Obrázky stránek

KD 32501



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the yes 1848


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court & he United States for the Southern District of New York.


THE present volume differs from Part 3. of the Introduction in two respects.

I. It contains some selections from poetry: inserted rather in accordance with the views of others, than in consequence of any change of my own, expressed in Part III.: it being still my opinion, deliberately formed after much experience and observation, that poetry is the worst imaginable reading to form a flexible and graceful delivery. Its tendency to a monotonous manner is so strong, that even a practised reader, unless continually on his guard, will insensibly yield to its influence and glide into song. Nor is this all: it is an additional objection to the introduction of poetry into our primary school-books, that it comprises, especially poetry of the higher grade, such as compilers are usually most anxious to insert in these books, the most difficult reading to be found in the whole circle of English literature. It is at once passionate and figurative: demanding, on the one hand, to give its ever-varying emotions due utterance, much power and versatility of expression, and, on the other, to render its ideas intelligible, a profound knowledge not merely of the primary and fundamental, but the derivative meaning of words; with the sources also and the fitness of the imagery; and in short with all those verbal artifices on which so much of the elevation and beauty of popular poetry depends. Have the pupils in the common schools this perception and command of the passions, the last and highest attainment of oratory; this extensive and intimate acquaintance with language, the fruit of long and assiduous culture? If not, such reading is manifestly beyond their depth, and should be deferred to a more advanced period of their education; when they may have measurably formed their habits of delivery, and be able to bring to the exercise somewhat more of information and maturity of judgment.

Impressed by the importance of these considerations, I earnestly recommend to teachers, the propriety of passing the poetical selections, I have made, by, until their class or classes shall have read the book through at least a half a dozen times; and should they not allow them to be read at all, I shall have the higher opinion of their capacity as teachers. This, however, as they may choose.

II. Instead of subjoining to each section, as in Part 3., definitions of a few of the more difficult words in it, I have, in the main, contented myself with a quotation of those words which in my judgment required definition: here and there only, inserting an equivalent after a word to be defined, and more frequently as well as more fully explaining examples of idiomatic usage. I have adopted this plan,

1. Because the process of definition, if entered upon at all, should be extended to every word. Words rarely occurring may need ex


[ocr errors]


planation, but every teacher knows that common words in daily and hourly use, are far from being best understood. A vague conception of their general import is the most that can be assumed; as is evident from the embarrassments of the young when called upon to explain even the most familiar term. But what would be the result of extending definition to every word? It would swell a reading-book beyond all reasonable dimensions; and in fact convert it into a dictionary. But

2. Whether we defined a few or all of the words in a section, our definitions would be necessarily defective. A given definition could comprehend no more than the meaning of a word in a given place; and the word with this meaning may seldom occur. It may be derived from the primary meaning by a remote analogy; or it may be idiomatic, and have a very odd, if not inexplicable meaning: yet this is the only meaning given by the definition, and hence that which the pupil will attach to the word, when he meets with it elsewhere, however incompatible with the sentiment of the place in which he finds it. A definition to be really useful, should begin with the primary meaning of a word and then proceed to its different modifications; but this again would convert the reading-book into a dictionary.

3. This practice of appending definitions to reading-lessons, beyond very narrow limits, is positively injurious. It relieves the pupil from the wholesome necessity of exercising his own powers of reflection, discrimination, and memory. It makes him a passive recipient, where he should be an active inquirer. It deprives him of every advantage derived from personal investigation. It makes him, in short, a mere parrot capable only of the same stupid repetition.

4. It is altogether an unnecessary practice, except perhaps in the earlier stages of learning to read. We have several cheap dictionaries admirably adapted to the use of our common schools, and, I had almost said, infinitely more intelligible to the pupils in these schools, than the crude definitions (more difficult to be understood than the words they define) which I have found in the books that have fallen under my observation. But enough.

I will only add in conclusion that my enumeration of words to be defined at the end of each section, in no case comprises every word in that section. This would cause too frequent repetition. I have aimed at enumerating a number sufficient for exercise, and to secure a thorough knowledge of the subject treated. More remotely, I have aimed also, not merely at having a definition first or last of every word in the book, but in one part or another, a repetition of it two or three times, that it may be permanently lodged in the pupil's memory.

Teacher, my plan is before you: I earnestly press its importance on your attention. Have a dictionary yourself: see that every of your pupils, has one. Use it diligently yourself; see that they use it; and I promise with a confidence inspired by experience, that the result will be a degree of mental discipline, an independence of thought, an accession to the power of memory, and an extensive and accurate knowledge of language not to be obtained in double the time, by any other method.

Hamilton College, Jan. 1, 1848.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


In accordance with a very general wish expressed by teachers, the series of exercises on modulation in the Third Reader are here repeated. The different movements of the voice are sufficiently explained under the successive heads, as they occur; and I shall, therefore, in this place, merely enumerate and describe the signs of those movements. These signs, be it observed, are used in these exercises only.

1. The bend is represented thus: (') the voice turns slightly upward.




2. Partial close




8. Perfect close


4. The upward slide


5. The downward slide

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



(?) "

(f) "





[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66 lower.

moves upward.


[ocr errors]



upward and downward.


(For the meaning of perfect close, see "Course of Reading," p. 39, "Elements of Reading and Oratory," chap. III. ii. 4.)


Yes. No.


Birds fly.


The sun shines.


This is a pleasant day.


Children should obey their parents.


Obedient children make their parents happy.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

REMARKS.-Perfect close being a fall of the voice which is designed to intimate that the sentence is finished, care should be taken by the teacher to have it executed properly. (See Elements of Reading and Oratory, Ch. VI., Rule I., VI., VII)

Three faults in particular should never be allowed to pass without correction.

1. Keeping the voice up, as the saying is, at the end of a sentence as if there was not a period there, but a comma; and consequently, as if the end of the sentence was not reached, but something more was about to follow. The voice should fall.

2. The voice should not only fall, but fall decisively to the key. An imperfect fall is almost as bad a fault as none. It fails to show that the sentence is closed.

8. The pupil should be guarded against a fall unnaturally deep. Of this, however, there is little danger, if he reads as he talks; and this is the way he should always read, if he read at all. Should he read with a tone higher than the tone of conversation, he will probably fall at the end of the sentence just as low as he would if reading at a lower pitch; and this is what I mean by a fall unnaturally deep.

Let the pupil pronounce "Yes" and "No," in answer to any question which may be put to him, and then deliver the last word of each of the exemples precisely in the same manner, and he will accurately express perfect close.



II.-EXERCISES ON THE BEND AND PERFECT CLOSE. (See "Course of Reading,” p. 39, and "Elements of Reading and Oratory,” Ch. III. ii. 2.) 1 Very early in the morning, the first day of the week', they 2 came to the sepulchre. The man and horses that were drowned yesterday', have not been found. The warbling of birds', the murmuring of streams', the gay tints of meadows', 3 the coolness of woods', the fragrance of flowers', and the sweet smell of plants', contribute greatly to the pleasures of the mind', and the health of the body.

When you shall see the snow melting away, and streams 4 running along the road and down the hill-sides to the river; when you shall see the grass beginning to look green, and the buds on the trees to swell; especially when you shall hear the sweet song of the robin'; then know that spring has come.

REMARKS.-As the perfect close is the sign of completion, so the bend is the sign of continuation. Wherever it occurs, the voice turns slightly upward. This will be observed in reading the examples. (See Elements of Reading and Oratory, Ch. VI., Rule I., VI., VII.) I must caution the teacher,

1. Not to allow his pupils to confound the bend with the rising or upward slide to be noticed hereafter. The bend is a slight turn of the voice upward on the last word, or syllable of a word; while the upward slide is a gradual ascent of the voice through a whole sentence. E. g. If you deliver the first clause of the first example above, "Very early in the morning," with the bend, you will deliver all the words on a level until you reach the last syllable ing, on which you will turn the voice up: if you deliver it with the slide, you will begin to rise from the word very, and continue to rise until you reach the end, which would be very bad reading indeed.

The teacher should not permit a bend to be introduced too often: not oftener than between the principal divisions of the sentence; as in example fourth, at river, swell, and robin. To introduce them too often, as at away, and green, causes monotony.


(See "Course of Reading," p. 39, and “Elements of Reading and Oratory," Ch. III. ii. 4.)


He that is not with me, is against me'; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.


And he said unto her, "Daughter, be of good comfort': thy faith hath made thee whole': go in peace.

And as he said these things unto them, the Scribes and 3 Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to say many things: laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.

If careless, ignorant, or faithless rulers are chosen to take 4 care of the country, wars and commotions may follow': poverty and vice may spread over the land': ignorance and misery may take the place of knowledge and prosperity.

No one can tell the suffering, sorrow, and despair there must have been among the millions of wounded men`: among 5 the millions who were bereaved of their friends': among the

« PředchozíPokračovat »