Okay, so we may not have this blog thing down yet – we were supposed to have a post last week. Obviously didn’t make it… so here we go with the hope that “better late than never” works!
This week we would like to offer a bit of a history lesson on the books that we so lovingly toil over (…remember we are blessed with the talents of many teachers, so lessons may be a frequent part of these posts!!)
The style of read-along book that Runley follows has been available for many years and in many formats. The earliest ‘read-alongs’ appeared in 1946 (a mere 67 years ago) from Capitol Records. These were called “Record-Readers” and included a full color cloth-bound book with up to two 78 rpm records in a sleeve. The first release was of a newly created post-WW2 character, “Bozo the Clown” and was titled Bozo at the Circus. It came complete with talking animals, thrilling music and exciting sound effects. Famed American vaudeville actor and Hollywood voice Pinto Colvig narrated the story.
These Record-Readers generally ran between 18 and 24 pages and had the illustration on the right-hand page and the story text printed on the left-hand page. The initial tagline was “Picture books that talk” but evolved over the years to “Children can read the words and look at the pictures while the story unfolds before their ears”.
The list of stories released as Record-Readers was extensive and included such famous characters as Woody Wood Pecker, Tweety & Sylvester, Bugs Bunny, Hopalong Cassidy, Fibber McGee & Molly – some that are still with us today. One of particular interest was a title from Walt Disney called “The Grasshopper and The Ants” which was based on Aesop’s fable of the same name. Many years later this same story was adapted by Pixar as the movie “A Bug’s Life”.
Another famous line of read-alongs were the Little Golden Books from Golden Records – a hard cover book with a 78 rpm and later a 45 rpm record. Some of these stories can still be found in today’s hard cover Golden Books, though not with the audio recording.
In 1965 Disney released its version of the audio book as the ‘Read-Along’ on a 33 1/3 rpm 7 inch vinyl record through Walt Disney Records – the tag line was: “see the pictures, hear the record, read the book”. Most of the beloved Disney characters can be found in these 24-page books, from Mickey & Minnie all the way to Merida.
Proudly, we at Runley follow in this great tradition with our three distinct series of Read-Along stories – Fairytale Stories, Original Stories and Bible Stories. Each 24-page book consists of a 21-page story plus a coloring page and two pages of comprehension exercises. The audio programs on the CD contain full word-by-word narration, multiple character voices, vivid sound effects and original musical underscore that enhances each story.
We hope you enjoyed this wee lesson. Our next blog post will introduce you to our author Bebe Jenkins.