RVOD108 Reading Growth: Basic Skills

(1960s-ish?, Educational/Short/Children, color)


Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

He doesn’t even question the frog on a string?

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:

Young Tim learns the several meanings for the word “frontier”.


Frog on a string!Tim delivers papers to the teacher of another classroom and watches as the younger kids struggle with basic reading skills. The narrator then walks Tim through a number of more advanced reading skills which combine to help him figure out the various meanings of the world “frontier” from context. One of these reading skills tangentially references a live frog, tied to a bedpost with a length of string.


An engaging educational short that makes a valid point while imparting valuable instruction almost every step of the way? I’m shocked. Mostly these things are pointless, obvious and/or just plain weird.

A few favorite comments: When Tim opines that a frontier is “sort of a boundary,” Kevin concludes that he’s “reading from the insecure dictionary.” While carefully examining a long paragraph about a messy room, the narrator reveals the existence of the frog on a string, prompting Mike’s, “That took a David Lynch-ian turn.” When the narrator passes over some “easy words,” Bill notes, “They’ll go home with anyone.” Excepting some very brief, amphibian-related strangeness, Reading Growth: Basic Skills plays it pretty straight. When you consider that basic competence is not an especially mockable quality for an educational film, the riffers do pretty well.