SRA kits! I only remember this reading program being used when I was in 3rd grade, but I remember it well! Moving at your own pace, and the thrill of being able to move up to the "next color" --- for me, at least, it was very motivating!
If you look at any “scary” books for kids now they are all colorful and cutesy. The cover art alone is creepy enough to bring on some nightmares. This was THE book to check out from the library in October in elementary school.