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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
TYPOGRAPHY BY C. J. PETERS & SON.
WHILE learning to read, children may at the same time be forming an acquaintance with permanent literature. This primer is planned to lead the pupil toward a knowledge of literature, along lines indicated by Mr. Scudder, Mr. Hall, and others; while the method of practical working has been guided by the daily experiences of the schoolroom.
There are, on an average, about two new words for each page throughout the book. The words and sentences should be developed on the blackboard. The introductory sentences are so arranged that by the time a story is reached, nearly all the sentences in it are familiar; thus the reading of the story is a pleasure, and not a task. In preparing for any story, the first step is for the teacher to TELL THE STORY. To tell a story effectively is an art well worth cultivating. When the children are thoroughly interested, their minds are aroused to eager activity; they will talk, or draw, or write on the blackboard, and they learn rapidly. True expression and correct phrasing are easily secured. If the children have the story in mind, the preparatory sentences, otherwise disconnected, will have a bond of unity. Skillful questioning will elicit a good deal of thought, as well as some amusement, from these groups of sentences, and so the interest is kept up.
The analytical study of words should be begun early. Some columns of words are given which may indicate broader study. The teacher should have a supply of letters and words, printed on stiff paper, for little games of word-making and sentence-building. Words may be grouped by vowelsounds, by initial or final letters, and various devices may be used to study words.
But most important among the things that help toward right teaching is a good attitude of mind. The mind of the teacher first, and then of the pupil, should be filled with bright enthusiasm. Learning to read is not an end in itself, but a means to a higher end; the means should be subordinated, that the end may be kept constantly in view. "All our best learning is unconscious learning" is a maxim that comes from the wisdom of ages long past, and has been recently enunciated with new emphasis by Colonel F. W. Parker and many a teacher besides. While our pupils are striving to learn the good things that they want to know, reading and writing may be almost insensibly acquired, as a means to get what is beyond.