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points, the pupil will find in the succeeding exercises that every sentence is within his comprehension, - every sentence appeals to him because of its interesting associations. Two other very important provisions are made in this connection: first, the acquiring of vocabulary, without which fluent English is impossible; and second, the practice of speaking. Train the pupil to speak well, and you have laid the best possible foundation for satisfactory written composition. And just here more than at any other point the
. teacher must supplement the work of the text-book with the spirit of loving helpfulness. The child must be inspired with a desire to speak good English, to express himself with the greatest possible felicity. In the composition work, correcting papers and explaining mistakes is drudgery; but it must be done, and done thoroughly.
The author has endeavored to keep in mind two fundamental theses: first, that the exercises should afford a constant review of preceding principles, making special review lessons unnecessary; and second, that every sentence in an exercise should be thought-stimulating. An exercise is a failure unless it makes the pupil think, — requires him to exercise his judgment.
The following suggestions may be helpful to the teacher:
1. THE TEXT. Spare no pains in helping the pupil, first, to understand the text, and second, to enjoy it as literature. The reading of the text may take the regular place of reading in the day's programme until the entire poem has been read.
2. ORAL LANGUAGE. The Exercise immediately following each portion of text is designed, first, to help the pupil to an appreciation of the literature, and second, to afford a drill in oral language. The skilful teacher, while not allow
, ing careless habits of speech, will guard against frightening the pupil into an unnatural style by being too exacting.
Some of the questions are designed to assist the pupil in gaining a clear, definite picture of what is described in the text, as well as to afford the teacher an opportunity of testing the correctness of his conceptions. The pupil must be so trained that when he reads, for example, the description of a landscape, every detail shall stand out vivid and clearcut in his mental horizon. Nothing can be more fatal to the child's appreciation of literature than for him to be allowed to content himself with vague pictures which seem to be something, but are in reality nothing.
3. GRAMMAR EXERCISES. The author has made these quite numerous, believing that to master a principle the learner must meet it many times, and that his interest will be sustained if each time the principle is in a new dress. One element in each Exercise, therefore, is that of review. The sentences based upon new text illustrate both new principles and old; and not only does this serve the purpose of keeping the child “up” in his work all the time, but, since he is not expecting every sentence to be an illustration of the subject under immediate discussion, he is forced to use a discriminating judgment, and this begets
4. DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK. The book is divided into six parts, and is designed especially for seventh and eighth grades, each of the first four parts furnishing approximately a half year's work. The first three parts cover pretty well the entire subject of grammar, without, however, leading the pupil into questions over which grammarians are wont to wrangle, the purpose being rather to give him a sure grasp of general principles that shall prepare him adequately for the work of secondary schools. In these three divisions the various subjects are taken up by the easiest and most natural approach, the complete presentation of each subject in its logical order being reserved for the fourth part, Classified Grammar.
The final Exercise in Part IV is all-important. It is not so essential that a child should be able to 66
parse he should be able to tell the one or two most vital things without troubling to mention a number of unimportant details.
5. COMPOSITION WORK. The Composition Outlines (Part V) are to be used throughout the year in whatever way the teacher deems best. Each outline for reproductive work consists of five or six paragraphs. A short time may be given about once a week to the writing of one paragraph, the entire composition thus requiring five or six sittings. Or a longer time may be given about once a month, the entire composition being finished at one sitting. In either case the idea of the paragraph must be emphasized. The work should be done in the schoolroom, and the pupil should have nothing to guide him except the outline, which may be copied upon the blackboard.
6. Part VI (The Elements of Grammar) contains the principles of grammar arranged in numbered sections, and is designed for reference.
An expression of obligation is due to Miss Anna Hinshaw for helpful suggestions that came as a result of testing the Exercises in the class-room; and to other friends who have in many ways lent encouragement to the work.
The author now submits the book with the earnest hope that it may prove of real service to teachers and of profit and enjoyment to the youth of our public schools.