1970s reading instruction kit using sight reading
May 14, 2007 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know the name of an educational toy/kit for learning reading skills (English language) which involved a big box/case containing a number of small books with pages of heavy white cardboard, each page bearing a letter combination or a simple word. I think they were comb or spiral bound.

These books contained some sort of matching exercise wherein you (the child) used a special pen with a tiny light bulb in the tip which would light up if you matched the right combinations of words/letters, printed in heavy black type, only in the books/cards that came with the kit. The pen itself was fat with a metal barrel that had a dull gold finish and I think it took a flashlight battery or two. Presumably this was intended to drill sight-reading skills. I know that at one point my mother wanted to find a replacement bulb/circuitry for the pen but couldn't. This was available in the 1960s/1970s. At least that's when I had it. I also want to know: can you get this (and replacement pen parts /books) today?
posted by bunky to Education (3 answers total)
These are known as SRA reading kits! I have seen a sight called the Teacher's Attic which is like a clearinghouse for items like these, but last time I checked, they were on the "want" list.
posted by misha at 6:07 PM on May 14, 2007

I actually had one of these as a child, and I was born in 1982. It was called the "Early World of Learning" by the World Book Encyclopedia. Not sure where you could get replacement parts, but it's definitely the same thing, although I think my big light-up pen was yellow/orange plastic.
posted by DecemberRaine at 7:18 PM on May 15, 2007

Response by poster: I remember SRA reading assignments from when I was in grade school. They were on double-fold paper that was a sort of card stock, but not nearly as heavy as the cardboard pages in this kit. Also the SRAs did have color illustrations-unlike the materials that I'm thinking of-and didn't have the light pen. I remember the case itself being a dark primary green shade (somewhat brighter than the background of the Ask MeFi page) so the idea that it could be the early World of Learning from the World Book Encyclopedia sounds more likely. However, I've just googled it and I so far haven't found any pictures of the version DecemberRaine and I seem to have in mind. It seems they still make it, but all the currently available kits of "Early World of Learning" by the World Book Encyclopedia seem to have materials in bright colors, included toys, and no light pen. Quite different from what we experienced.
posted by bunky at 3:49 PM on May 16, 2007

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