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mand. Correct habits of speech will thus be formed in the Primary Schools. It will then be an easy and delightful task to teach good reading in the Higher Schools.
I have, therefore, inserted an exercise upon the Alphabetic Elements, and a series of words liable to be mispronounced, in connection with most of the Reading Lessons. The utility of this arrangement will be obvious to every experienced teacher. Directions for avoiding common errors in reading will avail but little if unaccompanied by exercises for practice; and these exercises must be so arranged that a small portion of them must receive daily attention and practice, or they will fail to receive that attention which their importance demands.
The Reading Lessons consist of simple and interesting stories in prose and verse, and contain such sentiments as children will naturally be inclined to utter. In making the selections, such alterations have been made as would adapt them to the design of the book.
Such suggestions to teachers as are deemed useful are inserted throughout the work ; but no rules and directions for children. These can be of no use to them until they arrive at an age when they are capable of receiving a knowledge of the grammatical construction of sentences. The style of reading, at this stage of instruction, must principally depend upon the taste and judgment of the teacher.
NOTICE TO TEACHERS.
PART First of this series of books is designed for beginners. It contains the alphabet, a lesson upon each of the elements of our language, and a few simple, interesting stories for children.
In teaching children the alphabet, the powers or elementary sounds of the letters should be taught in connection with their names. The child will be interested by this process, and will acquire a knowledge of the names and powers of the alphabet in less time than he would of the names without the powers. The teacher should occasionally give the names of the letters to a whole class, and require them to utter the elementary sounds of them in concert; then utter the powers, and require the class to give the names.
In the Reading Lessons, it will be perceived that the words in columns were selected principally with reference to their classification. In the lessons upon the vowel sounds, words thąt terminate alike are placed in the same column; and, in the lessons upon the consonant sounds, some of the columns are arranged with words that commence with the sound, and others with words that terminate with it. Thus, in the les. son upon the letter b, the words in the first column are bad, bag, ban, bat, and in the fourth column, job, rob, mob, sob.
The best method of teaching beginners to read these and similar words is, to teach them the power of each letter singly, and then of the letters combined. Take, for instance, the words bad, bag, ban, bat. First teach the child the power of a, as heard in these words, then the power of b. Let him utter the combined sound of ba; then teach him to join it to the
powers of d, g, n, and t, and the words are formed. Having gone through with one class of words, - b, d, or g, – then he will be ready for another, and another, until all
This classification simplifies the whole in ke
mind of the child, and aids his memory. By this
process he will soon be able to read words with facility, and
pronounce them correctly.
PART SECOND of the series contains a few lessons upon the Consonant Sounds in Combination, Exercises upon Inflections, and a selection of Easy Reading Lessons.
When children first commence reading sentences, their attention is almost exclusively directed to the pronunciation of the words : hence arise the monotonous tones in which most young children are inclined to read. To remedy this fault, or to prevent the formation of this habit, the Exercises upon the Inflections of the Voice are inserted. The examples are adapted to the capacity of young children, and are such as they will naturally be inclined to express in conversational tones, which ought to be the basis of delivery.
This volume contains a selection of Easy Reading Lessons, and Exercises upon Articulation in connection with them.
These Exercises are designed to aid in forming habits of distinct utterance. Too much importance cannot be attached to this branch of instruction. The whole beauty and force of delivery, however easy and natural the style, will be marred and destroyed if the words be carelessly and imperfectly uttered. It is important, therefore, that the Exercises receive daily attention and practice.
In reading the lessons, the teacher should ask such questions, and make such explanations, as will enable the pupil to understand what he reads. If the pupil, then, do not succeed in reading a sentence properly, let him be required to shut the book, and speak it as if he were relating the story.
Children should be required to stand erect when they read. By so doing, the chest will be expanded, and the lungs have free action. They should not be permitted to hold their books so near their eyes as to hide their faces from the teacher.