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COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY RAND, MCNALLY & Co.
The publishers gratefully acknowledge the kindness shown by several eminent
The selections from Emerson, Holmes, Lowell, Parton, Whittier, Charles Eg.
For the use of other valuable copyrighted matter, thanks are extended to
They are also under obligations to John Burroughs, Hezekiah Butterworth,
The principles which should guide teacher and pupil alike in the study of the art of reading, were briefly stated in the preface to the Fourth Reader in this series. When the Fifth Reader is taken up, the same principles have only to be extended and applied more widely.
1. The preparation for the lesson should be even more thorough than in the lower grade. It is quite a mistake to suppose that, because pupils can pronounce all the words in the lesson readily, they have therefore learned to read, and no further study of the subject is necessary. As a matter of fact, the selections in the Fifth Reader have purposely been made more difficult. Each one contains many allusions, similes, and suggestions, of one sort and another, and it will be very profitable for the pupil to trace them all out. Here, much more even than in the lower grades, the teacher should prepare the way for the study of every lesson by giving the students numerous hints as to where to look for light. An important part of successful reading depends on a knowledge of how to use books of reference, and the study of the selections in this book will afford the best opportunity for learning to “hunt down” knowledge in a library.
2. The exercise of rewriting the piece in the pupil's own words is even more important in this grade. But at this stage of advancement it may be varied. The experience or scene described by the author will suggest some kindred experience or scene. The pupil should learn to think out the details of this new conception as the classic author
has done in the model found in the reader. Only by working in this way can the student learn how the master works, and so come to understand and appreciate him. Teachers have not yet comprehended the practical value of such imitative writing in opening up the secrets of the author to the reader. The case is precisely similar to that of studying modern languages. You learn French ten times more thoroughly by writing it than by merely reading it.
3. Many of the selections in this volume are oratorical. To read them aloud with a natural expression will require careful preparation, but much help will be found in trying to imagine the circumstances under which the speech or oration was originally delivered. For instance, a vivid description of the circumstances under which Patrick Henry delivered his famous speeches may be found in a good biography of that patriot. If the teacher will read such a description to his class, and try to induce the pupil to put himself, in imagination, into the same surroundings, the otherwise loud and hollow words will assume a depth and a significance which the pupil had not before perceived.
When pupils and teacher have reached this point in their study together, success depends wholly on mutual interest. Unless the teacher is deeply interested in the work, and makes thorough preparation for it, the pupils can not be expected to be interested ; and even when the teacher is interested and interesting, the pupils must be left largely to their own ambition to seize the opportunity and do the work which will in the end bring such rich rewards. Nothing in after life will afford so much satisfaction as a familiarity, on terms of equality, with the greatest thoughts of the greatest writers.