Imatges de pÓgina




This Work






THE method of using the POETICAL READER has been already noticed in the First Book. Besides the spelling lessons, this part contains exercises on the meanings and the etymologies of the most important words that occur in the reading lessons. The prefixes, postfixes, and roots have been placed at the end of the work; and, with a little practice, the children will find no difficulty in referring to any of the roots that occur in the spelling lessons. The prefixes and postfixes should be carefully committed to memory. The Explanatory Notes are to be regarded merely as guides; the teacher is expected, therefore, to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the persons, places, and events to which the notes refer. No one can teach with effect, unless he is perfectly master of his subject. No lesson, therefore, should be given without special preparation.

Although the extracts have been divided into separate lessons, it does not follow that each piece is to be completely gone through in one lesson. No more should be read at one time than can be thoroughly elucidated; and, as regards matter, sentiment, and style, can be made to become, as it were, the property of each individual child.

"To produce any lasting or beneficial impression, readings of poetry should be accompanied by remarks, both critical and explanatory, on the part of the tutor; peculiarities and

beauties, whether of language or sentiment, should be pointed out; imperfections must be noticed; and the style of one author placed in contrast with that of another. By such means the mind of the pupil will be opened, his critical perceptions will be awakened and exercised, and his taste and judgment cannot fail to be improved."1

Mr Horace Mann, in his "Educational Tour," gives the following description of a poetical reading lesson, as delivered by a master in one of the Prussian schools: :-- "The subject was a short piece of poetry, describing a hunter's life in Missouri. It was first read the reading being accompanied with appropriate criticisms as to pronunciation, tone, &c. It was then taken up, verse by verse, and the pupils were required to give equivalent expressions in prose. The teacher then entered into an explanation of every part of it, in a sort of oral lecture, accompanied with occasional questions. This was done with the greatest minuteness. Where there was a geographical reference, he entered at large into geography; where a reference to a foreign custom, he compared it with their customs at home; and thus he explained every part, and illustrated the illustrations themselves; until, after an entire hour spent upon six four-line verses, he left them to write out the sentiment and the story in prose, to be produced in school the next morning. All this was done without the slightest break or hesitation, and evidently proceeded from a mind full of the subject, and having a ready command of all its resources." The Rev. H. Moseley, in quoting the above extract, says - "I have transcribed it, because it embodies an idea of such a lesson which appears to me not less novel, as it regards the elementary education of this country, than important."


Of the utility of poetry in improving the taste, as well as the quality of reading, and the prominence that ought to be given to it in our elementary schools, the following extract

1 "Quarterly Journal of Education."

2 Minutes of Committee on Education, 1845, vol. i. p. 230.

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