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PARTICULARLY DESIGNED TO FAMILIARIZE READERS WITH The
BY RICHARD GREEN PARKER, A. M.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.
THE principal difficulty, in teaching the art of Reading, lies in conveying to the pupil a clear idea of tone, modulation, and inflection of the voice. If the teacher can induce the pupil to inflect his voice at all, he will find little difficulty in teaching him to modulate it rightly. Nature directs every one in this, in common conversation, with unerring precision. It is only, therefore, by “holding the mirror up to Nature,” that the teacher can expect to see her as she is. Few teachers have not noticed the animation and correctness with which even young children will modulate the colloquial parts of their story-books. But the same children almost invariably fall into a lifeless, monotonous manner, when performing their portioned tasks in their readingbooks at school. This arises from no want of excellent selections for evercises in Reading. But a wide distinction is to be drawn between a lesson and an exercise. We have many selections abounding in all the beauties of taste, learning, and judgment; which may, with great advantage, be put into the hands of the pupil, after he has been taught the art of reading; but I have met with none, designed for the general classes of learners, which have combined instruction with practice. It has been thought that directions for the management of the voice in reading would be lost upon young learners, and that they are suitable for them only whose riper powers and more matured intellect better fit them for their reception. But it seems to have been forgotten, how easily children are taught to imitate. If, in connexion with some colloquial sentence, another of less obvious import be given, requiring the same modulations and inflections of the voice, the child naturally catches the true manner of modulating the latter, from the former. It is upon this principle of imitation and analogy combined, that many of the tessons in this volume are founded. The author has been convinced, by experience, in the institution under his charge, that the principle is a good
one; and experience, he thinks, does not often deceive. Whether the details
* of the plan are judiciously executed, is for others to decide.
Such being the plan of the work, the author has thought it inexpedient to encumber its pages with rules, definitions, or explanatory details; because it has been fully proved that how simple soever a rule may be, the pupil will not readily apply it, unless particularly directed by the teacher; and if nature and analogy will direct him to a correct and rhetorical modulation, rules and definitions become superfluous. A great deficiency in all our reading-books remains to be supplied. The Spelling-book and the Grammar furnish copious explanations of the pauses and other marks used in written language. But there is no elementary work, designed for common schools, which affords particular exercises for the management of those important marks. The author has endeavored, in the first part of this volume, to supply this remarkable defect; and he believes, that, how much soever others may differ from him in the analogies which he has traced, in the subsequent lessons, between “the models" and the exercises under the models, he is justly entitled to the credit of having originated the two important principles above mentioned, upon which the plan of the work is founded ; and he is encouraged, not only by experience, but by the confident opinion of many judicious friends, to whom the plan has been unfolded, to believe that this volume, assisted by the familiar explanations of the teacher, will serve as a better introduction to the art of Reading than a more labored treatise formed on rhetorical rule. A lesson is first devoted to each of the respective pauses and other marks, and the pupil is then led by progressive steps, in the subsequent lessons, from the simplest sentences, requiring little attention to pause, emphasis, or inflection of the voice, to those which involve the highest exertions of taste and intellect.