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progress which the attentive pupil may make will be of unspeakably more value than it would be, were he required to read a prescribed lesson each day in the ordinary mechanical manner a manner which, in but too many cases, is little better than merely speaking the words on a given page. Lest the pupil should not have been thoroughly instructed in the principles of Articulation as unfolded in the Gradual Reader, several words in each lesson, likely to be mispronounced, are arranged in the Exercises on Enunciation at the beginning of it. Before reading any piece, let the class repeat the required sounds, and then the words after their correct pronunciation by their teacher. This will enable them to avoid the usual errors to which the reader is liable.
The partial vocabulary, at the end of each lesson, is designed to impart a knowledge of language. Here the pupil will be made to learn the meaning of a large number of the more difficult words and their practical application and use.
There are references* in each lesson to the Principles of Elocution in the treatise on the expressive agencies of speech, under the heads of Inflection, Stress, Emphasis, and Pause.
The North American First Class Reader, the last of this Series, contains a treatise on the higher and more expressive elements of Elocution, and also an essay on the character of selections suitable for Reading Books designed for the use of schools.
BOSTON, Park Street, April, 1849.
ELEMENTS OF GOOD READING.
No apology will be needed for the following extracts from that very valuable work, "THE SCHOOL AND THE SCHOOLMASTER," by those experienced teachers, GEORGE B. EMERSON, ESQ., and BISHOP POTTER, late of Union College.
'IF all persons about a child habitually enunciated distinctly, and pronounced correctly, he would seldom have occasion to learn either enunciation or pronunciation as a separate exercise. This, however, is far from being the case; and lessons should now be given for the double purpose of exercising the organs of the voice, and of teaching full and perfect enunciation. These may be safely pursued for a short time at once, without danger of inducing the habit of reading without thought, as the effort to enunciate perfectly will sufficiently occupy the mind.
"There are two excellent works containing suitable exercises for this purpose; one is Russell's "Lessons on Enunciation;" the other, Tower's "GRADUAL READER." The latter has been recently introduced into the Boston schools with the best effects. The teacher ought to be furnished with one or both of these. It would be still better, if the pupils also could be furnished with them.
"The first series of exercises † should be all the sounds of the vowels and consonants, uttered separately, and afterward in combination, and continued until each should be most fully and
This is the precise arrangement of Tower's "GRADUAL EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION." See "Gradual Reader," the Third Book of the Series.
distinctly enunciated. * * * * When the class shall have gone through all the vowel sounds, a similar exercise may be given on the consonants. This is still more important in reference to the two objects now in view, namely, training the vocal and enunciative organs, and forming the habit of perfectly distinct articulation.
"After the simple sounds, exercises† should follow in the most difficult combinations of consonants; such as those in didst, width, rafts, mangl'dst, shak'st, prompt, canst, return'dst, and similar words, on which an excellent series of lessons may be found in the "GRADUAL READER," already referred to. It is by such exercises, daily resumed, but never continued long at once, that the organs of the voice are trained, and perfect enunciation, the most important element of reading, speaking, and, in no slight degree, of thinking, is gradually acquired." *
"The teacher must be a good reader himself. If he be so, and endowed with a clear understanding, good taste, and quick feelings, he will be able to make good readers of his pupils. In any case, he will derive much assistance from a good treatise of reading; such as Dr. Porter's in the Rhetorical Reader. From some such source he must obtain the rules of emphasis, and the inflection and modification of the voice. Having made this preparation to teach, he must give the class an idea of the manner in which a passage is to be read by reading it himself. Good reading is a commentary upon a passage, and is oftentimes the only thing necessary to explain its meaning.
"The reading lessons should be such as not only to form the voice, to educate the taste, and serve as suitable models for composition, but to furnish food for the mind, materials for present thought and future action."
+ See note on preceding page.
PRINCIPLES OF ELOCUTION.