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The selections in this Seventh Reader are a moderate, but distinct, advance over those in the Sixth Reader, in thought, in language, and in literary construction.
The teacher may continue to place emphasis on the literary side of the reading, pointing out beauties of language and thought, and endeavoring to create an interest in the books - from which the selections are taken. Pupils will be glad to know something about the lives of the authors whose works they are reading, and will welcome the biographical sketches throughout the book. These can be made the basis of further biographical study at the discretion of the teacher.
The word lists at the end of the selections contain all necessary explanations of the text.
A basal series of readers can do little more than broadly outline a course in reading, relying on the teacher to carry it forward. If a public library is within reach, the children should be encouraged to use it; if not, the school should exert every effort to accumulate a school library of standard works to which the pupils may have ready access.
The primary purpose of a reading book is to give pupils the mastery of the printed page, but through oral reading it also becomes a source of valuable training of the vocal organs. Almost every one finds pleasure in listening to good reading. Many feel that the power to give this pleasure comes only as a natural gift, but an analysis of the art shows that with practice any normal child may acquire it. The qualities which are essential to good oral reading may be considered in three groups :
First — An agreeable voice and clear articulation, which, although possessed by many children naturally, may also be cultivated.
Second — Correct inflection and emphasis, with that due regard for rhetorical pauses which will appear whenever a child fully understands what he is reading and is sufficiently interested in it to lose his self-consciousness.
Third — Proper pronunciation, which can be acquired only by association or by direct teaching.
Clear articulation implies accurate utterance of each syllable and a distinct termination of one syllable before another is begun.
Frequent drill on pronunciation and articulation before or after the reading lesson will be found profitable in teaching the proper pronunciation of new words and in overcoming faulty habits of speech.
Attention should be called to the omission of unaccented syllables in such words as history (not histry), valuable (not valuble), and to the substitution of unt for ent, id for ed, iss for ess, unce for ence, in for ing, in such words as moment, delighted, goodness, sentence, walking. Pupils should also learn to make such distinctions as appear between u long, as in duty, and u after r, as in rude; between a as in hat, a as in far, and a as in ask.
The above hints are suggestive only. The experienced teacher will devise for herself exercises fitting special cases which arise in her own work. It will be found that the best results are secured when the interest of the class is sustained and when the pupil who is reading aloud is made to feel that it is his personal duty and privilege to arouse and hold this interest by conveying to his fellow-pupils, in an acceptable manner, the thought presented on the printed page.
CATHERINE'S DISCOVERY Jane Austen
A Dissertation Roast
The Bivouac of the Dead
Sonnet: On First Looking
into Chapman's "Homer"
Nature Study, Science, and
The Physical Characteris-
tics of Greece