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SARGENTS COMPLETE SERIES OF SCHOOL READERS.

The Standard Fifth, or FIRST CLASS READ E B
The Standard Fourth Reader.
The Standard Third Reader.
The Standard Second Reader. (Illustrated)
The Standard First Reader, Illustrated).

Also Ready:

Sargent's Six Primary School Charts.

These Charts are twenty-two inches by thirty size ; got up in a new and attractive style, with large type, for beginners in reading, &0.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-five y EPES SARGENT, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, use the District of Massachusetts.

D Many of the single pieces in this collection are protected by the copyright

OTPREOTYPED DY

HOBART & ROBBINS,
New England Type and Stereotype Poundery.

BOSTON

PREFACE.

LITTLE space has been given in this volume to matter of a speculative character in regard to the art of reading. The best elocutionists are so much at variance as to the feasibility or value of rules for the government of the voice, that no system, based upon such rules, can have a claim to scientific precision, or be much more than a reflex of individual tastes and preferences. As such, a system may perhaps be entitled to consideration, but no teacher, who has himself given much attention to the subject of elocution, can receive it as authoritative, or can wish that it should be so received by his pupils.

Modes of delivery must inevitably vary with the susceptibility of the reader to imaginative impulses, and with the nature of his appreciation of what he reads. To prescribe rules for what, in the nature of things, must be governed by the answering emotion of the moment and by a sympathizing intelligence, may continue to be attempted, but no positive system is likely to be the result. Language cannot be so labelled and marked that its delivery can be taught by any scheme of notation. Emotional expression cannot be gauged and regulated by any elocutionary law; and, though there has been no lack of lawgivers, their jurisdiction has never extended far enough to make them an acknowledged tribunal in the republic of letters and art. Mr. I can does not bow to the law laid down by Mr. Kemble or Mr. Macready; Mr. Sheridan differs from Mr. Walker, and Mr. Knowles dissents from them both.

The important step, I believe, in regard to practice in expressive reading, is to set before the pupil such exercises as may sufficiently engage his interest and be penetrable to his understanding. An indifferent, unsympathizing habit of delivery is often fixed upon him, solely by accustoming him to read what is either repulsive to his taste or above his comprehension. As well might we put him to the task of reading backwards, as of reading what is too dull or dificult to kindle his attention or awaken his enthusiasm. Reading backwards is not an unprofitable exercise, when the object is to limit his attention to the proper enunciation of words isolated from their sense; but when we would have him unite an expressive delivery to a good articulation, we must give him, for vocal interpretation, such matter as he can easily understand.

Under the influence of these views, it has been my endeavor, in this volume, to graduate the exercises carefully to the taste and comprehension of those for whom the work is designed; and this without falling below a just literary standard. Let the youthful reader be assured, however, that the simplest exercise may often more truly task and test the powers of an accomplished reader, than an exercise the sense of which lies too deep for the ready apprehension of a common audience. A simple hymn, like Heber's

Early Piety,” requires more skill for its adequate delivery than many a high-sounding oration or martial ode.

The introductory portion of this volume, forming Part First, is almost wholly of a practical character. Such rules only have been introduced as the highest authorities have established, and the best usage has accepted. Pronunciation, it is true, must always be to a certain extent arbitrary;

66

but there is still a large class of words in regard to which the decisions are almost final. In cases where these decisions conflict, the fact has been fairly stated, so that teachers

may choose the authority they prefer.

The outline of a thorough system of drilling exercises in the elementary sounds is laid down on pages 46, 47, with such directions that the pupil can easily fill up the outline on the slate or black-board. In addition to this, a series of exercises in selected words (page 34) is given, which will be found of great service in acquainting the pupil with the many and perplexing equivalents of the elementary vowel sounds, and with the frequent recurrence of the same sound represented by different letters and combinations. In preparing these exercises, I have been especially indebted to Mr. B. H. SMART, the veteran English lexicographer, for valuable suggestions, as well as for lists of representative words. The difficulties in pronunciation, which a pupil might not learn in going over a wide surface of ordinary , reading, are here summed up in a few pages, the mastery of which will greatly accelerate his progress to the attainment of an accurate and discriminating style.

The system of references adopted in the First-Class Standard Reader, and which has been highly approved by experienced teachers, is continued in this work; and a mode of reference by Italics to Faults in Articulation has been added, which will be found as simple as it is convenient. The practice of enumerating such faults at the end of every reading-lesson leads to much unnecessary repetition and waste of room. It is believed that a more effectual and comprehensive process has been here adopted in collecting these faults in a body (page 53), arranged in alphabetical order, and referring to them in the reading exercises in the manner described on page 77. The Explanatory Index, which is in part a vocabulary of the more difficult words in the volume, is not offered as a substitute for that indispensable auxiliary in the schoolroom, a Dictionary, but is presented and referred to for the very purpose of developing and stimulating a taste for consulting the Dictionary, and for inquiring into the derivation and pronunciation of doubtful words.

The practice of appending a string of questions to every reading exercise is regarded as superfluous or impertinent by so many judicious teachers, that the feature has been not reluctantly omitted from this work. Some one has truly remarked that teachers of even ordinary skill require no printed set of questions for their guidance; they are able to construct a thousand varied questions out of every lesson that passes through their hands, and they have only to guard against the error of allowing their zeal to carry them away to subjects irrelevant to the lessons before them.

The most scrupulous care has been observed in admitting nothing of a questionable character, in either a moral or literary respect, into this volume. The Standard Fourth Reader" is submitted with the assurance that should it not be found to meet the wants of teachers, it will not be through the failure on the part of the author of a very thorough inquiry into those wants, or of a patient examination of all the works, throwing light upon his labors, which both the Old World and the New have produced.

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