The McCall-Crabbs books offer 60 short reading passages followed by 8 multiple choice questions. Questions are set up like standardized test questions to familiarize children with that format. They focus on both comprehension and inferential skills.
These exercises can be used in a number of ways. The optimal use is to allow exactly three minutes for a student to read the passage and complete the questions. Grade equivalents corresponding to each score (number correct) are shown at the bottom of each page. This gives us an immediate, although not always accurate assessment of how they are doing. Tracking these scores through a number of lessons gives us a much more accurate picture.
For some students, the time pressure will be inappropriate, so we can use the lessons untimed, ignoring the grade equivalent scores. In such cases, oral reading of the passages might even be appropriate.
There are six books in the series, labeled A-F. These correspond roughly to grade levels 3-8, although children can vary dramatically in reading levels at the same ages. A single teachers manual provides instructions and answer keys for all six books.
While there are some concerns because the books are more than 30 years old and don't reflect the Common Core State Standards, homeschoolers and other educators still love them. You cannot correlate these directly to what's now expected at various grade levels since academic standards now expect reading to be taught in kindergarten, something rarely done 30 years ago. Nevertheless, basic reading skills remain the same, and these books are useful for developing and assessing those skills.