« FöregåendeFortsätt »
THE NEW YORK
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843, BY WILLIAM RUSSELL,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
GEORGE A. CURTIS,
N. ENGLAND TYPE AND STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY, BOSTON.
*Pieces which are neither ascribed to any author, nor marked by
Mrs. Sigourney, 106
THE PRIMARY READER.
THIS Volume, the concluding one of the present elementary series, has been prepared with reference, strictly, to what its title implies, a book of juvenile reading lessons. The compiler, in preparing it, has directed his attention, chiefly, to the following points.
1st. To avoid, in the selection of lessons, unintelligible matter and language, and dull, formal style, as worse than useless to young readers,-as positively injurious to their elocution, not only in childhood, but in subsequent life.
2d. To select such pieces as seemed best adapted, by simplicity and vividness of expression, to secure the attention of the juvenile mind, and to produce an intelligent and animated style of reading, as a habit, in early years.
3d. To furnish frequent suggestions to teachers, on the best mode of securing a distinct enunciation of words, and a correct and spirited utterance of sentiment.
4th. To exert an influence on the heart and habits of the reader, by the selection of pieces tending to cherish sentiments of love, truth, and piety.
5th. To aid the early formation of good taste, by avoiding low subjects, low characters, and low forms of expression, in the pieces selected for reading lessons.
The pieces presented in the Reader, have been selected with reference to the wants and wishes of children. They are such as many years' experience in the teaching of reading, has indicated as interesting to young readers, and conducive to their progress in elocution. The selections have been made in strict accommodation to the capabilities of childhood, as regards the act of expression.
The rule of selection has been, that the pieces should not only be perfectly intelligible in thought and language, and pleasing in subiect and style, but that both matter and manner should be such as children incline to express in speech.
A child may understand a story, and may be delighted with hearing it told or read; and yet he may not be able to tell or read it well, because the whole may be above the reach of a child's power of expression.
Good reading is not a receptive, but a communicative state, -not a passive, but an active condition: the reader is not to receive, but to give, impressions. Both subject and style, then, in what he reads, must be adapted to his expressive power, -his command of tone. Whatever passages the young reader attempts, as exercises to expand his power of utterance, or sharpen his discrimination in emphasis, inflection, or pausing, must be simple, natural, and vivid. Abstruse, dry, didacuc compositions, he does not sympathize with, even when he understands them: he cannot, therefore, give them true vocal expression. His reading, in such cases, must be mechanical and unmeaning, and can only serve to cherish those false tones of mere habit, which deaden the elocution of after life.
The compiler is by no means of opinion, that a natural and appropriate manner of reading can be secured by a multiplicity of rules. A few prominent principles, however, and a few practical points, can be impressed on the ear of even juvenile readers. Children who have had practice enough in reading, to be capable of performing the exercise with tolerable fluency, are far enough advanced to be taught the great importance of well marked, spirited emphasis, and of appropriate pausing. They can easily be trained, at the same time, to observe the principal inflections, or upward and downward slides of voice, according to the sense of what they read.
The main points in the application of emphasis, pausing, and inflection, are accordingly suggested, in important or difficult passages, in the lessons embodied in the Reader. But the indication is restricted to those cases, chiefly, in which a young reader would be most likely to err. These directions are intended to form the ear to correct habit, and prepare the way for more systematic instruction in the rules of elocution, at a later stage of progress.
The preliminary exercises in articulation, comprise a course of practice on the elementary sounds of the English lan guage, which will serve to impart exactness and fluency to the young learner's style of reading in the subsequent lessons. Much labour, to adult students, and to teachers of