Childhood Memories Friday: SRA and RFU

Childhood Memories Friday
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?

SRA reading folder 1970s

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:

SRA reading 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?


7 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: SRA and RFU

  1. I’m pretty sure SRA boxes didn’t exist when I was in school! At least I’ve never heard of them.

  2. Never heard of an SRA box until today. I must be way too old for that one.!
    I’m sure that you were a teacher’s delight for always doing whatever she asked. You deserve a gold star! I do remember those.

  3. I’ve never heard of this. I usually got to help the teacher grade papers when I was done with my own work. Goodie. 🙂

  4. I think now I faintly remember you talking about this, years ago.

  5. Yes, I remember this! No, I didn’t like it. :). Actually, some part of me probably did enjoy the tidiness of the box and the color-coding, but why, oh why, weren’t we just allowed to read an actual book?!? 🙂

  6. I remember these clearly. This was what the teacher made us do if we finished the regular work before the rest of the class. It kept us occupied and from creating our own (disruptive) entertainment. I agree with Amy — why didn’t the teacher just reward us by letting us read a book or write a story?

  7. I hadn’t heard of this. I was recruited to grade papers, or I’d read my own book, or write stories – or talk to my friends who hadn’t finished yet, oops! I was also in 2 different programs in what was called “Major Work Area” (also known as gifted, but they didn’t use that term then – late 60s and early 70s). I was a sort of junior librarian in 3rd, 4th and 5th; also, we had a special class where we learned advanced things and got to do some pretty cool hands-on things too.

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