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THE “English Reader,” and “ The Sequel" to that performance, having met with a favourable reception from the public, the compiler has been induced to prepare a small volume, on a similar plan, for the use of children who have made but little progress in reading. It has been his aim to form a compilation, which would properly conduct the young learner from the Spellingbook to the “ English Reader": and in prosecuting this design, he has been particularly careful to select such pieces as are adapted to the understanding, and pleasing to the taste of children.
A work calculated for different classes of young readers, should contain pieces suited in point of language and matter, to their various ages and capacities. The compiler, in conformity with this idea, has, in several of the chapters, particularly in the chapters of promiscuous pieces, endeavoured to arrange the materials so as to form an easy gradation, adapted to the different progress of the learners. Judicious teachers will know how to apply this arrangement to the years and abilities of their pupils.
Care has been taken to render the language of all the pieces correct and perspicuous; that the young
learner may improve in style as well as in reading, and insensibly acquire a taste for accurate composition.To imbue the tender mind with the love of virtue and goodness, is an especial object of the present work: and, with this view, the pieces have been scrupulously selected; and, where necessary, purified from every word and sentiment that could offend the most delicate mind.
As a work tending to season the minds of children with piety and virtue, and to improve them in reading, language and sentiment, the compiler hopes it will prove a suitable Introduction to the English Reader," and other publications of that nature; and also a proper book for those schools, in which, from their circumscribed plan of education, larger works of the kind cannot be admitted.
RULES AND OBSERVATIONS
FOR ASSISTING CHILDREN TO
READ WITH PROPRIETY,
THE compiler of this work having, in the preface to his á English Reader,” explained at large the principles of elocution, nothing on this head seems to be necessary in the present publication, but to give a few plain and simple rules, adapted to the younger classes of learners; and to make some observations, calculated to rectify the errors which they are most apt to commit. These rules may be comprehended under the following heads. They are comprised in few words, and a little separated from the observations, that those teachers who wish their pupils to commit them to memory, may more readily distinguish them from the parts which require only an attentive perusal.
I. All the simple sounds should be pronounced with fulness, distinctness and energy; particularly the vowels, on the proper utterance of which, the force and beauty of pronunciation greatly depend.
The simple sounds, especially those signified by the letters l, r, s, th, and sh, are often very imperfectly pronounced by young persons. B and p are apt to be confounded: so are d and t, s and 7, f and v. The
letters v and w are often sounded the one for the other: thus, wine is pronounced vine; and vinegar, winegar. The dipthong ow is, in some words, vulgarly sounded like er: as foller, meller, winder; instead of follow, mellow, window. When several consonants, proper to be sounded, occur in the beginning or the end of words, it is a very common error to omit one of them in pronunciation : as in the words asps, casks, guests, breadth, fifth, twelfth, strength, hearths. Not sounding the letter h, when it is proper to sound this letter, is a great fault in pronunciation, and very difficult wholly to correct.
When children have acquired any improper habits with respect to simple sounds, the best mode of correction is, to make them frequently repeat words and sentences, in which those sounds occur. When the simple sounds are thoroughly understood and acquired, the various combinations of them into syllables and words will be easily effected.
II. In order to give spirit and propriety to pronunciation, due attention must be paid to accent, emphasis, and cadence.
When we distinguish a syllable by a greater stress of the voice, it is called accent. When we thus distinguish any word in a sentence, it is called emphasis. It is difficult to give precise rules for placing the accent : but the best general direction is, to consult the most approved pronouncing dictionaries, and to imitate the practice of the most correct speakers.