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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Northern District of Illinois,
THE feeling is very general that the pupils of our schools ought to be taught to read understandingly and effectively; and this feeling we consider reasonable and just.
But it is the almost universal conviction that this very desirable result is seldom attained by the methods that have been most commonly employed in the schools.
This book has been prepared with the single design of furnishing the pupils of our common schools with such help as will enable them to attain this result. It does not aim to present a compendium of English literature, nor to disclose the facts and principles of any other science or art. Its sole purpose is to teach young persons to appreciate and to read good English.
Reading is not only the key to all knowledge; it is also, when properly taught, a direct means of the most thorough mental discipline, bringing the mind, as it does, into contact with the noblest thoughts uttered in the language.
It is assumed by the compiler that the thought and emotion contained in every selection read in school should be thoroughly mastered by the pupils:
First, because thus only can the amount of mental discipline be secured which the reading exercise ought to afford;
Secondly, because such a mastery is essential to a proper rendering of the piece by the voice.
This end is sought to be accomplished by a careful analysis of the selections by means of questions. These questions may be considered as of three kinds:
1. Questions on the general scope of the piece and on the meaning of clauses and sentences;
2. Questions on the etymology and meaning of words;
3. Questions on the emphases, inflections, quality of voice, &c., required to express the ascertained thought and emotion.
For the purpose of illustrating this, several of the selections, representing different classes of composition, are analyzed at length in the book. The questions in these analyses, although somewhat minute, are yet by no means exhaustive. They are intended to indicate the kind, rather than the extent, of the work which the teacher is to do. A number of other selections are accompanied by briefer lists of suggestive questions.
The selections in the book have been made with great care, and are believed to be well adapted to their purpose. Many of them are marked by high excellence as literary productions; many breathe a spirit of lofty patriotism; many are fitted to charm by their beauty; some are calculated to amuse while they instruct; and all, it is thought, are within the pale of good taste. Some are well known, and are inserted on account of their unwaning merit; many are new, and not at all inferior to the older and better known.
Copious notes are appended, which will be found useful in the explanation of biographical, historical, and other allusions. They have been written with care, and aim to give, in a small compass, as much as possible of what is worth remembering. Where access can be had to reference books, these notes may be extended by the pupil. Or the teacher may impart additional information on the subjects of them,-provided the pupils are required to remember and reproduce what is thus imparted.
The article on the phonic analysis of the language is believed to be more thorough, accurate, and philosophical than articles on that subject usually are. And the compiler takes pleasure in accrediting it to Professor Thomas Metcalf, of the Illinois Normal University, whose assistance in the preparation of that article, and in a careful reading of the proof-sheets, has been of great value in imparting to the book whatever of merit it has. R. E.
NORMAL, ILL., January 1, 1867.
Object of the Analysis-Suggestions to Teachers on the Use of the
L-F, long e, and t. II.-Phonic Representation. III.-Cognates.
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