Random House Reading Program

In the 1970s and '80s, several Three Investigators books, in the GLB Edition, were part of the Random House Reading Program (RHRP). The RHRP had been in existence since at least the 1950s; I do not believe it is still around today. The program consisted of teacher's kits and published books that contained instructional material and questions to improve reading skills, in areas such as comprehension and vocabulary. The books chosen to be part of the program spanned all genres, but were prevalent in the non-fiction Landmark Books division of Random House. RHRP books can be found with such diverse titles as Satellites in Outer Space and Smoke Patrol.

The text of books that were part of the Random House Reading Program was not changed. Instead, there was a cardpocket glued to a front or rear endpaper of the books that contained five cards with questions and/or activities about the story. The card topics were Comprehension, Detail, Vocabulary, Survey and Activity. Teacher copies of the books also contained two Answer Key cards which had the answers for Comprehension, Detail, Vocabulary and Survey. In school, each child would receive a copy of the book to read and then would have to complete the cards as an individual and/or group assignment.

The following Three Investigators titles are confirmed to have been part of the RHRP:

#5 The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
#7 The Mystery of the Fiery Eye
#17 The Mystery of the Singing Serpent
#20 The Mystery of Monster Mountain
#22 The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle
#23 The Mystery of the Invisible Dog

Several others, including #4 The Mystery of the Green Ghost and #18 The Mystery of the Shrinking House are also rumored to have been part of the program, but I have never seen them myself.

I am very fortunate to own several Three Investigators RHRP books, including three different printings of Vanishing Treasure. It is interesting to see how the cards changed over the years. From 1970 thorough 1975/1976, the cards were multi-colored, with one color for each topic. By 1977, the cards were all white. In addition, the early 1970s copies of Vanishing Treasure's cards had a Group Activity section on the Activity Card; this is not present on any Activity cards from about 1975 on. Also, the early cards contained no copyright dates; again, these were present from 1975 on. The multi-color cards also contain a heading at the top, such as "High Action" or "Cliffhangers", with the book's title along the left edge. The white cards do not have the heading, but have the book's title there instead.

Some sample cards:

From a collector's perspective, RHRP Three Investigators books do not show up very often and very rarely do they contain any cards. If cards are present, the Answer Key cards are typically missing. Vanishing Treasure is by far the most common RHRP Three Investigators book. The Mystery of the Fiery Eye, is probably the least common. The rest seem to appear on the used book market with about equal frequency. Again, as stated above, Three Investigators RHRP books can only be found in the GLB Edition; none were ever printed in the Trade Edition.

All that said, below is detailed information and scans for each Random House Reading Program book I own, including full-scale, printable Acrobat pdfs of all the cards.

The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
-- ca. 1970 printing
-- Complete with all cards, including Answer Keys
-- Multi-color cards with no copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the front pastedown endpaper.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download).

The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
-- ca. 1972 printing
-- Complete with all cards, including Answer Keys
-- Multi-color cards with no copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the front pastedown endpaper.
-- There are "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" stamps on the title page and upper edge of the textblock.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download). This is the same pdf as for the book above; the cards are identical.

The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
-- ca. 1980 printing
-- Robert Adragna cover art
-- Complete with all cards, including Answer Keys
-- White cards with a 1970 and 1977 copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the rear pastedown endpaper.
-- There is a red "A Case of Shivers" sticker on the back cover.
-- The Group Activity section is now missing from the Activity card.
-- Both Answer Key cards contain an ISBN 0-394-13513. This is not the ISBN for the GLB Edition of Vanishing Treasure; it is probably the ISBN of the cards themselves, but I can find no record of it in the Library of Congress.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download).

The Mystery of Monster Mountain
-- ca. 1975 printing
-- All topic cards present; Answer Key cards are missing
-- Multi-color cards with a 1975 copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the front free endpaper.
-- There is a blue "High Action" sticker on the front cover.
-- Monster Mountain RHRP copies can also be found with Robert Adragna's cover art.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download).

The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle
-- 7th printing, ca. 1978
-- All topic cards present; Answer Key cards are missing
-- White cards with a 1977 copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the front pastedown endpaper.
-- There is a red "A Case of Shivers" sticker on the front cover.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download).

The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle
-- 8th printing, ca. 1981
-- Robert Adragna cover art
-- All topic cards present; Answer Key cards are missing
-- White cards with a 1977 copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the rear pastedown endpaper.
-- There is a red "A Case of Shivers" sticker on the front cover.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download). This is the same pdf as for the book above; the cards are identical.

The Mystery of the Invisible Dog
-- 7th printing, ca. 1981
-- Robert Adragna cover art
-- All topic cards present; one Answer Key card is present, one is missing
-- White cards with a 1977 copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the front pastedown endpaper.
-- There is a green "Beyond Tomorrow" sticker on the front cover.
-- Invisible Dog RHRP copies can also be found with the original Jack Hearne cover art.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download).

In term's of Robert Arthur's body of work, The Random House Reading Program wasn't confined to just The Three Investigators. The great Spies and More Spies anthology was also included:

Spies and More Spies
-- ca. 1972 printing
-- All topic cards present; Answer Key cards are missing
-- Multi-color cards with no copyright
-- The cardpocket is on the front pastedown endpaper.
-- View a pdf of the cards here (right-click and save-as to download).

Please contact me if any information above is inaccurate or if you have more information about the Random House Reading Program.

Thanks to Seth Smolinske for informing me that The Mystery of the Fiery Eye was part of the RHRP.

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This page last updated on 19-Mar-07