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And The Answer Is...

What do you know about this crazy-looking machine, and when was it in use at Rectory School?

By 1961, Rectory had divided its approach to reading into two general categories, remedial and developmental; and a new course In developmental reading, administered by Mr. Richardson and Mrs Jennings, was added to the academic program. The course was designed to build up a student’s “reading speed, comprehension, and ability to consume whole phrases” (The Rectory News, 11/1/1961).

S.R.A. Laboratories, tachistoscopes, phrase-o-scopes, and rate accelerators, often called reading machines, were among the ”mechanical aids...used in conjunction with advanced reading and study techniques to improve rate.” This article in The Rectory News (4/28/1961) emphasizes ”[a]t no time does this course encourage speed at the expense of comprehension; it tries instead systematically to develop a high speed with rapid comprehension.” 

The Developmental Reading Room contained five reading machines, pictured. To prevent rereading, the upside-down T blocked the reader’s vision from previously-read text. Click here for a delightfully detailed explanation of Robert Berman’s (Form II, 1962) first experience with the reading machine. In that same year, Kurt Jones, Form III, concluded, “In all, this is a very worthwhile course and we are lucky to have the chance to take it” (The Rectory News, 11/1/1961).

Image: Rectory Archives, 1960s

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Campus Location:

Deal House

Contact Information:

Lisa Levesque, Centennial Coordinator

Rectory School Centennial
528 Pomfret Street
P.O. Box 68
Pomfret, CT 06258