anyway to prove he is not better than anyone else.
-- A poem about insect life and so forth in a lawn. They are about to be annihilated by a power mower.
you've got a great memory OP. I learned to read in the mid-80s but don't remember the readers/stories, though now that you mention it I'm sure some of them must have been a bit "off" as well. I wonder if it's possible to find the ones you mentioned on eBay?
I do remember seeing the movie The Peanut Butter Solution when I was little. Only years later when reading the synopsis of the film on wikipedia did I realize how totally messed up it is for a childrens' film.
I suppose just about everything has been more or less Disneyfied in the last twenty years or so.
OP, I love your post. I also learned to read in the 1970's, but i don't remeber any of the stories that you mentioned. Please tell us more.
Beginning in around fifth grade, we used to get [italic]My Weekly Reader.[/italic] They had pop-culture articles mixed in with the educational stuff, and this is where I first remember reading about a teenage singer from England named Kate Bush.
mid-late '60's...Tom, Betty and Susan and their dog Flip. See Flip Run. Come here Flip!
That the smarter kids in third grade in the early 70s got grouped together and their workbook was called "Plum Pudding" and the others workbook was called "Mustard Seed"
The Timber Town flood.
In the 1970s we had a big box of SRA foldout cards that had short pieces that you read, and then answer questions about what you just read. I remember one about the slave trade, and how women would kill infants during the journey because it was so horrifying. I can't believe i was reading that as a ten year old in 1975. There was another about Typhoid Mary with a sinister illustration of a maid stirring a big pot.
That when you were going to watch something on the TV monitors, the teachers would wheel in the TV on a tall cart and was fascinating to watch on the blue screen a big clock that would show the final minutes and seconds counting down before the program would begin...
I was obsessed with the color coding of those SRA achievement test scores R7...
That Peanut Butter Solution movie synopsis is a trip.
I remember a story about a boy who was blinded due to a firecracker mishap. He was really angry about being blinded but calmed down once he bonded with his seeing eye dog. Of course, the dog eventually dies but only after proving itself to be totally loving and brave.
The boy is angry at first about the dog leaving him but soon learns that other blind kids have rage issues and need loving dogs. So he becomes an advocate for blind kids and seeing eye dogs.
I remember crying in class when we got to the death scene. Blubbering at my desk. How mortifying.
yes r9! Typhoid Mary was in the green ones, and the slave narrative was a sort of goldish brown. I can't believe i remember these.
Isn't that fun that we remembered those?
I remember the Timber Town Flood! High drama for a third grade reader. I haven't thought about that for years.
When I began teaching in 1973 I taught third and fourth grades, and we used Panorama and Kaleidoscope. It was a pretty good program.
An older teacher retired and gave me all her old Dick and Jane paraphernalia. I'm thinking of taking those cutouts and pictures to Antiques Roadshow.
A story called Hannah Is A Palindrome. A teacher says to her student Hannah that she is a palindrome. Before the teacher can explain to Hannah what a palindrome is, the teacher is called out of the room. While the teacher is away the other kids start making fun of Hannah and teasing her about being a palindrome, even though they don't know what a palindrome is. One student, Otto, was especially cruel. While he got his when he found out at the end of the story that he too is a palindrome!
From The Peanut Butter Solution:
[quote]the recipe of a magical formula for hair growth, the main ingredient of which is peanut butter... After only a few minutes, Michael has grown a full head of hair. Suspicious of his fast growing follicles, Connie confronts Michael about his unusual ability. When Michael reveals to him his concoction, [bold]Connie decides to apply some of it to his nether region in an attempt to cheat puberty's timeline[/bold].
Damn, that shit is fucked up!
Courage wears a crimson coat
Trimmed with trappings bold
Knowledge dons a dress of note
Fame's is cloth of gold
Far they ride and fair they roam
Much they do and dare
Grey-gowned Patience sits at home and weaves the stuff they wear
I wish I could remember the name of the book I loved in 4th grade - the Bully of Something Street?
Anyway, we did SRAs during our "work at your desk" portion of the school day which was all morning while our teacher read romance novels and I am pretty sure recovered from her hangover before she did any teaching. I finished the whole box of SRAs by about December and asked what should I do next? I got to read whatever library books I got that week and do a little Q&A on them.
SRA's rocked, especially once you got past the primary colored ones and into the exotic colors.
My favorite was the one about the valley in Alaska where all the fruits and vegetables grew to very large sizes--something about exactly the right combination of climate and soil. I've never heard abut that valley since then.
SRA's and the endless collection of ancient National Geographic magazines (give me the old ones before they started putting the photos on the cover any day) the school had were all that kept me sane.
In our school it was a great badge of status to be in one of the more advanced reading groups that was plowing through Galaxies, Serendipity, Diversity...
OP here... I found the text of the power mower poem online. I still think of it occasionally when I mow the lawn.
ALL IN THE PATH OF A POWER MOWER
Up, your balance broken, reeling from
The alcohol of too much sun ﬁrsthand
Almost as much as from this maelstrom near,
Up and six-point landing, miller moth!
Up, as quick almost as mantis arms,
Up, by apprehension quartered in
Your long and knickered legs, shoot up, grasshopper,
You triggered expert of the meadow shot!
Up, barely, in a most unworthy arc,
Old butterball, old mower meat, old toad,
Jumpy as a bug but so obese,
Hold in your cold and silver belly now!
Down, down, raw worm, or else your jig is up!
Go lickety-split to the roots of things, go down
From head to tail, which ever's which, go down
As though a light beam bit you in the night.
And down, down dead, you go, red marigold,
Whose head the rain beat down before our way,
Down, snipped, although your smell, up and around,
Escapes so lovely, death escapes my mind.
r18, that is the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, just north of Anchorage. You've heard a lot about it since; you just didn't realize it because it is the former home of DL's favorite former Alaskan.
We get all our (organic) local produce from there. There are giant vegetable competitions every year, especially for cabbages. The farmers' markets here sell a lot of very large zucchini, though I can't imagine who buys them.
R1, I had to sit through the Peanut Butter Solution many times in the early 90s (born in '87) because I spent a lot of time at a friend's house who LOVED it. Even as a small child I always secretly thought that movie was fucked up as hell and bordering on disturbing.
I remember Hannah is a Palindrome too, R14! How old are you?
My mom worked for a textbook publisher, and got her hands on this interesting gem, first published in 1973. I remember it was a textbook, and was intended for 6th grade reading level (I was in 3rd grade and was a voracious reader). The stories in this book were fantastic and a bit trippy. I don't remember any of them specifically, but I think this book had an excerpt from "James and the Giant Peach." The front cover is interesting, for sure.
I was in elementary school in the 80s, and our 1st grade readers were called "Sun Up", "Happy Morning", "Magic Afternoon", and there were a couple other ones after that.
Did anyone else have in class book orders? My mom never let me get anything while other kids used to get stacks of books every month.
[quote]-- A story about a homeless woman who dresses up (including putting on ladies' gloves and lipstick) to go to a grocery store and pretend to shop while she grazes on grapes, etc. She sticks a mop in the cart because she think it will look impressive, like she's doing some serious shopping.
Did she live in a train or bus station? That sounds very familiar.
I loved book order day!
As a voracious reader, I usually had the largest order in class every time!
I managed to collect about 15 of the Garfield books through the book club, until I got too old and my Mom wouldn't let me order books anymore. :(
The Scholastic book sale was awesome. Periodically the teacher wouuld distribute catalogs and later set up the bookshop in an unused classroom. I begged my Mom for a few dollars and pored over the catalog to make sure I spent my money wisely.
Of course, the only purchase I can remember making was the Isis sticker book. I'm male.
Yes, R24. I remember those book order forms. Such fun.
[quote]I wish I could remember the name of the book I loved in 4th grade - the Bully of Something Street?
That was THE BULLY OF BARKHAM STREET. The best thing about it was that it was a companion piece to a book called A DOG ON BARKHAM STREET. They told parallel stories of a bully and his victim and you got to see both sides.
The funniest episode was when the dumb bully borrowed his father's boots, got them wet and tried to dry them in the oven. He forgot about them and they burned and curled up and he hid them on the back porch.
R10's story could be the book FOLLOW MY LEADER. Leader was the name of the guide dog. I don't remember the dog dying but I last read it 35 years ago so maybe he did.
I can remember the Dick and Jane books to a vague extent. The first few were soft covers. As they progressed in reading levels the illustrations got smaller to allow for more words to read. The first hardcover Dick and Jane book was yellow and I think Dick is pulling a wagon.
I remember images of the kids at play and what they looked like. I think they always wore the same clothes. Dick, Jane, and Sally were siblings and had a dog named Spot. Their neighbors were Mike and his twin sisters Penny and Pam who were AA and they had a cat named Puffy. Their parents weren't featured much.
There were other kids introduced as friends too such as Pete, the blonde kid who couldn't eat corn on the cob at a picnic because his front teeth were missing. He also had a birthday watermelon half with candles in lieu of a regular birthday cake due to some mishap. There was also a girl named Susan. I think she was in a story that involved dealing with a large can of peaches that fell out of the cupboard and injured Granny's foot. There was a girl named Bunny but forget her story .
The only other thing I remember is the time they made a cardboard box playhouse in the back yard probably using sharp instruments in doing so since it had cut out windows and a door. They used a poky umbrella with the cloth cut off to use as a pretend TV antenna.
Though this site is based in Canada, I think the majority of these books were issued throughout North America (many of the texts listed in this thread appear there). An incredible selection that brings back a lot of school day memories.
I remember the book orders as well! Was that tied into those rolling book cases that would come into the school sometimes? I remember they were these huge long boxes on wheels that came in and got set up in the gymnasium. there was a lock on the one end and hinges at the other, and when it got opened up it was bookshelves full of books.
Yes, SRA cards! I had forgotten about those completely, but now I do remember how crucial it was to get to the exotic colors. I lived for that, I think.
I remember a reading book in 2nd grade called "How It Is Nowadays." It might have been in that book, or in a very similar one, where there was a story about a family that accidentally served horse meat at a cookout. I recall being very upset by that.
We had the Sullivan readers with Sam and Ann, their dog Nip and cat Tab, and their favorite word, "tan." This was the early Seventies.
The SRA one that stuck with me was the one about the vet who's cat patient wouldn't eat and they tried everything. Finally he opened the cat's mouth and it was stuck closed with tartar.
Oh we also had some kind of Catholic Dick and Janes. They were forever going to church and they were from the 60s Pre-Vatican II and I bet their illustrations are even campier.
As a child I was obsessed with the book "Follow My Leader," because I dearly wanted a German Shepherd. I wrote to The Seeing Eye in New Jersey, about someday becoming a guide dog trainer. I even tried to train my dog to follow guide directions.
The dog Leader did not die in the end. Jimmy learned to accept his blindness, and forgave the kid who threw the firecracker in his face.
Thanks for the nostalgia, OP. I seem to remember Serendipity having a story about these kids who discover the meaning of serendipity by searching for items around the house.
I read "Follow My Leader" too... I was just thinking about that book the other day and how hard it must be to go out and relearn the world as a blind person. I remember the blind teacher / mentor in that book teaching the kid how to listen to traffic at an intersection and be able to tell which way it was going.
I loved those Day glo colored school readers... I had a pretty crappy home life so I was a voracious reader. While the class would only read a few stories out of the readers, I would read them all.
My favorite reader story was in the 7th grade reader.. probably because it was the only story buried in all the boring grammar chapters. It's about this kid who excels at creative writing and he's so convinced that his bland, boring English teacher is an alien that he writes stories about it to try to provoke the truth out of the guy. His grades on the stories get increasingly worse until he's sent to the principal's office. The principal reveals that he's the one who's actually the alien and tells the kid that "back home" they all love his writing. Then he zaps the kid off to his home planet. The accompanying illustration is of the kid's feet in socks, wriggling near the ceiling as he's warping away.
Holy shit! I have searched for books for that series, OP. I used to know all of their titles. The 'net doesn't even have a mention of them. You really blew my mind.
Went on EBAY and found this image of the SRA color coded chart system
I fondly remember a book called "Miss Osborne- the-Mop," about a girl with magical powers, who brings a dust mop to life.
Another favorite was the mystery, "Key To The Treasure," because the story had puzzle clues to solve as the children searched for the treasure.
I must be your age, OP, because all those reader titles sound familiar - though I don't recall any of the stories you mention.
One of my favorite books as a kid was "What's For Lunch, Charly?" about a kid who forgets his lunch one day and goes into town to eat at a fancy hotel. I bought a used copy a few years back to re-read and it is hysterical, but not for the reasons I remember. During Charly's lunchtime adventure he goes into a men's clothing store that has a stuffed beaver in the window. The sexy French saleswoman asks if she can help him and he replies, "Yes, I would like to see your beaver, please." I about fell out of my chair laughing so hard.
I learned to read with the "Janet and Mark" series starting in 1970. Janet was a red-head with a wedge haircut, and her brother, Mark was a blond with a buzz cut. Their dog was Spot, and their black friends were Ann and David. I memorized the first book after I read it. Does anyone remember these? The series of books, as I remember went: "Janet and Mark," Outdoors and In," "City Days, City Ways," "Around the Corner," "Real and Make-Believe."
R23 I had totally forgotten about those until now!
The sun is up.
Good morning Buffy.
Good morning Mac.
How do I remember this?!
I was such a dorky bookworm as a kid in the 1970s that I loved to read at home old school textbooks that my family had somehow acquired. I had a variety of them dating from the 1930s up to the 50s.
A few tales that stick out in my mind had Halloween themes. One involved two girls dressed as pumpkin-heads who follow the wrong clown and crash a party where they discover to their temporary horror that they know no one. Another was about two cousins, a boy and a girl, who dress as identical brown bunnies and fool their parents by going home from a party each to the other's house. These were accompanied by typical 50's style shiny-cheeked illustrations.
The third was written in play-script form and was from a much older textbook. It was called "Earth Magic" and it was about a witch and her goblin children who come to visit a mortal family on Halloween. The mortal kids discover that the modern conveniences of a 1930s house are far more "magical" than the spells the witch and her children can cast. The witches have to chant and turn somersaults to make a glass of water appear where we simply open up a tap, etc. This was especially memorable because of all the outdated "earth magic" it extolled including short-wave radio ("on a clear night we can pick up Chicago!"), and a telephone where you had to give the operator the number of the party you wished to speak to, starting with with a word-number combination like HYacinth-5 or KEndall-3.
I also learned to read in the 1970s. I vaguely recall the first synopsis you list, OP.
There are two scenes I remember vividly from my readers. I was an advanced reader two grades ahead so I don't remember if I was in the first grade reading the third grade reader or in the third grade reading the fifth grade reader.
Anyway, one is about the Night of the Leonids. I think that was the name of the story. In it, some kids watch the meteor shower. I just remember that scene where they're watching them fall through the night sky.
I'm not sure if they other scene is part of that same story but it's about some kid or kids who run away for some reason. They take a boat and are on a lake. One of them packs up some supplies including: bananas, chocolate chip cookies and I think milk. I'm pretty sure there's a mystery element to this scenario. I wish I could remember more. Anyone recognize those scenarios?
R43, I LOVED that book. In my case, one of my older cousins owned it and I'd read it any time we visited them. One day it was gone, and my aunt said they'd given those old books away. It wasn't until the Internet that I was able to research the exact title and author and get a copy, and like you I laughed my ass off at the beaver line. Remember the lunch he thought was so luxurious- tomato soup, fried chicken, fruit salad, and chocolate cake?
R37, we had the Catholic readers. The kids were Judy, John, and Jean instead of Jane, Dick, and Sally. This was the early 70s and we girls couldn't believe the girls in the readers wore those puff-sleeved dresses all the time.
Oh yes, we also had the Scholastic book-buying parties. Man, that was a trip to order all those cheap books and then have them arrive in class. My dad was very restrictive but he let me have as many books as I wanted. I probably bought five or six books at a time.
Also loved My Weekly Reader and Highlights! Remember Highlights?
A couple of stories I remember from readers and have never been able to trace: one about a black girl who is either asked to be her white teacher's bridesmaid along with white classmates, then un-invited, or expects to be asked but isn't. Either way it's because the community is racist. Another story about a Hawaiian girl making leis for some kind of contest. I'm sure I'll think of more.
As a dorky bookworm, loved the Scholastic book sales and still have some of my favorites, like "What the Witch Left" and "The Snow Ghosts."
Wss traumatized by an SRA story about Laika the space dog. I burst into tears in class.
I remember he Houghton-Mifflin reading series as an absolute status symbol within the narrow confines of elementary school. What "reading book" you had was a badge of honor or the reason to make fun of and tease the "stupid" kids who were below your reading level, even more so if they were below the average level of the class.
On the surface, it would seem good, kids valuing intelligence. But, it was really just another way for kids to be cruel to one another.
I was always in the highest reading group. I don't remember all the names, only Tapestry, Sunburst, Passports, Impressions, and Serendipity.
I remember a lot of the stuff in this thread.
R24 I remember those book orders, I would sometimes order from them but I didn't get tons of books like some kids did. I remember one month my 5th grade teacher forgot to send in everyone's order and they got mad at her. I'll write more about her later though.
I remember in 1st grade we had the Houghton-Mifflin books and there was one that had elves on the cover my friend had at his house called "Kicking up our heels" and another one that we read from that had all sort of animals on the cover that were all rainbow colored.
I was born in 1983 and always in the top reading levels in all of my classes but I didn't make fun of the kids who were in the lower levels.
In 2rd grade I remember reading from a Houghton-Mifflin book that had a tree that was full of cats on it. We read some story where some guy has all of these clocks in his house but he doesn't understand the concept of seconds or minutes so when they all show different times he gets very confused.
In 3rd grade I read from some Houghton-Mifflin book that had kids on a beach on the cover.
I remember we had some reading contest and they gave out pins like this if you read so many books, and then you got a cupon for free pizza at pizza hut. I posted a picture of one in the URL.
They also gave us Weekly reader and there were Hilights magazines in our elementary school classroom.
I also remember the book fairs and in 3rd grade the teacher next door to mine got angry since all of her students ordered books in the "Scary stories" series. I just had the 2nd one "More scary stories".
I remember reading books by Gary Paulsen like Hatchet and Canyons.
In 4th grade I remember our teacher reading us books from the Indian in the cupbboard series, having to read a book called "A castle in the attic", and my teacher read us an early goosebumps book about a mummy. By the time I was in Jr. HS everyone read those book by R.L. Stein and the Fear Street books. I also remember reading the book Island of the blue dolphins, the Narnia series, and Bridge to Terebithia.
My 5th grade teacher was by far the WORST teacher I have ever had. I was reading the book "Where the red fern grows" and one day when it was raining outside at recess I stayed in and read the entire book and I told my teacher and she accused me of lying. This was a woman who let a kid in our class choke on a piece of candy while she was next door talking to the teacher there about some guy she was dating or something that got her hot and bothered in her trashy romance novel she was reading at the time.
I never saw that movie about Peanutbutter.
I remember in 2nd and 3rd grade we had the Open Court reading system. It told the story of Millie and her friend the cowboy. They were searching for 5 blocks (A, E, I, O, U) and if they found all five, they got ice cream. It was phonics-based, and each letter had an associated sound. You would say the name of the item twice, then make the sound of the letter. To wit:
Beating heart, beating heart, b b b
Angry cat, angry cat, f f f
Percolator, percolator, q q q
And so on. I loved it, because every day was a little cliffhanger.
Slightly off topic, but I'm 50, and I'm amazed by how much science I know from watching the old Bell Telephone science movies. Produced by Frank Capra and with animation by Hanna Barbera, they were fantastic movies.
If I ever had a kid I would buy it a set of SRA's and those movies on DVD and call it good.
"Mystery by Moonlight" was the best thing I ordered from Scholastic. I read it over and over and it's still on a shelf in my old room. I vaguely remember "What the Witch Left."
"We get all our (organic) local produce from there. There are giant vegetable competitions every year, especially for cabbages. The farmers' markets here sell a lot of very large zucchini, though I can't imagine who buys them."
Hey, but you forgot Matanuska Thunderfuck, a very popular strain of cannabis.
Thanks for the SRA flashback, [R41]. Those cards kept me from going insane with boredom in first and second grade.
You READ those SRA stories? I'm impressed. I just copied the answer keys and then returned to whatever insipid Happy Hollister book I had brought from home.
I still have a few of my favorite SBS books: "Old Bones, the Wonder Horse" is sitting in the bookshelf across from me right now.
For some reason I keep remembering this title: Mystery on the Nine Mile Marsh. It might have been a SBS book.
thanks for the link r31.
What amazes me is that nowadays, kids read a lot earlier and faster. First graders are reading at the (old) Third Grade level.
Does anyone remember Aware. It was an SRA style lab for the senses. There were readings, scratch and sniff cards, and other stuff.
(By the way, back in the 80s and 90s I was a elementary school textbook editor. If you want the down and dirty, just ask.)
the unnecessary glorification of fish
Dick and Jane were changed to John and Jean in the Catholic series because Dick and Jane aren't saints' names.
Tuck Everlasting was my favorite.
To whomever wrote: "In the 1970s we had a big box of SRA foldout cards that had short pieces that you read, and then answer questions about what you just read. I remember one about the slave trade, and how women would kill infants during the journey because it was so horrifying. I can't believe i was reading that as a ten year old in 1975. There was another about Typhoid Mary with a sinister illustration of a maid stirring a big pot."
I was just trying to remember the name of those cards. Then it came to me "SRA cards!" I went to Catholic school and I remember them clearly. I was quite clever and loved being ahead of everyone else. I very often would just answer the questions at the end without reading the story and would do quite well. (I only did that to be ahead of the other kids. I confided what I did to a classmate "the boy had a crush on me and thought drawing attention to himself, even when it was by telling the nun that was our teacher in fourth grade, was a good thing!" I had to go to confession for that one because I lied to the nun about what I did. Anyway, I loved the stories and getting ahead in the colors. Memories! My daughter got a couple of the cards as gifts for doing something good in first grade. She went to Catholic school at the time and was given the story cards from a nun. I remember at the time what a blast from the past that was.
Wow, this is a trip down memory lane. I remember reading a random SRA/weekly reader story about a man who had to drive a long distance at night. A big point was made in the story about him not staring at the road or anything too long or else he would fall asleep at the wheel.
In hindsight it seems like an odd story for a first grader to read but it really stayed with me for some reason.
When I did a lot of road trips in my college days and it was my turn at the wheel on night drives, I always remembered that story. There were a few times I felt myself getting a little tired and I would flash back to that story and remember to not stare at the road too long if it felt like I was going into a trance.
anyone do Great Books? Loved SRAs. Not in a reader, but I'm pretty sure we were still in elementary school when we first read The Lottery. That story STILL fucks me up, why should children have to read it? and Ray Bradbury and Madeline L'Engle stories. Too weird. The Egypt Game is another wacko book that stands out. 70s were a weird time to grow up.
That if you're a Mary you get to hang out with Dick.
I did Junior Great Books in 6th grade (1976-77). I have the texts right here, in fact. Deeply disturbing selections: Ray Bradbury, "The Veldt." Jack London, "To Build a Fire." John Steinbeck, "Flight." A few more innocuous ones, but guess which stayed with me.
My second grade reading book had a profile of Connie Chung in it.
Scholastic Books I remember --
Crazy Room Kids
The Forgotten Door
The Witches Bridge
One about Norwegian kids smuggling the nation's gold out of the country after the Nazi invasion
I remember Aware and I remember John Jean and Judy.
I remember an SRA story about translation of fiction from British English to American English. (The author had her story translated and saw her solid dress in America made into a print dress for British publication).
I remember a story that I thought was about someone going to the hospital to get their toenails removed. Later I realized it must have been tonsils.
YES R74, I remember all of those. The Veldt. Do you remember one about a kid with one lung who was a skateboarder who got hit by a car and died? I don't think he had a mother either.
Lol. Houghton-Mifflin readers. In grade school, reader level was a BIG status symbol if you were advanced and the basis of much teasing if yo were "slow" and lagging behind.
We had a class called "reading".
No, I didn't have that one, r72; sounds suitably macabre.
[quote]One about Norwegian kids smuggling the nation's gold out of the country after the Nazi invasion
What a great book.
I remember REACHING OUT with a dolphin on the cover. It had a story about the understudy to Dorothy in THE WIZ on tour. I think it was Lillias Whtie. I knew then I was a queen.
What about that 3 birds 1 stone stuff? Was that SRA? Reader's Digest?
Open Court! "Baby pig, Baby pig, i i i!"
I was pretty obsessive compulsive about TAB Book Club when I was a kid. My favorite (which I believe I actually carried to school with me daily in my Trapper Keeper) was called "Alfred Hitchcock's Tales of the Macabre." My favorite story was "The Velvet Ribbon" about a man who marries a woman who won't take off the velvet ribbon around her neck. While she is asleep on their wedding night, he snips it off with scissors and her head rolls off as her severed head says "I TOLD YOU NOT TO TAKE OFF MY VELVET RIBBON!" Scared the shit out of me.
I also subscribed to Dynamite magazine which was offered through Scholastic Book Club. My mother sent me an issue she found in the basement a few years ago...."The Facts of Life Girls Tell All!" So awesome.
I had a reader in fifth or sixth grade that had a series of long short stories. One was about a bunch of neighborhood kids going down to the local furniture store and seeing one of those console stereos (this was the 60s) and by deding the price tag, they learned it was not the "Latest model just in!" but actually several years old. The confronted the salesman and made him admit his lie.
Kids aren't encouraged to confront anyone but suspected sex or fashion offenders and smokers, these days.
Either R53 and I are around the same age or my elementary school was more ass-backwards and out of date than I thought it was.
>> My favorite story was "The Velvet Ribbon" about a man who marries a woman who won't take off the velvet ribbon around her neck. While she is asleep on their wedding night, he snips it off with scissors and her head rolls off as her severed head says "I TOLD YOU NOT TO TAKE OFF MY VELVET RIBBON!" Scared the shit out of me.
R85? This also came as a 45 record - and, on the record, she wails, "I TO-O-O-O-OLD YOU YOU'D BE SOR-R-R-RRY...", as her severed head rolls away, 'in the moonlight' - and yes, it scared the shit out of us, too. :)
The title of an SRA story - The Kidnapping of Sun Yat Sen.
We had the Weekly Reader beginning in first grade. I remember a WR story from second grade about the Wuppertal monorail built in Germany in 1900. It was supposed to have provided the inspiration for Disney World having monorails suspended above the Magic Kingdom instead of trains on the ground.
More than a century later, the rail transportation in the U.S. can't begin to compare with what was built in Germany in 1900.
I used to love Dynamite magazine. I remember the covers of so many - What's Happening, Shaun Cassidy & Chewbacca(!), Laverne and Shirley & King Kong (!!). Do you remember "Bummers"?
I remember in 3rd grade my teacher reading us this story about a boy who befriends the new girl in town, and the start hanging out in a treehouse that they get to by taking a rope swing over a river... I could just never recall the name of it. Then a few years ago I watched the movie "A Bridge to Terabithia", and realized that was the book.
Do you remember the film about biology/heart-rates with the hummingbird and the elephant?
r30, See Spot run. Go Dick. Go Jane. Go Dick and Jane. Spot ran and ran and ran.
I don't remember any of the SRA stories, but I remember the colours!
Were you SRA readers in the US or Canada?
I remember a reader that included a Barbar story - that disturbing one with the faces painted on the behinds of the elephants.
Anyone read The Toybox or Surprise (grade one)?
Hemo The Magnificent!!!
1957 (It was over 10 years old when I saw it).
On YouTube in two parts.
I remember a bicycle safety manual from grade school. In it, they'd have little scenarios. One I vividly recall was the story of Ruth. Ruth and her friend were riding their bikes and discussing the upcoming school dance. The thought of a school dance was very glamorous to this Catholic grade school boy.
Anyway, the dialogue went some thing this- "Ruth had her head low and was pumping hard. She didn't see the open car door up ahead. Ruth hit the car door and was SCARRED FOR LIFE!" The printers used the all-caps.
We'd get these brochures every year. My grade must have gotten a new printing at some point because I remember the illustrations where Ruth had a very 1950s look to her but then one year Ruth looked very very mod and 60s-ish.
Australian DLeldergay here - was at a catholic school in the late sixties before transferring (thank god!) to a state school...
LOVED the SRA cards tho' - was always a good reader (and ended up in bookselling and publishing - LOL!). Didn't get them at the state school out of memory - they probably couldnt afford 'em...
The only individual one I can remember well was an exotically olive/brown coloured card that was about life in the future called "in 2058" or something like that - sure it was partially to blame for instilling a life-long love of SF in me... :)
When younger still - Before working up to SRA we also had a system called "words in color' (only we spelt it colour!) which was a series of charts breaking down the language into phonetics and - ta da! - colours!
I really think they were a great way of learning to read - but at some point the charts and colors grew so advanced and complex that I don't think the nuns or lay teachers - let alone the kids! - could follow them anymore and so they were kind of put aside and forgotten about...
And of course - if you were in anyway colorblind - forget about it being of any use!
Appeals to me now 'cos it seems such a geeky, anally retentive way of trying to breakdown and classify the language and learn it. I'm sure it was the result of some really expensive and mammoth university education research project somewhere that no doubt went on for years...
Does anyone also remember something called 'The Ecology Kit'?
It was a big magnetic board with an idyllic cartoon small town on it. Then there were possible infrastructure projects you could add to it - like a hydroelectric dam, a mine, highway, etc - all of which were magnetic overlays that could go onto the town picture. The idea was that the pros and cons of each project would be debated by the class & then voted on.
The teacher created the nightmare scenario of putting ALL of the projects up and thereby destroying - or at least changing irrevocably - the little town - so we all understood the importance of carefully choosing what we voted for. I seem to remember that the only one we all could agree on voting for was the hydroelectric dam scheme. 'Clean' energy seemed like a good idea even then - tho the scale of the dam catchment and the flooded area behind is was grossly underplayed...lol!
Anyway - the other thing that sticks in my head about it was that I'm almost sure it was produced for schools by the Coca Cola corporation - ?? I'm prepared to be mistaken here - but I swear that's what we were told...
Does kinda seem unlikely now??
In first grade, the nun who taught us would spend each day telling us a story that had a war, a bunch of people conflicted over morals, a bishop or two, some royalty, more conflicts both military and moral, and love.
Years later I realized she had told us Les Miserables.
I would love to have a copy of H-M's "Serendipity" to read through and keep. It was my "advanced" fifth grade reading text and I remember it being full of weird stories and (especially) 70s-era psychedelic graphics and art.
It was the era of "The Electric Company" on PBS. Bold colors, weird patterns, and generally a lot less tight-assed control than seems to be the rule today for material aimed at kids.
Now I'm on a mission to find a copy somewhere and report back
My first grade teacher had a mug on her desk that read "Women in search of men who aren't gay, married, or hung up on their mothers." I was a precocious reader and asked her what it meant. The next day it was gone.
And I totally misunderstood the question. Ignore me and carry on.
I abhor the term "reader" for a book. It seems as if the book is the one doing the reading. It also reminds of the only one of my teachers who ever used the term, an elderly, hunchbacked woman with a backwoods Southern accent who'd say things like, "Now get out your readers, boys and girls." In her voice, the word sounded so infantile and contemptible. It wasn't until I was older that I realized she wasn't the only one who used that term. Until then, I had thought she either coined it to refer to a book or that only people from her part of the country used it.
R79, were the people who were slow and lagging behind in the "reading" class? Were you one of them?
[quote]I fondly remember a book called "Miss Osborne- the-Mop," about a girl with magical powers, who brings a dust mop to life.
Thank you, r42!!! I've always remembered that story, but couldn't recall the title. I think I read it sometime in the late 70s or very early 80s, and loved it. Now I'm going to see if I can find it online somewhere. :-)
Does anyone remember Amelia Bedilia? She was a very literal-minded housekeeper who when told to do things like "Glue yourself to your seat" would do just that. You're probably not laughing now but in kindergarten that kind of material killed.
R105, I remember Amelia Bedilia. In one particular story, she was a substitute teacher and a list of instructions prompted her to call roll. Instead of seeing which students were present, she put a dinner roll on a desk and started saying, "Roll...here roll!" (as if calling a dog). I don't know why that shit stood out, but I thought her stories were entertaining enough.
Anyway, what the hell is a reader? Would "Highlights" be considered a reader?
For some reason I was sent to a Christian school even though I was Catholic and we had these religious readers all starring a boy named Ace and his female friend Paige, she had bangs and to this day when I see a woman with those full forehead bangs I think of Paige
r17, it was "The Bully of Barkham Street", which told the bully's side of the story during the same timeline that occurred in the book "A Dog on Barkham Street". Those were good books. It teaches you people aren't necessarily as they appear.
Veronica Ganz and her nemesis Peter
When I was in 3rd grade I would be sent by myself periodically to one of the 6th grade classrooms to use the cards in their SRA box. I think it was for students reading above 6th grade level, but I don't think of the 6th graders at the school were able to use them. Were the cards in a box intended for a specific grade level, or were they for multiple grades?
The only story I remember was a biography of Ralph Bunche. I have no idea why, but it's something that has stuck in my head all these years.
I'm 52 and also had Tom/Betty/Susan and their idiotic dog, Flip. I also remember a book our 4th grade teacher read out loud to us, about a boy in the London Blitz and his pet greyhound.
Don't know if it was mentioned already but does anyone else remember the story "Stone Soup" which was about a poor family where the mother made soup (bet you can't guess the surprise) from stones.
I also remember there was a set of Disney books and recordings which were designed to promote good citizenship. One of the recordings featured the litterbug song. "Litterbug, litterbug, shame on you. Look at all the terrible things you do."
Stone Stoup is a strange story about grifters who trick villagers into giving them food. It teaches children how with a little guile to live off the industry of others without contributing anything yourself.
Stone Soup was the story of soldiers who were back from fighting for their country but found themselves among villagers who held them in contempt and wouldn't treat them with basic decency, despite the soldiers' sacrifice.
A little off topic but does anyone else remember a film that was showed repeatedly in elementary school (70'S] about a witch and her magic pancakes? People ate them and saw colored dots, and tripped out..
I remember watching this sitting indian style, in the auditorium many times
Anyone remember "Cricket" magazine? I recall being shocked that they published a poem about a little girl sleeping nude and doing a "Gwendolyn naked dance" in front of her mirror.
And did anyone else see the "Noisy Nancy" filmstrip? I vividly remember that one too, because for days afterwards if anyone was overly loud in the classroom they were forced to sit in the "Noisy Nancy chair." The shame of it all...
I vaguely remember Cricket magazine. I think I was reading it before I moved onto the more adult and hipper Dynamite.
I remember our books came in the form of manuals. It was multiple stories bound into into one.
( Did anyone else have that?) ( Or was that a poor folk thing)
Anyways I recall one story about a family, with two kids, who were going to school, and everyone morning the bus drove pass their house. The kids forgetting their lunch. The m other rushing to bring it to them.. etc. something of that sort
My kindergarten Dick, Jane & Sally reader had a picture-story we read on the last day of classes. It showed Puff, the cat, nosing around the kids as they cut out paper animal faces and covered the backs in glue. In the final panel poor Puff looked up with the paper face of another animal stuck to her nose, obscuring her own face as the children pointed and laughed.
Our teacher playfully told us that since this was the last day of reading class, it looked like Puff would have to remain that way all summer. Being tender-hearted and extremely gullible, I felt awful for Puff that Dick, Jane and Sally were going to make her stay like that.
Our cafeteria made home made yeast rolls. And we had that govt. surplus butter to go with them. I think this is where I became dependent on carbs.
I remember a disturbing story, and now that OP mentioned "Serendipity," I think it was from that reader. It was about a family away from home, and the grandmother who was with them died. The father sat her body in the back seat of the car, and when they crossed a toll bridge that charged per person in the car, he refused to pay for the grandmother. It freaked me out, but I'm trying to find the story. Anybody know the title and/or author?
[quote]A story about a homeless woman who dresses up (including putting on ladies' gloves and lipstick) to go to a grocery store and pretend to shop while she grazes on grapes, etc. She sticks a mop in the cart because she think it will look impressive, like she's doing some serious shopping
I remember that. Didn't she live in a bus stop or something too?
I remember a tree with wide branches and a lot of shade. A young girl sat under the shade.
Why can't I remember reading, all I remember are pictures.
In the NYC public schools in the early 60's, third graders used a social studies book published in 1938. That was only about 23 years earlier, but attitudes had changed, so even as an eight year old, I was shocked by a paragraph about the state of California which noted, "most melons are picked by Mexicans, as they are close to the ground and well suited for this kind of work."
There was also the observation that birds produce a special substance called "guano," which is useful as fertilizer. I was young enough that this conjured up images of birds standing around a workshop with little hand tools, turning this stuff out, whatever it was. When I found out how they actually produced it, I was in heaven to have read about that in a text book.
Mary, Mike, and Jeff and their dog Bolo and cat Velvet.
I remember the King family going to Kingston.
I also remember, of course, Dick, Jane and Sally, and their parents Dad and Mom.
Also, their black friends Mike and twins Pam and Penny.
My reader had a cat named Midnight
My favorite book was about a bunch of kids who were allowed to play in this giant tree. The old man who owned the tree also gave tie kids stuff to put up in the tree. One kid always played cowboy and got a real saddle which he put on a branch and rode like a horse. One kid got s bookshelf and really interesting old books and he spent all day up the tree reading them. I don't remember the title but was disappointed when the book was done. Another fave was The Winged Watchman about a Dutch family during WWII. They had to deal with Nazis and hiding people. They lived in a working windmill. I still have that one. Another fave was Horse Without a Head about a group of French kids living in a slum outside of Paris. Still have that one too.
I remember the artwork in these readers. This was in the late 70s and early 80s, and the updated readers no longer had ink illustrations, but rather photographs of artwork. So for a story about a dog, for example, the artist would do some kind of craft project, basically, creating the likeness of a dog with macaroni and yarn and pieces of felt and construction paper, and then that work would be photographed to use as the illustration for the story.
It blew my 10-year-old mind.
I'm kind of high right now.
Oh, and I also remember our Grade 5 (in Canada, it's called Grade 5 and NOT Fifth Grade) reader, there was a story that was a chapter pulled from a book I'd previously read, called Henry Reed's Baby-Sitting Service.
This also blew my mind because I realized that all of the other stories in all the readers I'd used were probably also just pieces from actual full-length books, which made me feel like I wasn't -- literally, I guess -- getting the full story.
Still high over here.
R89: YES YES YES! The Velvet Ribbon. OMG...that story freaked me out too. Sort of traumatic, if you ask me. Like, what could possibly be the point of having kids read that story?
I also remember the SRA and how much I hated them. One time, my 3rd grade teacher made me read an entire one to the class because my last name was the same as the author's. That cunty teacher didn't know that the author was actually my aunt and I was too PAINFULLY shy to mention it.
And does anybody else remember the phonics workbooks? They were called Language Roundup and we had them every year in different colors, and the images were always cowboy-themed, lassoing words. REDIC!
Instead of Dick and Jane, we had Jim and Sally. I knew that something was very, very wrong.
Jump, Puff, jump. Jump, jump, jump. Also remember reading about how Father gave Dick 9 swats with his hand over his knee for his birthday spanking--it was even illustrated, not that there is anything wrong with that!!
I wish I could remember the process of learning to read. Did the knowledge that I could read come all at once, or was it gradual?
I have no memory of this, but assume that my progress was pretty much the same as other beginners.
Early in my education I went to Catholic School where the children were "Timothy, David and Ann." Later, I transfered to a public school, where the smart kids read "Cascades" then "Cavalcades." The dumb kids read "Open Highways." There was also a set of books for the super-smart kids called "Wide Horizons" which featured novellas and super-long short stories.
r135--I recall in first grade that we had to learn new words to read every day. I remember trying to memorize all of them until finally I told my mother that I couldn't remember them all. I recall what a great relief it was when she told me the point of learning the new words was that you know them when you see them. From then on reading was a breeze for me. I don't recall seeing words on a page though and not being able to read them before age 5 though.
I remember those Houghton Mifflin readers. I did K - 12 from 1971 - 1984 and I remember those readers being introduced to us as if they were new - to our school system or newly published, I'm not sure. There was also Fiesta.
Aside from that I remember reading Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.
The funniest thing I remember is back in the fourth grade (1975 - 1976?), we did a whole curriculum about drugs. It was primarily to inform us but was also quite detailed about all the different kinds of drugs (barbiturates, stimulants, etc., etc.), drugs in popular culture including listening to The Beatles and Peter, Paul and Mary and following lyric sheets and having drug references decoded for us, I think we watched Go Ask Alice as well and I remember at one point the teacher burned a tablet that supposedly smelled like marijuana so we'd know. Like I said, the interest was all about arming us with information but it was presented in a very non-judgemental, informative way. It went on for weeks, every afternoon.
The '70s were so different. I can't imagine they would allow such a thing in elementary schools now.
When I was in seventh grade (1980), we had to watch an anti-drug film called [italic]Dead Is Dead,[/italic] featuring a girl puking on herself while going through heroin withdrawal. Several of my classmates cried, IIRC.
When I was three or four (early 1970s) I got a record player for Christmas.
One record I had, that my parents swear I asked for and picked out myself, was one about manners, with short anecdotes and little songs to go with them.
I still remember some of the songs, but have never been able to identify the songs or records through Googling.
One of them was:
Are extra special friends of yours
And you should always treat than in an extra special way
Would! You! Please!
Respect their properties!
And then they will let you play with their toys
Each time you want to play
Another song followed a story about Tommy whose mother called and called, but he didn't go to her. When he finally showed up, she was eating the last bite of his favorite dessert, that he had missed because he ignored her calling.
When your mother calls
Be sure to answer
Maybe she has something you would like to do
You should always please her
Or when you tease her
Maybe she'll forget to answer you!
Yeah, I had Tom, Flip, Betty and Susan, then later The SRA's, which I read through and was sent to the library to read. Spent a lot of time there reading The Borrowers. The whole school hosted a teaching symposium. There was a select group of us kids chosen. While everyone else was up in an assembly, we were singled out and questioned by teachers and such. It was kind of scary. I thought I was in trouble, but a teacher reassured me that it was because I had scored high on tests, and the teachers were forming a new program. That was very strange! There were 5 or 6 of us kids.
How do you people remember this?
I only remember my fabulous kindergarten teacher, Miss Gorman. She looked just like a 60s version of Mary Tyler Moore, and was always very sharply dressed. She sent home report cards and on the outside of the envelope she wrote "For the kindness of" and then the child's name.
Nowadays you're lucky if the teacher remembers the kid's name.
I lament the loss of fine manners.
There was an ongoing story about a young girl named Annabelle. Odd things always happened to her. One day in school she was in art class and was instructed to put together several animal pieces with those silly little things that would allow their heads, legs and or arms to move. Of course, she put them together all wrong. Everything she did turned out wrong and silly. does anybody remember? One night her paintings all came to life when the lights went out.
All I remember is Jack and Janet with Tip and Mitten. Yes, I'm dating myself.
I remember reading Dick and Jane when I was in 1st grade but I would really love to know who was the author of the reader with midnight the cat in it. Can anyone help.
We read BOOKS in school. Even in 1st grade.
I don't remember having stories about Dick or Jane or cats and dogs in school. I remember stories of the saints, which were awesome since most of them got murdered. There were Roman tortures of all kinds -- crucifixions, hanging upside down, being torn apart by wild animals in the coliseum, being tied Ito a stake and shot with arrows. I do t think the Roman's did a lot of burning at the stake, but later groups did and there was plenty of burning going on. Then came the tortures of the New World. Iroquois, Central American Indians .... Of course they never told us the stories of how the natives were killed by missionaries.
Anyway, that's what I remember reading. And bible stories like cain killing Abel, Abraham nearly stabbing his kid to death, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, Job covered in festering sores, lepers, talking donkeys and snakes, magical messages from burning bushes, bull worship, murder by slingshot, Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed, kings murdering first born sons, plagues, animal sacrifice, parting seas drowning elaborately headdressed Egyptians and their horses.
And that was just the old testament.
I remember one story, it was an excerpt from a book. It was about a boy who builds a bunch of robots from household objects. The shed he keeps them in gets hit by lightning and the robots come alive. It was probably the first time I ever read science fiction. I wish I could remember the title of the book because I really would like to read the whole thing.
Someone on here has to remember my reader in 1st grade. My mom was the secretary at my school and said it was a Ginn reader but I haven't been able to find it anywhere. It had a green cover with a circle and kind of a kleidescope thing on it. Alot of the stories were about a neighborhood and one little girl was named Star and she fell into the goldfish pond. Another story was a brother and sister who slept in a barn and there were bats everywhere. That story scared me! This would have been in 1975-76.
I remember reading books of Panorama
and I remember a story in one called Mischievous Meg. it was my all time favorite story.
When we were little the books with animals had felt patches, and I still remember my favorite one, Scary Harry the Dromedary.
Then we had math flashcards and seat races. When it was your turn you'd go and stand next to the person's desk in front and who ever answered the flash card first would move forward to the next desk.
Anyway, we had a teacher around 1970 who became convinced that the future was in computers so the important thing for us was to learn to learn base 2 and do arithmetic operations plus convert the answers to base 10. So we had seat races with base 2 numbers and problems.
Wondering if anyone else remembers the following:
I went to school in the LA Unified School District in the 70's and distinctly remember a series of books that began with a letter of the the alphabet and then continued as your reading level increased. I believe the publisher was Houghton Mifflin. I have been looking so hard for these books with no luck!
Here are some of the textbook titles i recall:
Care (I think that was the title)
G (Cant remember the title)
Network (this was the last book that most 6th graders would have been reading before moving on to Middle school)
They had me at "See Dick..."
I remember that instead of Dick and Jane, we had Jim and Sally, which I found very upsetting; I had heard all about Dick and Jane, but Jim and Sally meant nothing to me. Their neighbor was Mr. Sands, which confused me further, because I knew Mr. Sands to be Ann Sothern's boss on Private Secretary (later called The Ann Sothern Show, I think).
Haha, r153, that brings back memories. We didn't use those in school but my uncle worked for whatever textbook company published them, and since I was a voracious reader from a young age, he gave me Grow (the G title), Hope, Lanterns, and Moments.
This was when I was very early in elementary school but was reading way above my grade level, so I really enjoyed them, UNTIL toward the end of Moments (I think) when they had a Margaret Mead piece. She was talking about some coming-of-age ritual in some tribe; as best I remember, it was revealed to the teenage boys that the noises of the "spirits" they had heard all their life had actually been made by the village men. She then compared it to when children find out there is no Santa Claus. Being really little and still believing in Santa until I read that, I was DEVASTATED and went to my parents in tears! After that, I always blamed Margaret Mead for taking away my innocence.
Other than that trauma, the only thing I really remember from those books is a play (I was into plays, so I loved when the textbooks included them) about a Latino family in America who seemed obsessed with talking about "Anglos", which was a word I was unfamiliar with and I wondered why they kept using it.
Sorry I can't help with a way to find those books, though (mine were thrown out long ago).
I knew someone would at least remember them!
The search continues...
I LOVE this thread!! I've had stories from elementary school knocking around in my head for almost 30 years, but I can't remember what they were exactly! Does anyone remember these:
1) A boy moves to a new town at the foot of a mountain. There's a scary sound that comes from the mountain, and one day the boy climbs up to find that it's just the sound of the wind blowing across a cave opening.
2) two girls get caught out in a boat in really deep fog, and a seal ends up pushing their boat to shore.
3) A new boy comes to town from a mysterious place and teaches all the member of one class at school to fly.
In the third grade, we were given mimeographed copies of poems in honor of "Home Safety Week", or some such event. Not sure if the poems were national winners, or just from older kids in my town, but they were grisly little things, and we were to draw something inspired from one of them. I drew a women in a casket, and got an A!
Here's the poem, which I remember perfectly, 42 years later!
Farmer Default bought some rock salt,
to keep his porches ice-clean.
Mrs. Default used the rock salt,
for many a freezer of cream.
One frigid a.m. near the end of Decem,
she started to church a bit late.
She slipped on the ice,
went flip-flip-flop twice,
and then landed quite in-animate!
She didn't get to church,
but later- three days,
They carried her there,
with some lovely bouquets!
Great poem, huh?
I LOVED it!