"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"
Some guy who used to be the President Of The United States
—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000
There's a tendency to sugar coat the past and talk about how simpler/safer/cheaper/whatever-your-issue-is-here it was back then. Robert Klein summed it up nicely in a song called "Bring Back The 50's" recalling those sepia-tinged days when America was a heartbeat away from complete and total nuclear annihilation. Oh, those wacky Russians with their A-bombs! As for my generation, I wouldn't go back to the 70's if you paid me. The dope was weak and the music sucked. And let's not even go into Watergate.
One constant is that people like to trash public school education as if this were the first time in history that Johnny couldn't read real good. It's nonsense, of course. I'm not willing to go into a discussion of the history of the world in terms of underachievement and poor academic understanding ("Sir, the report clearly talked about Iraq having anti-fungals. Weapons of moss destruction, sir, not mass destruction") but it's safe to say that every generation has had its fair share of non-readers. Which means the every generation has had its share of companies looking to correct that problem.
Bremer-Davis Phonics was (and possibly is) one such company. This record was one of a set of records from one of the first hooked-on-phonics outfits. The ad above (sitting next to a 1965 Stars and Stripes article called "Seeds Of Peace In Vietnam") is creepy enough with its proto-Jack Torrence glaring murderously up at the camera without its odd word choice and italicization of "new home tutoring course drills your child in phonics...". It's not like I don't understand what they're saying but - OUCH.
Side 1 of this 7" 33 1/3 introduces you to the various sounds and if Mrs. Davis' voice doesn't slice through your ear drums then her admonitions and exhortations might render you as hostile as the boy in the picture. Learning reading and spelling means plenty of axioms that have plenty of exceptions. Shouldn't you spell it "thier" instead of "their"? A couple are thrown in here, my favorite being "Q always takes U for a partner. Q never walks alone".
Side 2 takes us onto the "quiz" where "Mrs. Davis is going to go pretty fast" in getting you to match up the sound with the word. "Fast" in this case means less than a second between the speaking of the sound and her answer. To add insult to injury, she wants you to get to the point where you can "beat" her...in the quiz, that is.