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PR E FACE
The lessons in this reader have been written or selected to meet the requirements of fifth-year pupils. A reader for fifth grades presupposes that the pupils for which it has been written have already mastered the mechanical phases of reading and are prepared for the appreciation of good literature. While the reading is still graded to the understanding of the child, the special aim in this book (as in the book immediately preceding it in the series) is the development of a cultivated taste. At this period of his intellectual life, by means of the formal and supplementary school readers and through the use of library books under proper supervision, the pupil has acquired some knowledge of the masterpieces of imaginative writing. To increase this knowledge, to strengthen the desire for more of this and kindred fields of literature, should be the main purpose in the preparation of a reader for fifth grades. This purpose cannot fail of fulfillment if the selections and original lessons contain sufficient of human interest. The field of imaginative writing is the broadest in literature. In the form of fiction it appeals with special interest to the young mind, and a reader containing carefully graded selections from the great story writers cannot fail to lead the pupil to a right choice of books. This training has been made a special feature in the preparation of this reader, and the teacher should give it his careful attention. No selection from the masters should be read without some reference to the story of the writer and a brief description of Some of his best books. In addition to the sketches of Dickens,
Irving, Hawthorne, and Scott, which appear as formal reading lessons, carefully prepared accounts of the authors used have been arranged alphabetically in the appendix. Such arrangement will train pupils to use the reference lists as they use their dictionaries. These accounts should be utilized consistently. In many instances they present something of the romance of the author's life. The story of the struggles, ambitions, and successes of a writer often awakens in the pupil an interest which cannot fail to lead to the reading of other books by the same author. Too much stress cannot be laid on this feature of the work in reading. It is one of the most important functions of the teacher in the higher grades of the elementary school. The poems have been carefully chosen with the purpose of inducing a desire to read good poetry. This department of literature must always remain a valuable aid to the development of a cultivated taste. If the poems of a school reader are within the capability of the child's mind, if the content expressed in poetic form appeals to his youthful interest, this highest form of imaginative composition will bear with fiction an equal share in the education of the young. In the selection of the poetry as in the selection of the prose of this book, the aim has been to take from those writers who are generally considered the master workers in our literature. In addition to the poetry, fiction, biography, travel, and history embraced in the reading material the book contains several lessons which deal with the world of nature and science. These have been chosen for the literary garb in which the information is given as much as for the information itself. The education of a child would be sadly lacking in breadth and scope did it not include something of the literature of these subjects. Selections from such masters of English as Gilbert White, John Tyndall, Charles Kingsley, and Mary Russell Mitford must develop the literary life of the child at the same time that they develop an interest in the world of nature and science. A defining vocabulary prefaced by a phonic chart or key to pronunciation is included in the appendix. This vocabulary contains most of the words listed with the separate lessons and many new words found in the text but not listed. A systematic use of this vocabulary should be insisted on. It enables the pupil to get the necessary understanding of the text and it leads directly to an independent use of the dictionary. The lessons in this book are of sufficient length and variety to afford excellent drill in expression and emphasis. To secure the best results in oral reading, however, the teacher must insist here, as in the first school years, on distinct enunciation, clear articulation, and correct pronunciation. The following grateful acknowledgments are made for permission to use copyrighted material. The poems by Longfellow and Lowell and the selections from the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Oliver Wendell Holmes are used by permission of, and special arrangement with, Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., the authorized publishers of the works of these authors. The stories from the Youth's Companion Series are used through the courtesy of Ginn & Company. “Columbus” by Joaquin Miller, is used by permission of the Whitaker & Ray Company, publishers of the complete poetical works of Joaquin Miller. “The Battlefield" by Bryant is used by permission of Messrs. D. Appleton & Co. Through the kindness of Little, Brown & Co. permission to use the story entitled “Mamma's Plot” was obtained from the Alcott heirs.