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SELECTIONS FOR READING;
ADAPTED TO THE STANDING OF THE PUPIL.
BY RICHARD G. PARKER, A. M.
PRINCIPAL OP THE NORTH JOHNSON SCHOOL, BOSTON; AUTHOR OF "AIDS TO ENGLISH
DESIGNED FOB, IHE HIGHER CLASSES IN SCHOOLS, ACADEMIES, tO.
"Understandest thou what thou readest f " — Acts 6: 30.
CINCINNATI: H. W. DERBY k Co. ST. LOUIS: KEITH t WOODS. NEW
KHOPER. POSITION ;." . "- .' IMP P OPER .> OSITI ON
BY RICHARD G. PARKER, ATM.
Author of "Aids to JSnglish Composition" " Outlines of History" "School Philosophy," etc.
The Publishers are happy to annonnce to the friends of education, a New Series of School Reading Books, by the well-known aathor of "Aids to English Composition." designed expressly for the gradual development of the mind, from the time the scholar begins to Mpell, to the period when his taste is formed for an elevated style of good reading.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-one,
In the compilation of this Series of Reading Books, I have aimed at two objects: First, to present a judicious selection of pieces as Lessons for practice in Reading, such as will exercise the taste, judgment, and discrimination of the pupil, by affording him numerous instances of what may be called points, for the management of pause, emphasis, tone, &c.; and secondly, to mingle instruction on general subjects, in an agreeable form, with the lessons, so that, while the understanding is enlightened, the whole individual may be improved.
I have selected no piece because its author is a particular friend, or one who can be instrumental in the circulation of the volume, or because he belongs to this or any other country. I have sat in judgment on every piece, and have tested it by the following considerations only: — Is it a good exercise for reading? are its moral and religious tendencies such as I can approve? is it free from sectarianism? does it convey no erroneous impressions? is it -fitted for the stage or class in which the pupil is presumed to be for whom the book is specially prepared? If I have not deceived myself, every piece in this selection may, "per se," be favorably viewed by these tests; and if so, the volume will not be deemed a useless addition to the stores of the school-room.
They who criticise my labors, will recollect that the volume is not designed as a book of specimens of American or of English authors; and, therefore, if many who stand
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high on this or on the other side of the water have no representation among the selections, it is simply because it is no part of my plan to represent them.
Again, it will be seen that the pages of this volume are encumbered with no rules nor directions. All that I have deemed necessary on this point has already been given to the public in the Rhetorical Header, for the favorable reception of which I am much indebted. But I have long been convinced that a good reader was never made by rules Under the guidance of taste, judgment, discrimination and good sense, the pupil will arrive at a better style of reading than when cramped by a rule, or confused by directions. Could the tones of the human voice, in reading or speaking, be definitely described by any system of notation, the task , of reading by rules, directions, and visible marks, might, perhaps, be less hopeless. This was attempted by Mr. Steele, in his "Prosodia Ratvmalis,'Nbut he has found few followers. The only rule that I esteem of any value, to one who is learning to read, is this: Study the meaning of what you propose to read aloud; and when you thoroughly understand it, pronounce it with the same tones, emphasis, pause, and accent, that you would use if you were uttering the same sentiments in common conversation*
R. G. P.
* It will be well to remark that a good reader is not necessarily an imitator. The tones, pauses, emphasis, accent, may be strict imitations, in reading, —but grimace, distortions of the countenance, gesticulations, are entirely out of place. Dr. Johnson was once asked whether he had heard Quin — a distinguished actor in his day — read Milton. "Sir," said the Doctor, " I have heard Quin attempt to read Milton, but he read it too much like a player, by imitating the several characters of the poem ; whereas his business was that of a narrator — not an imitator."
[The Poetical Extracts are designated by Italic Letters.]
Preface, . . . m