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does for the reader. There is a third element wanting ; and that is FEELING. But for this there can be no rules. The feeling with which a passage is read depends upon the susceptibility of the reader—a susceptibility which may be cultivated, but which cannot be produced by rules which call for a self-conscious attention to the pitch of the voice.
There are, however, two chief directions which the reader should always bear in mind :
1. Begin to read in a low tone.
2. Pause both before and after the word upon which the emphasis rests.
The first enables the reader to have a longer gamut, through which the expression of his feeling may range; the second to throw the emphasized word into isolation, and therefore into prominence.
In the case of Poetry, children will probably speak it better after they have learned it by heart. But a conditio sine quâ non is a clear perception of the relations of the several clauses to each other and to the whole sentence. In the case of Prose, if a pupil shows a deficient perception of the sense, it would be as well to call on him to make the statement in his own words.
The following suGGESTIONS may be useful:
1. Select two or three of the best readers in a class—those whose susceptibilities are finest, and whose organs are most flexible; and let them be the media for training the others.
2. In test-lessons, listen to the reading without a book.
3. Insist (a) on clear articulation, (6) proper pauses, and (c) correct emphasis.
4. Call upon a pupil now and then to tell a story, or to give the sense of a sentence, in his own words.
5. Give the class now and then a piece to practise at home .for speed—such as “The Cataract at Lodore,” or a prose passage. Or give out lists of long words, such as adaptability, incommensurable, etc. This is good for practice in articulation.
6. Insist upon good articulation and pronunciation, not only during the reading-lesson, but throughout the hours of school.
7. Make the whole class, except the reader, now and then have their books shut.
It is to be particularly observed that the plan of spacing adopted is not to be used by the pupil in a mechanical way. If he merely stops where he is told, he produces the effect of a statement broken up into bits and disjointed fragments. The spacings are thus placed in the text for the purpose of calling the attention of the reader to the fact that some kind of pause is there necessary; and he has to ask himself the questions:
1. Is this a grammatical pause ?
In fact, it is always to be supposed that the pupil reads over the passage before he attempts to read it aloud. He will then see the purpose and meaning of each pause, and will not stop at them merely because he sees them, but because his judgment and feeling tell him why they are there.
It is believed that, if the system worked out in this book
be adopted, most of the complaints about dull and bad reading will disappear.
It is a good plan to read two pieces of contrasted character in the same lesson—one of a quick movement, and the other slow and pathetic. Thus, “THE MOTHER'S JEWELS” and “THE GLOVE” are good contrasts; and there are many more.