Original Document
Original Document
Martin G. Brumbaugh, Preface to The Standard First Reader, 1898.

THIS is a book of reading with appropriate illustrations, and not a book of pictures with readings. The central purpose of the lessons is to lead the child through a carefully graded vocabulary to an interpretation of language and an appreciation of good literature.

At the outset the interests of the child have been considered. The lessons progress not along any fanciful or forced scheme, but solely in harmony with the interests of the child. The first lessons deal with the more familiar activities and experiences of the child, and progress by careful gradation to such less familiar but by no means less valuable experiences as the child delights to discover in his reading.

The language is easy, plain, and natura1. No word has been omitted because it contains a letter or two above the limit that might have been set. Words arc difficult or easy not because of the number of letters they contain, but because of the remoteness or nearness of the thing they signify to the interests of the child.

Singleness of aim has led to the introduction of script at the beginning of the second part of the book, at a time corresponding to the introduction of script in the work of the pllpi1. By this time the child will have mastered the process of word interpretation from printed forms, and will the more easily and readily acquire, in connection with the writing of script, its interpretation. This order will be found to be pedagogically wise.

The lessons are arranged in convenient groups. Each group is preceded by a phonetic page containing an analysis of' all the new words of the group, together with such additional words as may be necessary to impress the sounds of the letters. In this way the child receives all the sound analysis of words required for the mastery of the text; and, through a careful gradation, these lessons will, in the end, give him a complete mastery of the essentials in phonetics. Should any teacher prefer to omit the phonetic work, the new words at the beginning of the several lessons will afford ample drill in sight-analysis of words. The text is thus fitted for double treatment, and a thorough mastery of the word is rendered easy before any reading of text is required. In the text no diacritical or other marks are introduced.

At the close of each group of lessons a review lesson is given, containing no new word", but giving new thoughts by using the familiar symbols. These review lessons are exercises in sight-reading. The child thus begins the group with mastery of sounds and closes with mastery of sight-symbols,–in short, with correct reading.

At convenient intervals appropriate memory exercises have been introduced. Committing these to memory will afford a most helpful and stimulating exercise. The child's imagination will be stimulated and a taste acquired for pure, clean literature.

Throughout the book great care has been exercised to present reasonable experiences in chaste and stately language. Every form and variety of sentence common to the child is, however, in the text. It is believed that in this way the child's taste will be systematically developed, and an abiding love for the best literature acquired.

The drawings for this book were made by Miss Maria L. Kirk, and are as carefully and progressively adjusted to the growing interests of the child as is the text. The illustrations aid in the interpretation of the text.

Credit: Martin G. Brumbaugh, The Standard First Reader, Philadelphia: Christopher Sower Co., 1898.
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