The Fourth and Fifth Grade Readers are special. By this time the student is on his way to reading independently and these readers (one per grade level) provide quality information as well as practice in their stories. The Fourth Reader Singing Wheels is about life in pioneer days. In addition to the same enjoyable although less numerous illustrations, the book is full of little educational drawings of animals, equipment, etc. It is like a living museum wrapped up in a book. The Fifth Reader, Engine Whistles, contains stories that trace the development of transportation and inventions. This one also has small drawings of the components of different types of inventions such as various automobile parts (i.e. lamps or horns). Workbooks for Singing Wheels and Engine Whistles have brief teacher notes in the inside front cover but no answer keys.
This carefully structured reading program was first published in 1957 and retains its pre-politically correct flavor. Each unit is a series of stories, with multiple units in each book. New words are introduced in the “Presentation Units.” In the “Absorption Units” that follow, students read additional stories, reviewing and reinforcing words recently presented. New vocabulary is constantly practiced and strengthened. Grade 1 starts with four Preprimers which feature short sentences, easy words, and lots of delightful nostalgic illustrations. Rebus illustrations (small drawings that substitute for words too difficult for a beginning reader) are incorporated. Grade 1 Semester 2 and Grades 2-3 (with 3 Readers each) follow a pattern. For each grade level, the first reader can be used for: vocabulary review; independent reading; to challenge average readers; or to build up proficiency. The second reader presents most of the new vocabulary. The third reader applies vocabulary to new content, staying in the reading level. The Fourth Reader, Singing Wheels, is about pioneer life. Stories in the Fifth Reader, Engine Whistles, highlight trans¬portation and inventions. Workbooks provide story recall questions, word recognition, and handwriting practice in the early grades but transition into reading skill development with some basic phonics reinforcement. TEs (where available) provide lesson plans and answers in early grades. Workbooks without TEs have some teacher instructions but no answers.