Close your eyes. Travel back to fourth grade, give or take a year. You’ve finished the daily set of language worksheets that the teacher handed out for you to complete while she met with reading groups in the back of the room. What do you do now?
When I was in school (yes, I’m resisting the urge to say ‘in MY day…’ in an old-lady voice), you headed back to the SRA box and pulled out a cardboard folder to read and answer questions about. Then, you went back to the box for the answer key and recorded your results. All your SRA papers were kept in your own personal folder, which you decorated (see mine above; it made a recent trip upstairs from the basement). I’m thinking RFU was a similar program.
A bit of research reveals that SRA stands for Science Research Associates. They were an educational publisher. I’ve always been pretty task-driven, and I usually finished my “seatwork” fairly quickly. So, SRA and I spent quite a bit of time together. Often, the stories I read on the card weren’t all that interesting. I became pretty good at first looking at the questions, and then skimming the text for the answers.
I began with the cards at the front of the box, and dutifully worked my way back. The teacher recorded my progress on a folder:
The first set of cards in the box were aqua — once those were all finished, one “graduated” to purple cards, and so forth. Here’s a picture of an SRA box, and sure enough, you can follow the colors listed here all the way back. I can’t remember what I did when I finished the box, but I’m sure it was a happy day. Maybe I was just allowed to read a book of my own choosing?
Do you remember working your way through an SRA box as a child? Did you enjoy it?