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Title: Special Method in Primary Reading and Oral Work with Stories
Author: McMurry, Charles A. (Charles Alexander), 1857-1929
Language: English
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                             SPECIAL METHOD
                           IN PRIMARY READING

                             SPECIAL METHOD
                         PRIMARY READING AND ORAL
                            WORK WITH STORIES


                        CHARLES A. MCMURRY, PH.D.


                                New York
                          THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                      LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

                          _All rights reserved_

                            COPYRIGHT, 1903.
                        BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

              Set up and electrotyped July, 1903; reprinted
                              April, 1905.


This book attempts the discussion of two very important problems in
primary education. First, the oral work in the handling of stories, and
second, the introduction to the art of reading in the earliest school
work. The very close relation between the oral work in stories and the
exercises in reading in the first three years in school is quite fully
explained. The oral work in story-telling has gained a great importance
in recent years, but has not received much discussion from writers of
books on method.

Following this "Special Method in Primary Reading," a second volume,
called the "Special Method in the Reading of Complete English Classics
in the Grades of the Common School," completes the discussion of reading
and literature in the intermediate and grammar grades.

Both of the books of Special Method are an application of the ideas
discussed in "The Principles of General Method" and "The Method of the

Still other volumes of Special Method in Geography, History, and Natural
Science furnish the outlines of the courses of study in these subjects,
and also a full discussion of the value of the material selected and of
the method of treatment.

At the close of each chapter and at the end of the book a somewhat
complete graded list of books, for the use of both pupils and teachers,
is given. The same plan is followed in all the books of this series, so
that teachers may be able to supply themselves with the best helps with
as little trouble as possible.

                                                 CHARLES A. McMURRY.


  CHAPTER I                                               PAGE
  THE REASON FOR ORAL WORK IN STORIES                        1

  THE BASIS OF SKILL IN ORAL WORK                           16

  FIRST GRADE STORIES                                       47

  SECOND GRADE STORIES                                      75

  THIRD GRADE STORIES                                      103


  METHOD IN PRIMARY READING                                173

  LIST OF BOOKS FOR PRIMARY GRADES                         190




The telling and reading of stories to children in early years, before
they have mastered the art of reading, is of such importance as to
awaken the serious thought of parents and teachers. To older people it
is a source of constant surprise--the attentive interest which children
bestow upon stories. Almost any kind of a story will command their
wide-awake thought. But the tale which they can fully understand and
enjoy has a unique power to concentrate their mental energy. There is an
undivided, unalloyed absorption of mind in good stories which augurs
well for all phases of later effort. To get children into this habit of
undivided mental energy, of singleness of purpose in study, is most
promising. In primary grades, the fluttering, scatter-brained truancy of
thought is the chronic obstacle to success in study.

The telling or reading of stories to children naturally begins at home,
before the little ones are old enough for school. The mother and father,
the aunts and uncles, and any older person who delights in children,
find true comfort and entertainment in rehearsing the famous stories to
children. The Mother Goose, the fables, the fairy tales, the "Arabian
Nights," Eugene Field's and Stevenson's poems of child life, the Bible
stories, the myths, and some of the old ballads have untold treasures
for children. If one has a voice for singing the old melodies, the charm
of music intensifies the effect. Little ones quickly memorize what
delights them, and not seldom, after two or three readings, children of
three and four years will be heard repeating whole poems or large parts
of them. The repetition of the songs and stories till they become
thoroughly familiar gives them their full educative effect. They become
a part of the permanent furniture of the mind. If the things which the
children learn in early years have been well selected from the real
treasures of the past (of which there is a goodly store), the seeds of
true culture have been deeply sown in their affections.

The opportunities of the home for good story-telling are almost
boundless. Parents who perceive its worth and are willing to take time
for it, find in this early period greater opportunity to mould the lives
of children and put them into sympathetic touch with things of beauty
and value than at any other time. At this age children are well-nigh
wholly at the mercy of their elders. They will take what we give them
and take it at its full worth or worthlessness. They absorb these things
as the tender plant absorbs rain and sunshine.

The kindergarten has naturally found in the story one of its chief means
of effectiveness. Stories, songs, and occupations are its staples.
Dealing with this same period of early childhood, before the more taxing
work of the school begins, it finds that the children's minds move with
that same freedom and spontaneity in these stories with which their
bodies and physical energies disport themselves in games and

It is fortunate for childhood that we have such wholesome and healthful
material, which is fitted to give a child's mental action a well-rounded
completeness. His will, his sensibility, and his knowing faculty, all in
one harmonious whole, are brought into full action. In short, not a
fragment but the whole child is focussed and concentrated upon one
absorbing object of thought.

The value of the oral treatment of stories is found in the greater
clearness and interest with which they can be presented orally. There is
a keener realism, a closer approximation to experimental facts, to the
situations, the hardships, to the sorrows and triumphs of persons. The
feelings and impulses of the actors in the story are felt more sharply.
The reality of the surrounding conditions and difficulties is presented
so that a child transports himself by the power of sympathy and
imagination into the scenes described.

There is no way by which this result can be accomplished in early years
except by the oral presentation of stories. Until the children have
learned to read and have acquired sufficient mastery of the art of
reading so that it is easy and fluent, there is no way by which they can
get at good stories for themselves. Average children require about three
years to acquire this mastery of the reading art. Not many children read
stories from books, with enjoyment and appreciation, till they are nine
or ten years old; but from the age of four to ten they are capable of
receiving an infinite amount of instruction and mental stimulus from
hearing good stories. In fact, many of the best stories ever produced in
the history of the world can be thoroughly enjoyed by children before
they have learned to read. This is true of Grimm's and Andersen's
stories, of the myths of Hiawatha and Norseland, and of the early
Greeks, of the Bible stories, the "Arabian Nights," "Robin Hood,"
besides many other stories, poems, ballads, and biographies which are
among the best things in our literature.

In these early years the minds of children may be enriched with a
furnishment of ideas of much value for all their future use, a sort of
capital well invested, which will bring rich returns. Minds early
fertilized with this variety of thought material become more flexible,
productive, and acquisitive.

For many years, and even centuries, it was supposed that early education
could furnish children with little except the forms and instruments of
knowledge, the tools of acquisition, such as ability to read, spell, and
write, and to use simple numbers. But the susceptibility of younger
children to the powerful culture influence of story, poem, and nature
study, was overlooked.

We now have good reason to believe that there is no period when the
educative and refining influences of good literature in the form of
poems and story can be made so effective as in this early period from
four to ten years. That period which has been long almost wholly devoted
to the dry formalities and mechanics of knowledge, to the dull and
oftentimes benumbing drills of alphabets, spelling, and arithmetical
tables, is found to be capable of a fruitful study of stories, fables,
and myths, and an indefinite extension of ideas and experiences in
nature observation.

But the approach to these sunny fields of varied and vivid experience is
not through books, except as the teacher's mind has assimilated their
materials and prepared them for lively presentation.

The oral speech through which the stories are given to children is
completely familiar to them, so that they, unencumbered by the forms of
language, can give their undivided thought to the story. Oral speech is,
therefore, the natural channel through which stories should come in
early years. The book is at first wholly foreign to them, and it takes
them three years or more of greater or less painful effort to get such
easy mastery of printed forms as to gain ready access to thought in
books. A book, when first put into the hands of a child, is a complete
obstruction to thought. The oral story, on the contrary, is a perfectly
transparent medium of thought. A child can see the meaning of a story
through oral speech as one sees a landscape through a clear window-pane.
If a child, therefore, up to the age of ten, is to get many and
delightsome views into the fruitful fields of story-land, this miniature
world of all realities, this repository of race ideas, it must be
through oral speech which he has already acquired in the years of

It is an interesting blunder of teachers, and one that shows their
unreflecting acceptance of traditional customs, to assume that the
all-absorbing problem of primary instruction is the acquisition of a new
book language (the learning to read), and to ignore that rich mother
tongue, already abundantly familiar, as an avenue of acquisition and
culture. But we are now well convinced that the ability to read is an
instrument of culture, not culture itself, and primarily the great
object of education is to inoculate the children with the ideas of our
civilization. The forms of expression are also of great value, but they
are secondary and incidental as compared with the world of ideas.

There is an intimate connection between learning to read and the oral
treatment of stories in primary schools which is very interesting and
suggestive to the teacher. Routine teachers may think it a waste of time
to stop for the oral presentation of stories. But the more thoughtful
and sympathetic teacher will think it better to stimulate the child's
mind than to cram his memory. The young mind fertilized by ideas is
quicker to learn the printed forms than a mind barren of thought. Yet
this proposition needs to be seen and illustrated in many forms.

Children should doubtless make much progress in learning to read in the
first year of school. But coincident with these exercises in primary
reading, and, as a general thing, preliminary to them, is a lively and
interested acquaintance with the best stories. It is a fine piece of
educative work to cultivate in children, at the beginning of school
life, a real appreciation and enjoyment of a few good stories. These
stories, thus rendered familiar, and others of similar tone and quality,
may serve well as a part of the reading lessons. It is hardly possible
to cultivate this literary taste in the reading books alone, unrelieved
by oral work. The primers and first readers, when examined, will give
ample proof of this statement. In spite of the utmost effort of skilled
primary teachers to make attractive books for primary children, our
primers and first readers show unmistakable signs of their formal and
mechanical character. They are essentially drill books.

It seems well, therefore, to have in primary schools two kinds of work
in connection with story and reading, the oral work in story-telling,
reproduction, expression, etc., and the drill exercises in learning to
read. The former will keep up a wide-awake interest in the best thought
materials suitable for children, the latter will gradually acquaint them
with the necessary forms of written and printed language. Moreover, the
interest aroused in the stories is constantly transferring itself to the
reading lessons and giving greater spirit and vitality even to the
primary efforts at learning to read. In discussing the method of primary
reading we shall have occasion to mention the varied devices of games,
activities, drawings, dramatic action, blackboard exercises, and picture
work, by which an alert primary teacher puts life and motive into early
reading work, but fully as important as all these things put together is
the growing insight and appreciation for good stories. When a child
makes the discovery, as Hugh Miller said, "that learning to read is
learning to get stories out of books" he has struck the chord that
should vibrate through all his future life. The real motive for reading
is to get something worth the effort of reading. Even if it takes longer
to accomplish the result in this way, the result when accomplished is in
all respects more valuable. But it is probable that children will learn
to read fully as soon who spend a good share of their time in oral story

In discussing the literary materials used in the first four grades, we
suggest the following grading of certain large groups of literary
matter, and the relation of oral work to the reading in each subsequent
grade is clearly marked.

                ORAL WORK.                  READING.

  _1st Grade._  Games, Mother Goose.        Lessons based on Games, etc.
                Fables, Fairy Tales.        Board Exercises.
                Nature Myths, Child Poems.  Primers, First Readers.
                                            Simple Myths, Stories, etc.

  _2d Grade._   Robinson Crusoe.            Fables, Fairy Tales.
                Hiawatha.                   Myths and Poems.
                Seven Little Sisters.       Second Readers.
                                            Hiawatha Primer.

  _3d Grade._   Greek and Norse Myths.      Robinson Crusoe.
                Ballads and Legendary       Andersen's & Grimm's Tales.
                  Stories.                  Child's Garden of Verses.
                Ulysses, Jason, Siegfried.  Third Readers.
                Old Testament Stories.

  _4th Grade._  American Pioneer History    Greek and Norse Myths.
                  Stories.                  Historical Ballads.
                Early Biographical Stories  Ulysses, Arabian Nights.
                  of Europe, as Alfred,     Hiawatha, Wonder Book.
                  Solon, Arminius, etc.

This close dependence of reading proper, in earlier years, upon the oral
treatment of stories as a preliminary, is based fundamentally upon the
idea that suitable and interesting thought matter is the true basis of
progress in reading, and that the strengthening of the taste for good
books is a much greater thing than the mere acquisition of the art of
reading. The motive with which children read or try to learn to read is,
after all, of the greatest consequence.

The old notion that children must first learn to read and then find,
through the mastery of this art, the entrance to literature is exactly
reversed. First awaken a desire for things worth reading, and then
incorporate these and similar stories into the regular reading exercises
as far as possible.

In accordance with this plan, children, by the time they are nine or ten
years old, will become heartily acquainted with three or four of the
great classes of literature, the fables, fairy tales, myths, and such
world stories as Crusoe, Aladdin, Hiawatha, and Ulysses. Moreover, the
oral treatment will bring these persons and actions closer to their
thought and experience than the later reading alone could do. In fact,
if children have reached their tenth year without enjoying those great
forms of literature that are appropriate to childhood, there is small
prospect that they will ever acquire a taste for them. They have passed
beyond the age where a liking for such literature is most easily and
naturally cultivated. They move on to other things. They have passed
through one great stage of education and have emerged with a meagre and
barren outfit.

The importance of oral work as a lively means of entrance to studies is
seen also in other branches besides literature.

In geography and history the first year or two of introductory study is
planned for the best schools in the form of oral narrative and
discussion. Home geography in the third or fourth year, and history
stories in the fourth and fifth years of school, are best presented
without a text book by the teacher. Although the children have already
overcome, to some extent, the difficulty of reading, so great is the
power of oral presentation and discussion to vivify and realize
geographical and historical scenes that the book is discarded at first
for the oral treatment.

In natural science also, from the first year on the teacher must employ
an oral method of treatment. The use of books is not only impossible,
but even after the children have learned to read, it would defeat the
main purpose of instruction to make books the chief means of study. The
ability to observe and discern things, to use their own senses in
discriminating and comparing objects, in experiments and investigations,
is the fundamental purpose.

In language lessons, again, it is much better to use a book only as a
guide and to handle the lessons orally, collecting examples and stories
from other studies as the basis for language discussions.

It is apparent from this brief survey that an oral method is appropriate
to the early treatment of all the common school studies, that it gives
greater vivacity, intensity, simplicity, and clearness to all such
introductory studies.

The importance of story-telling and the initiation of children into the
delightful fields of literature through the teacher rather than through
the book are found to harmonize with a mode of treatment common to all
the studies in early years.

In this connection it is interesting to observe that the early
literature of the European nations was developed and communicated to the
people by word of mouth. The Homeric songs were chanted or sung at the
courts of princes. At Athens, in her palmy days, the great dramatists
and poets either recited their productions to the people or had them
presented to thousands of citizens in the open-air theatres. Even
historians like Thucidides read or recited their great histories before
the assembled people. In the early history of England, Scotland, and
other countries, the minstrels sang their ballads and epic poems in the
baronial halls and thus developed the early forms of music and poetry.
Shakespeare wrote his dramas for the theatre, and he seems to have paid
no attention at all to their appearance in book form, never revising
them or putting them into shape for the press.

This practice of all the early races of putting their great literature
before the people by song, dramatic action, and word of mouth is very
suggestive to the teacher. The power and effectiveness of this mode of
presentation, not only in early times but even in the highly civilized
cities of London and Athens, is unmistakable proof of the educative
value of such modes of teaching. This is only another indication of the
kinship of child life with race life, which has been emphasized by many
great thinkers.

The oral method offers a better avenue for all vigorous modes of
expression than the reading book. It can be observed that the general
tendency of the book is toward a formal, expressionless style in young
readers. Go into a class where the teacher is handling a story orally
and you will see her falling naturally into all forms of vivid narrative
and presentation, gesture, facial expression, versatile intonation,
blackboard sketching and picture work, the impersonation of characters
in dialogue, dramatic action, and general liveliness of manner. The
children naturally take up these same activities and modes of uttering
themselves. Even without the suggestion of teachers, little children
express themselves in such actions, attitudes, and impersonations. This
may be often observed in little boys and girls of kindergarten age, when
telling their experiences to older persons, or when playing among
themselves. The freedom, activity, and vivacity of children is, indeed,
in strong contrast to the apathetic, expressionless, monotonous style of
many grown people, including teachers.

But the oral treatment of stories has a tendency to work out into modes
of activity even more effective than those just described.

In recent years, since so much oral work has been done in elementary
schools, children have been encouraged also to express themselves freely
in blackboard drawings and in pencil work at their desks by way of
illustrating the stories told. Moreover, in paper cutting, to represent
persons and scenes, in clay modelling, to mould objects presented, and
in constructive and building efforts, in making forts, tents, houses,
tools, dress, and in showing up modes of life, the children have found
free scope for their physical and mental activities. These have not only
led to greater clearness and vividness in their mental conceptions, but
have opened out new fields of self-activity and inventiveness.

So long as work in reading and literature was confined to the book
exercises, nearly all these modes of expression were little employed and
even tabooed.

Finally, the free use of oral narrative in the literature of early
years, in story-telling and its attendant modes of expression, opens up
to primary teachers a rare opportunity of becoming genuine educators.
There was a time, and it still continues with many primary teachers,
when teaching children to read was a matter of pure routine, of formal
verbal drills and repetitions, as tiresome to the teacher, if possible,
as to the little ones. But now that literature, with its treasures of
thought and feeling, of culture and refinement, has become the staple of
the primary school, teachers have a wide and rich field of inspiring
study. The mastery and use of much of the preferred literature which has
dropped down to us out of the past is the peculiar function of the
primary teacher. Contact with great minds, like those of Kingsley,
Ruskin, Andersen, the Grimm brothers, Stevenson, Dickens, Hawthorne, De
Foe, Browning, Æsop, Homer, and the unknown authors of many of the best
ballads, epics, and stories, is enough to give the primary teacher a
sense of the dignity of her work. On the other hand, the opportunity to
give to children the free and versatile development of their active
powers is an equal encouragement.

Teachers who have taken up with zeal this great problem of introducing
children to their full birthright, the choice literature of the world
suited to their years, and of linking this story work with primary
reading so as to give it vitality,--such teachers have found school life
assuming new and unwonted charms; the great problems of the educator
have become theirs; the broadened opportunity for the acquisition of
varied skill and professional efficiency has given a strong ambitious
tone to their work.



Accepting the statement that skill in oral presentation of a story is a
prime demand in early education, the important question for teachers is
how to cultivate their resources in this phase of teaching, how to
become good story-tellers.

It may be remarked that, for the great majority of people, story-telling
is not a gift but an acquisition. There are, of course, occasional
geniuses, but they may be left out of consideration. They are not often
found in the schoolroom any more than in other walks of life. What we
need is a practical, sensible development of a power which we all
possess in varying degrees. Nor is it the fluent, volatile, verbose
talker who makes a good oral teacher, but rather one who can see and
think clearly: one who knows how to combine his ideas and experiences
into clear and connected series of thought.

We may proceed, therefore, to a discussion of the needs and resources of
a good story-teller.

1. Without much precaution it may be stated that he should have a rich
experience in all the essential realities of human life. This covers a
large field of common things and refers rather to contact with life
than to mere book knowledge. Yet it is the depth, heartiness, and
variety of knowledge rather than the source from which it springs that
concerns us. Books often give us just this deep penetrating experience,
as soon as we learn how to select and use them. We need to know human
life directly and in all sorts of acts, habits, feelings, motives, and
conditions,--something as Shakespeare knew it, only within the compass
of our narrower possibilities. Likewise the physical world with its
visible and invisible forces and objects besetting us on every side.
These things must impress themselves upon us vividly in detail as well
as in the bulk. The hand that has been calloused by skill-producing
labor, the back that aches with burdens bravely borne, the brain that
has sweat with strong effort, are expressions of this kind of knowledge
of the world. Clear-grained perceptions are acquired from many sources:
from travel, labor, books, reflection, sickness, observation. I go
to-day into a small shop where heavy oak beer-kegs are made, and watch
the man working this refractory material into water-tight kegs that will
stand hard usage at the hands of hard drinkers for twenty years. If my
mind has been at work as I watch this man for an hour, with his heavy
rough staves made by hand, his tools and machines, his skill and strong
muscular action, the amount and profit of his labor, that man's work has
gone deep into my whole being. I can almost live his life in an hour's
time, and feel its contact with the acute problems of our modern
industrial life. That is a kind of knowledge and experience worth fully
as much as a sermon in Trinity Church or a University lecture.

The teacher needs a great store of these concrete facts and
illustrations. Without them he is a carpenter without tools or boards.
He needs to know industries, occupations, good novels, typical life
scenes, sunsets, sorrows, joys, inventions, poets, farmers--all such
common, tangible things. Even from fools and blackguards he can get
experiences that will last him a lifetime if they only strike in and do
not flare off into nothingness.

Social experience in all sorts of human natures, disposition, and
environing circumstance is immediately valuable to the teacher.

Close acquaintance with children, with their early feelings and
experiences, with their timidity or boldness, with their whims or
conceits, their dislikes and preferences, their enthusiasms and
interests, with their peculiar home and neighborhood experiences and
surroundings, with their games and entertainments, with the books and
papers they read, with their dolls and playthings, their vacations and
outings, with their pets and playhouses, with their tools and mechanical
contrivances--all these and other like realities of child life put the
teacher on a footing of possible appreciation and sympathy with
children. These are the materials and facts which a good teacher knows
how to work up in oral recitations.

Of course the kindly, sympathetic social mood which is not fretted by
others' frailties and perversities, but, like Irving or Addison,
exhibits a liberal charity or humorous affection for all things human,
is a fortunate possession or acquisition for the teacher.

2. It may be said also, without fear of violent contradiction, that a
teacher needs to be a master of the story he is about to tell. It may be
well to spread out to view the important things necessary to such a
mastery. The reading over of the story till its facts and episodes have
become familiar and can be reproduced in easy narrative is at least a
minimum requirement. Even this moderate demand is much more serious than
the old text-book routine in history or reading, where the teacher, with
one eye on the book, the other on the class, and his finger at the
place, managed to get the questions before the class in a fixed order.

Let us look a little beneath the surface of the story. What is its
central idea, the author's aim or motive in producing it? Not a little
effort and reflection may be necessary to get at the bottom of this
question. Some of the most famous stories, like "Aladdin," "Gulliver's
Travels," and the "City Musicians," may be so wild and wayward as to
elude or blunt the point of this question. The story may have a hard
shell, but the sharp teeth of reflection will get at the sweet kernel
within, else the story is not worth while. In some of the stories, like
"Baucis and Philemon," "The Great Stone Face," "The Pied Piper of
Hamelin," "The Discontented Pine Tree," and "Hiawatha's Fasting," the
main truth is easily reflected from the story and caught up even by the

This need for getting at the heart of the story is clearly seen in all
the subsequent work. It is the exercise of such a critical judgment
which qualifies the teacher to discriminate between good and poor
stories. In the treatment of the story the essential topics are laid out
upon the basis of this controlling idea or motive. The leading aims and
carefully worded questions point toward this central truth. The side
lights and attendant episodes are arranged with reference to it like the
scenes in a drama. The effort to get at the central truth and the
related ideas is a sifting-out process, a mode of assimilating and
mastering the story more thorough-going than the mere memorizing of the
facts and words for the purpose of narration. The thought-getting
self-activity and common-sense logic which are involved in this mode of
assimilating a story are good for both pupils and teacher.

The mastery of a story needed by an oral teacher implies abundance of
resource in illustrative device and explanation. When children fail to
grasp an idea, it is necessary to fall back upon some familiar object
or experience not mentioned in the book. Emergencies arise which tax the
teacher's ingenuity to the utmost. Even the children will raise queries
that baffle his wit. In preparing a story for the classroom it is
necessary to see it from many sides, to foresee these problems and
difficulties. Oftentimes the collateral knowledge derived from history
or geography or from similar episodes in other stories will suggest the

It is a favorite maxim of college teachers and of those who deal mostly
with adults or older pupils, that if a person knows a thing he can teach
it. Leaving out of account the numerous cases of those who are well
posted in their subjects, but cannot teach, it is well to note the
scope, variety, and thoroughness of knowledge necessary to a good
teacher to handle it skilfully with younger children. Besides the
thorough knowledge of the subject which scholars have demanded, it
requires an equally clear knowledge of the mental resources of children,
the language which they can understand, the things which attract their
interest and attention, and the ways of holding the attention of a group
of children of different capacities, temper, and disposition. Any
dogmatic professor who thinks he can teach the story of "Cinderella" or
Andersen's "Five Peas in the Pod," because he has a full knowledge of
the facts of the story, should make trial of his skill upon a class of
twenty children in the first grade. We suggest, however, that he do it
quietly, without inviting in his friends to witness his triumph.

No, the mastery of the subject needed for an effective handling of it in
oral work is different and is greater than they have yet dreamed of who
think that mere objective knowledge is all that is needed by a teacher.
The application of knowledge to life is generally difficult, more taxing
by far than the mere acquisition of facts and principles. But the use of
one's knowledge in the work of instructing young children, in getting
them to acquire and assimilate it, is perhaps the most difficult of all
forms of the application of knowledge. It is difficult because it is so
complex. To think clearly and accurately on some topic for one's single
self is not easy, but to get twenty children of varying capacities and
weaknesses, with their stumbling, acquisitive, flaring minds, to keep
step along one clear line of thought is a piece of daring enterprise.

The mastery of the story, therefore, for successful oral work, must be
detailed, comprehensive, many-sided, and adapted to the fluttering
thoughts of childhood.

3. The chief instrument through which the teacher communicates the story
is oral speech, and this he needs to wield with discriminating skill and
power. Preachers and lecturers, when called upon to talk to children,
nearly always talk over their heads, using language not appropriate and
comprehensible to children. Those accustomed to deal with little folks
are quickly sensitive to this amateur awkwardness. Young teachers just
out of the higher schools make the same blunder. They are also inclined
to think that fluency and verbosity are a sign of power. But such false
tinsel makes no impression upon children except confusion of thought.
Children require simple, direct words, clearly defined in thought and
grounded upon common experience and conviction. Facts and realities
should stand behind the words of a teacher. What he seeks to marshal
before children is people and things. Words should serve as photographs
of objects; instantaneous views of experiences. In some social and
diplomatic circles words are said to conceal thought, but this kind of
verbal diplomacy has no place in schools.

It is an interesting question how far the language and style of the
authors should be preserved by the narrator. It would be an error to
forbid the exact use of the author's words and an equal error to require
it. It seems reasonable to say that the teacher should become absorbed
in the author's style and mode of presenting the story. This will lead
to a close approximation to the author's words, without any slavish
imitation. In the midst of oral presentation and discussion it would be
impossible to hold strictly to the original. The teacher's own language
and conception of the story will press in to simplify and clarify the
meaning. No one holds strictly to a literary style in telling a story.
Conversational ideas and original momentary impulses of thought demand
their own forms of utterance. And yet it is well to appropriate the
style and expression of the writer so as to accustom the children to the
best forms. A few very apt and forcible sentences will be found in any
good author which the teacher will naturally employ.

But the teacher must have freedom. When he has once thoroughly
appropriated the story he must give vent to his own spontaneity and
power. Later, when the children come to read these stories, they will
enjoy them in their full literary form.

4. The power of clear and interesting presentation of a story is one of
the chief professional acquisitions of a good primary teacher. It
involves many things besides language, including liveliness of manner,
gesture, facial expression, action, dramatic impersonation, skill in
blackboard illustration, good humor and tact in working with children, a
strong imagination, and a real appreciation for the literature adapted
to children.

Perhaps the fundamental need is simplicity and clearness of thought and
language combined with a pleasing and attractive manner. Vague and
incomprehensible thoughts and ideas are all out of place. The teacher
should be strict with himself in this matter, and while reading and
mastering the story, should use compulsion upon himself to arrive at an
unmistakable clearness of thought. The objects, buildings, palaces,
woods, caves, animals, persons, and places should be sharply imaged by
the imagination; the feelings and passions of the actors should be
keenly realized. Often a vague and uncertain conception needs to be
scanned, the passage reread, and the notion framed into clearness. In
describing the palace of the sleeping beauty, begirt with woods, the
sentinels standing statuelike at the portal, the lords and ladies at
their employments, the teacher should think out the entrance way, hall,
rooms, and persons of the palace so clearly that his thought and
language will not stumble over uncertainties. Transparent clearness and
directness of thought are the result of effort and circumspection. They
are well worth the pains required to gain them. A teacher who thinks
clearly will generate clear habits of thought in children.

The power of interesting narrative and description is not easily
explained. It is a thing not readily analyzed into its elements. Perhaps
the best way to find out what it is may be discovered by reading the
great story-tellers, such as Macaulay, Irving, Kingsley, De Foe,
Hawthorne, Homer, Plutarch, Scott, and Dickens. Novelists like George
Eliot, Victor Hugo, Cooper, Scott, and Dickens, possess this secret
also, and even some of the historians, as Herodotus, Fiske, Green,
Parkman, Motley, and others. It is not so important that a teacher
should give a cold analysis of their qualities as that he should fall
insensibly into the vivid and realistic style of the best story-tellers.
One who has read Pyle's Robin Hood stories until they are familiar will,
to a considerable extent, appropriate his fertile and happy Old-English
style, the sturdy English spirit of bold Robin, his playful humor, and
his apt utterance of homely truths.

There are certain qualities that stand out prominently in the good
story-tellers. They are simple and concrete in their descriptions, they
deal very little in general, vague statements or abstractions, they hold
closely to the persons of the story in the midst of interesting
surroundings, they are profuse in the use of distinct figures of speech,
appealing to the fancy or imagination. They often have a humorous vein
which gives infinite enjoyment and spreads a happy charity throughout
the world.

The art of graphic illustration on the blackboard is in almost constant
demand in oral work. Even rude and untechnical sketches by teachers who
have no acquired skill in artistic drawing are of the greatest value in
giving a quick and accurate perception of places, buildings, persons,
and surrounding conditions of a story or action. The map of Crusoe's
island, the drawings to represent his tent, cave, boat, country
residence, fortifications, dress, utensils, and battles are natural and
simple modes of realizing clearly his labors and adventures. They save
much verbal description and circumlocution. The teacher needs to
acquire absolute boldness and freedom in using such illustrative
devices. The children will, of course, catch this spirit, as they are by
nature inclined to use drawing as a mode of expression.

A similar freedom in the teacher is necessary in the use of bodily
action, gesture, and facial expression in story-telling. The teacher
needs to become natural, childlike, and mobile in these things; for
children are naturally much given to such demonstrations in the
expression of their thought. Little girls of three and four years in the
home, when free from self-consciousness, are marvellously and
delightfully expressive by means of eyes, gestures, hands, and arms and
whole bodily attitudes. Why should not this naive expressiveness be
gently fostered in the school? Indeed it is, and in many schools the
little ones are as happy and whole-souled and spontaneous in their modes
of expression as we have suggested.

Dramatization, if cultivated, extends a teacher's gamut of
expressiveness. Our inability or slowness to respond to this suggestion
is a sign of a certain narrowness or cramp in our culture and training.
In Normal schools where young teachers are trained in the art of
reading, the dramatic instinct should be strongly developed. The power
to other one's self in dramatic action, to assume and impersonate a
variety of characters, is a real expression and enlargement of the
personality. It demands sympathy and feeling as well as intellectual
insight. The study and reading of the great dramatists, the seeing of
good plays, amateur efforts in this direction, the frequent oral reading
of Shakespeare, Dickens, and other dramatists and novelists will
cultivate and enlarge the teacher's power in this worthy and wholesome

The use of good pictures is also an important means of adding to the
beauty and clearness of stories. The pictures of Indian life in
"Hiawatha," the illustrated editions of "Robinson Crusoe," the copies of
ancient works of art in some editions of the Greek myths, Howard Pyle's
illustrated "Robin Hood," and other books of this character add greatly
to the vividness of ideas. Such pictures should be handled with care,
not distributed promiscuously among the children while the lesson is
going on. The teacher needs to study a picture, and discuss it
intelligently with the children, asking questions which bring out its
representative qualities.

It is evident the skilful oral presentation of a story calls out no
small degree of clear knowledge, force of language, illustrative device,
dramatic instinct, and a freedom and versatility of action both mental
and physical.

5. A clear outline of leading points in a story is a source of strength
to the teacher and the basis later of good reproductive work by the
children. The short stories in the first grade hardly need a formal
outline, and even in second grade the sequence of ideas in a story is
often so simple and easy that outlines of leading topics may not be
needed. But in third and fourth grade it is well in the preliminary
study and mastery of a story to divide it up into clearly marked
segments, with a distinctive title for each division. It is difficult to
get teachers to do this kind of close logical work, and still more
difficult to have them remember it in the midst of oral presentation and
discussion. If the main points of the story as thus outlined are placed
upon the blackboard as the narrative advances, it keeps in mind a clear
survey of the whole and serves as the best basis for the children's
reproduction of the story. It compels both teacher and pupils to keep to
a close logical connection of ideas and a sifting out of the story to
get at the main points. Without these well-constructed outlines the
memory of the story is apt to fall into uncertainty and confusion, and
the children's reproduction becomes fragmentary and disorderly.
Experience shows that teachers are prone to be loose and careless in
bringing their stories into such a well-ordered series of distinct
topics. It is really a sign of a thoughtful, logical, and judicious
mastery of a subject to have thrown it thus into its prominent points of
narration. Oral work often fails of effectiveness and thoroughness,
because of these careless habits of teachers. Such an outline, when put
into the children's regular note-books, serves as the best basis for
later surveys and reviews.

6. The oral narration and presentation of stories has a curious way of
being turned into _development lessons_, in which the teacher deals in
questions and problematic situations and the children work out many of
the facts and incidents of the story by a series of guesses and
inferences. These are well known as development lessons, and they are
capable of exhibiting the highest forms of excellence in teaching or the
most drivelling waste of time. The subject is a hard one to handle, but
it needs a clear and simple elucidation as much as any problem in the
teaching profession. Generally speaking it is better for young teachers
not to launch out recklessly upon the full tide of development
instruction. It is better to learn the handling of the craft on quieter
waters. Development work needs to be well charted. The varying winds and
currents, storms and calms, need to be studied and experienced before
one may become a good ship's master. Let young teachers first acquire
power in clear, simple, direct narration and description, using apt and
forcible language and holding to a clear-cut line of thought. This is no
slight task, and when once mastered and fixed in habit becomes the
foundation of a wider freedom and skill in development exercises. The
works of the great story-tellers furnish excellent models of this sort
of skill, and teachers may follow closely in the lines struck out by
Scott or Hawthorne in narrating a story.

A book story cannot do otherwise than simply narrate; it cannot develop,
set problems and questions and have children to find solutions and
answers. It must tell the facts and answer the questions. But in oral
narration there is room not only for all the skill of the story-writer,
but also the added force of voice, personality, lively manner, gesture,
action, and close adaptation to the immediate needs of children and
subject. This is enough to command the undivided effort of the young
teacher at first, without entering the stormy waters and shifting
currents of pure development work.

Yet the spirited teacher will not go far in narrating a story without a
tendency to ask questions to intensify the children's thought, or to
quicken the discussion of interesting points. Even if the teachers or
parents are but reading a good story from a book, it is most natural, at
times, to ask questions about the meaning of certain new words, or
geographical locations, or probabilities in the working out of the
story. These are the simple beginnings of development work, and produce
greater thoughtfulness, keener perceptions of the facts, and a better
absorption of the story into a child's previous knowledge.

A sharp limitation of development work is also found in the circumstance
that a large share of the facts in a story cannot by any sort of
ingenuity be developed. They form the necessary basis for later
development questions. Even many of the facts which might be developed
by a skilful teacher are better told directly, because of the difficulty
and time-devouring nature of the process. There may be a few central
problems in every story, which, after the necessary facts and conditions
have been plainly told, can be thoroughly sifted out by questions,
answers, and discussions. But to work out all the little details of a
story by question and surmise, to get the crude, unbaked opinions of all
the members of a class upon every episode and fact in a story, is a
pitiful caricature of good instruction.

The purpose of good development work is to get children to go deeper
into the meaning of a story, to realize its situations more keenly, and
to acquire habits of thoughtfulness, self-reliant judgment, and
inventiveness in solving difficulties. These results, and they are among
the chiefest set for the educator, cannot be accomplished by mere
narration and description. Their superior excellence and worth are the
prize of that superior skill which first-class development work demands.

With these preliminary remarks, criticisms, and limitations in mind, we
may inquire what are the essentials of good development work in oral

(1) Determine what parts of a story are capable of development; what
facts must be clearly present to the mind before questions can be put
and inferences derived. In a problem in arithmetic we first state the
known facts, the conditions upon which a solution can be based, and
then put a question whose answer is to be gained by a proper conjunction
and inference from these facts. The same thing is true in reasoning upon
the facts in a story.

(2) In placing a topic before children it is always advisable to touch
up the knowledge already possessed by the children, or any parts of
their previous experience which have strong interpretative ideas for the
new lesson. At this point apt questions which probe quickly into their
_previous knowledge and experience_ are at a premium. The teacher needs
to have considered beforehand in what particulars the children's home
surroundings and peculiar circumstances may furnish the desired
knowledge. The form of the questions may also receive close attention.
For these words must provoke definite thought. They should have hooks on
them which quickly drag experience into light.

(3) In order to give direction to the children's thoughts on the story's
line of progress, _interesting aims_ should be set up. These aims,
without anticipating precise results, must guide the children towards
the desired ends and turning-points in the story. The mind should be
kept in suspense as to the outcome, and the thoughts should centre and
play about these clearly projected aims. Such aims, floating constantly
in the van, are the objective points, towards which the energy of
thought is directed. Every good story-teller keeps such aims expressly
or tacitly in view. Novelists and dramatists hinge the interest of
readers or spectators upon this curiosity which is kept acutely
sensitive about results. Such an aim should be simple and concrete, not
vague or abstract, or general. It may be put in the form of a question
or statement or suggestion. It will be a good share of the teacher's
work in the preparation of the lesson to pick out and word these aims
which centre upon the leading topics of the lesson. For it is not enough
to have an aim at the beginning of a story, every chapter or separate
part of the story should have its aim. For aims are what stimulate
effort and keep up an attentive interest.

(4) Self-activity and thoughtfulness in working out problems find their
best opportunity in development work. The book, in narrating a story,
cannot set problems, or, if it does, it forthwith assumes the task of
solving them. But in the oral development of a story the essential facts
and conditions may be clearly presented and the solution of the
difficulties, as in arithmetic, left largely to the ingenuity and
reasoning power of the children. In the story of Hiawatha's
boat-building the problem may be set to the children as to what
materials he will use in the construction of the canoe, how the parts
were put together, and how he might decorate it. Not that the children
will give the whole solution, but they can contribute much to it. In
"Robinson Crusoe" many such problems arise. How shall he conceal his
cave and house from possible enemies? Where can he store his powder to
keep it from the lightning and from dampness? In fact, nearly every step
in Crusoe's interesting career is such a problem or difficulty to battle
with. In Kingsley's "Greek Heroes" and other renderings of the Greek
myths, the heroes are young men who have shrewdness, courage, and
strength to overcome difficulties. To put these difficulties before
children in such a way that they by their own thinking may anticipate,
in part at least, the proper solutions, is one of the chief merits of
development work. The story of Ulysses is a series of shrewd
contrivances to master difficulties or to avoid misfortunes, so that his
name has become a synonym for shrewdness. The story itself, therefore,
furnishes prime opportunities to develop resourcefulness. How shall he
escape from the enraged Polyphemos in the cave? His invention of the
wooden horse before Troy; his escape from the sirens; his battle with
the suitors and others. The story of Aladdin has such interesting
inventions, and even the fairy tales and fables have many turns of
shrewdness and device where the children's wits may be stimulated. The
turning-points and centres of interest in all such stories are the true
wrestling-grounds of thought. To put them point-blank before children in
continuous narrative, without question or discussion, is not the way to
produce thoughtfulness and inventive power. Merely reading or telling
stories to children without comment is entertaining, but not educative
in the better sense. Children will have plenty of chances at home and in
the school library to read and hear stories, but it is the business of
the school to teach them how to think as they read, to produce a habit
of foreseeing, reviewing, comparing, and judging. The serious defect of
much of young people's reading, from ten years on, is its superficial,
transitory character. It lacks depth, strength, and permanency. It is
not many stories that can be orally treated in this thorough-going way,
but enough to give the right idea, and to cultivate habit and taste for
more thoughtful study.

For skilled teachers, therefore, development lessons, within certain
limits, constitute a most important phase of oral instruction. It has
been sometimes assumed that a child acquires greater self-reliance and a
stronger exercise in self-activity by learning his lesson by himself
from a book. This is probably true in much of the arithmetic, where he
works out the solution of problems unaided; but in history and
literature the book work is chiefly memory work, and oftentimes becomes
of such parrot-like character as to be almost destitute of higher
educative qualities. It is advisable, therefore, to strengthen the
educative value of story work by giving it, through oral instruction,
this problem-solving character, this thought-stimulating, self-reliant
attitude of mind.

7. When the teacher has shown his best skill in presenting and
discussing a section of a story, it then devolves upon the children to
show their knowledge and grasp of the subject by reproducing it. The
task of getting this well done requires, perhaps, as much skill and
force of character as all previous work of oral instruction. Obstacles
are met with at once. It is dull work to go back over the same thing
again, and the children soon get tired of it. They want something new
and more exciting, and press for the rest of the story. Many children
are at first deficient in power of attention and in language, so that
their efforts at reproduction are clumsy and poor. The interest is weak,
the attention of the children scattering, and the class is apt to go to
pieces under the strain of such dull work. This is an emergency where a
teacher needs both skill and force of character. (What a comfort it is
to a writer to have such a platitude as this to fall back upon, when he
gets a teacher into a place where nothing but his own devices can save

There are, however, some hopeful considerations which may encourage a
teacher whose feet are not already too deep in the bog of

Children enjoy the retelling of good stories with which they are
familiar. They will do it at home, even if they are not very proficient
at it in school. In every class there are some talkative children who
are always willing to make an effort. Again, it is not always difficult
to interest boys and girls in doing a thing that requires skill and
power, such as memory, attentiveness, and mastery of correct language.
The force of the teacher's influence and authority is worth something in
setting up high standards of proficiency. Indeed, children respect a
teacher who makes rigorous demands upon them. The retelling of stories
is, after all, no harder nor duller than the reciting of a lesson
learned out of a book.

On the other hand, the whole effectiveness of oral work depends upon the
success of these oral reproductions. If children know that the teacher
is in earnest they will be more attentive, so as to be able to fulfil
the requirement. Such a reproduction reveals at once a child's correct
or incorrect grasp of the subject, and in either case the teacher knows
what to do next. Errors and misconceptions can be corrected and such
explanations or additional facts given as will clarify the subject.

In such reproductions it is praiseworthy to help the children as little
as possible, to throw them back upon their own power as much as
possible. If the teacher constantly relieves them with suggestive
questions, they lean more and more upon her direction and lose all
self-reliant power of continuous narrative. No, let the teacher keep a
prudent silence, let her seal her lips, if necessary, in order to teach
boys and girls to stand on their own power of thought.

Under this sort of discipline, kindly but rigorous, children will
gradually acquire confidence in manner, variety and choice of language,
in short, the ability to grasp clearly, hold firmly, and express
accurately the ideas which are presented to them.

The whole purpose of this sort of instruction is not so much to see how
skilfully a teacher can present a lesson (though that is a fine art) as
to determine how well a boy or girl can master or express knowledge, can
learn to think and speak for himself.

8. Some teachers despair of treating stories orally in large classes of
primary children. The task of holding together such wriggling varieties
of mental force and mental inertia is great. Some children are quick and
excitable, others are unresponsive and dull. Some are timid and
sensitive, others bold and demonstrative. Some are talkative and
irrepressible, others silent or listless.

It is interesting to consider the function and value of a good child's
story to fit in to such varying needs and personalities. If the purpose
of the primary school is simply to keep children busy at some kind of
orderly work, there are other tamer employments than stories. But if the
idea is to put children's minds and bodies into healthy, vigorous
action, it would be difficult to find a more suitable instrument than a
fitting story.

But a good primary teacher knows better than to establish brusque and
fixed standards of uniform success for all children. It will take much
time and patience to get anything like good oral responses from some
children. Like budding flowers some unfold their leaves and petals much
quicker at the touch of sunshine than others. But the sun does not stop
shining because all do not come out at once. The crudest efforts of
little children must be received with kindness and encouragement. The
power of reproducing thought and language is very slowly acquired by
many children. They are timidly self-conscious, distrustful of their own
powers, and have not learned to throw themselves with confidence upon
the good-will of their teachers. It may take months with some children
to overcome these obstacles, and to bring them to a confident use of
their powers, but it is the highest delight of a teacher to reach this

Some children, on the other hand, are so talkative and impulsive that
they will monopolize the time of the class to no good purpose. Their
enthusiasm requires tempering and their soberer thought strengthening.

Another difficulty lies in the necessary effort to get correct English,
to gradually mould the language of children into correct forms. The
perverse habits of children, the influence of home and playground, the
inveterate preference for slang and crude, crass expressions, and their
sensitive pride against unusual refinements of speech, make the
cultivation of good English an uphill task. But roads must be laid out
through this wilderness of hills and valleys, stumps and brush. And
these roads must be gradually worked down into smooth highways of
travel. It is pioneer toil, requiring the steady use of axe and mattock
and spade.

There is no kind of school training where good English can be cultivated
to better advantage, where the power of correct, independent,
well-articulated speech can be so well strengthened as in oral story. It
is in the close contact of this work that the teacher is dealing
directly with the original stock of experiences, ideas, and words of
every child, and with these as instruments of acquisition, helping him
to get a spirited introduction to the world of ideas in books and

It is here that we can get a glimpse of that vast work which the
elementary schools of the country are doing in the way of Americanizing
the children of various nationalities and in giving them not only a
common language, but a common body of ideas rooted in the earliest
experiences of childhood and already laying hold of many of the richest
treasures of American history and of the world's literature.

9. As children advance from the first year into the second and third
years the character of the oral story-telling gradually changes.
Children should acquire more power of attention, greater command of
language and ability to grasp and hold at one telling a larger section
of a story. The stories themselves become more complex, the questions
and problems set by the teacher more difficult. The necessity for sharp,
logical outlines of leading topics increases as one advances in the
grades. Older children can be held more rigidly to common standards of
excellence in thought and language. In this, however, the teacher should
always remember that children differ greatly in their natural powers of
expression, and that a forcing process will not be so successful as a
stimulating and encouraging attitude in the teacher.

10. The good oral treatment of most stories leads the children to much
activity in material constructions. Where the minds of children are
brought to a healthy activity their bodies and physical energies are
pretty sure to be called into play to work out the suggested lines of
thought. "Robinson Crusoe" invariably leads the children to a multitude
of building and making enterprises, such as moulding vessels in clay,
constructing the barricade around his tent and cave, the making of
chairs and tables, etc.

We have already noticed the readiness of children to make blackboard or
other drawings of interesting objects in a story, or to cut them out
with scissors from paper. This effort to experience the realities of
life more directly by making objects of common utility and necessity is
a characteristic and powerful tendency of childhood. It is commonly seen
in children about the house, when, for example, they must have wagons,
wheelbarrows, tools, or a set of garden implements with which to imitate
the employments of their elders. Parkman and others often speak of the
constant practice of little Indian boys with bow and arrows.

Our purpose here is not to discuss this matter at length, but simply to
notice its prominent place in connection with the oral lesson in story.
The intense interest awakened in stories leads quickly to these efforts
at construction. What shall the teacher do with this powerful tendency
of children to carry over these ideas into the field of practical
constructive labor? To the thinker this tendency is perhaps the surest
proof of the value of the story. It does not stop with words nor ideas.
It pushes far into the region of voluntary, physical, and mental labor
and application of knowledge.

The teacher who will make good use of this enterprising constructive
desire of children must know definitely about tools, boards, shops,
various industries, and technical trades, the special materials,
inventions, and devices of artisans in the common occupations, such as
farming, gardening, blacksmithing, the carpenter shop, the baker, the
quarry, the brick kiln, etc.

It will not be strange if many teachers recoil, at first glance, from
this leap into industrial life. It suggests that the schoolhouse must
become a big machine shop, agricultural station, etc. The trouble is, of
course, that teachers do not feel themselves qualified in these things.
They know almost as little as the children about such matters, and have
much less inclination to know more.

But our modern education is taking a decided turn in this direction, and
with good reason. The close acquaintance of our teachers with the common
occupations of life, with their materials, tools, machines,
constructions, and skill would supply them with a rich collection of
practical, concrete, illustrative knowledge of the greatest use in
instructing children. It is impossible to mention anything which would
be of more service to them in the details of instruction. The advantages
to the children of such teaching, re-enforced by this concrete detail of
common life, are so numerous and important as to deserve a special
effort. The benefit to teachers would quickly more than recompense them
for the labor involved. By occasional visits of observation in shops,
fields, stores, and factories, by assisting children in their
constructive efforts, the teacher will acquire knowledge, strength, and
confidence for such work. The unfamiliarity of teachers with these
everyday industrial matters, and their feeling of helplessness as
regards things not in the usual routine of school, are the real
hindrances to be overcome.

There are other subjects in the school course, like home geography and
the early lessons in nature study, which deal more directly than stories
with these practical forms of industrial life and constructive
activity. They will also demand and cultivate an increasing knowledge of
this practical phase of life and education. The lessons in oral
story-telling stand thus closely linked with progressive experimental
knowledge in other studies.

A brief retrospect and summary of the requirements necessary as a basis
of good oral treatment of stories will impress us with the skill and
resourcefulness needed by the teacher.

1. First-hand experience with the realities of life.

2. Intimate knowledge and sympathy with child life.

3. The many-sided mastery of the story for teaching purposes.

4. Skill in the use of simple, apt, and forcible language.

5. Power of narrative and description, together with various forms of
graphic illustration, dramatic action, etc.

6. Clear and simple outline of leading topics.

7. Acquired power in the use of development methods, including question,
problem, discussion, aims, and the training of children to self-activity
and thoughtfulness.

8. The successful oral reproduction of stories by the children.

9. Tact in the handling of large classes, with children of differing
temperament and capacity, and the encouragement of timid children.

10. Changing character of oral work in advancing grades.

11. The need of insight and ability to supervise constructive

These things include a wide range of clear knowledge and confident skill
and resource. Teachers need first of all to cultivate resourcefulness in
the use of their own knowledge and experience, and to add to both of
these as rapidly as circumstances permit.

The mere reading of stories to children by the teacher, at odd times, on
Friday afternoons or on special occasions, is also of much value as a
means of interesting children in a wide range of good books. It is a
source of entertainment and culture, which, when judiciously and
skilfully employed, adds much to the educative power of the school.




Young children, as we all know, are delighted with stories, and in the
first grade they are still in this story-loving period. A good story is
the best medium through which to convey ideas and also to approach the
difficulties of learning to read. Such a story, Wilmann says, is a
pedagogical treasure. By many thinkers and primary teachers the fairy
stories have been adopted as best suited to the wants of the little folk
just emerging from the home. A series of fairy tales was selected by
Ziller, one of the leading Herbartians, as a centre for the school work
of the first year. These stories have long held a large place in the
home culture of children, especially of the more cultivated class. Now
it is claimed that what is good for the few whose parents may be
cultured and sympathetic, may be good enough for the children of the
common people and of the poor. Moreover, stories that have made the
fireside more joyous and blessed may perchance bring vivacity and
happiness into schoolrooms. The home and the school are coming closer
together. It is even said that well-trained, sympathetic primary
teachers may better tell and impress these stories than overworked
mothers and busy fathers. If these literary treasures are left for the
homes to discover and use, the majority of children will know little or
nothing of them. Many schools in this country have been using them in
the first grade in recent years with a pleasing effect.

But what virtue lies concealed in these fairy myths for the children of
our practical and sensible age? Why should we draw from fountains whose
sources are back in the prehistoric and even barbarous past? To many
people it appears as a curious anachronism to nourish little children in
the first decade of this new century upon food that was prepared in the
tents of wandering tribes in early European history. What are the merits
of these stories for children just entering upon scholastic pursuits?
They are known to be generally attractive to children of this age, but
many sober-minded people distrust them. Are they really meat and drink
for the little ones? And not only so, but the choicest meat and drink,
the best food upon which to nourish their unfolding minds?

Fairy tales are charged with misleading children by falsifying the truth
of things. And, indeed, they pay little heed to certain natural laws
that practical people of good sense always respect. A child, however, is
not so humdrum practical as these serious truth-lovers. A little girl
talks to her doll as if it had real ears. She and her little brother
make teacups and saucers out of acorns with no apparent compunctions of
conscience. They follow Cinderella to the ball in a pumpkin chariot,
transformed by magic wand, with even greater interest than we read of a
presidential ball. A child may turn the common laws of physical nature
inside out and not be a whit the worse for it. Its imagination can
people a pea-pod with little heroes aching for a chance in the big
world, or it can put tender personality into the trunk and branches of
the little pine tree in the forest. There are no space limits that a
child's fancy will not spring over in a twinkling. It can ride from star
to star on a broomstick, or glide over peaceful waters in a fairy boat
drawn by graceful swans. Without suggestion from mother or teacher,
children put life and personality into their playthings. Their
spontaneous delights are in this playful exercise of the fancy, in
masquerading under the guise of a soldier, bear, horse, or bird. The
fairy tale is the poetry of children's inner impulse and feeling; their
sparkling eyes and absorbed interest show how fitting is the contact
between these childlike creations of the poet and their own budding

In discussing the qualities requisite in a fairy story to make it a
pedagogical treasure, Wilmann says:[1] "When it is laid down as a first
and indispensable requirement that a story be genuinely childlike, the
demand sounds less rigorous than it really is. It is easier to feel
than to describe the qualities which lend to a story the true childlike
spirit. It is not simplicity alone. A simple story that can be
understood by a child is not on that account childlike. The simplicity
must be the ingenuousness of the child. Close to this lies the abyss of
silliness into which so many children's stories tumble. A simple story
may be manufactured, but the quality of true simplicity will not be
breathed into it unless one can draw from the deeper springs of poetic
invention. It is not enough that the externals of the story, such as
situation and action, have this character, but the sensibilities and
motives of the actors must be ingenuous and childlike; they should
reflect the child's own feeling, wish, and effort. But it is not
necessary on this account that the persons of the story be children.
Indeed the king, prince, and princess, if they only speak and act like
children, are much nearer the child's comprehension than any of the
children paraded in a manufactured story, designed for the 'industrious
youth.' For just as real poetry so the real child's story lies beyond
reality in the field of fancy. With all its plainness of thought and
action, the genuine child's story knows how to take hold of the child's
fancy and set its wings in motion. And what a meaning has fancy for the
soul of the child as compared with that of the adult. For us the
activity of fancy only sketches arabesques, as it were, around the
sharply defined pictures of reality. The child thinks and lives in such
arabesques, and it is only gradually that increasing experience writes
among these arabesques the firmer outlines of things. The child's
thoughts float about playfully and unsteadily, but the fairy tale is
even lighter winged than they. It overtakes these fleeting summer birds
and wafts them together without brushing the dust from their wings.

    [1] Wilmann, _Paedagogische Vorträge_.

"But fostering the activity of fancy in children is a means, not an end.
It is necessary to enter the field of fancy because the way to the
child's heart leads through the fancy. The effect upon the heart of the
child is the second mark and proof of the genuine child's story. We are
not advocates of the so-called moral stories which are so short-winded
as to stop frequently and rest upon some moral commonplace. Platitudes
and moral maxims are not designed to develop a moral taste in the minds
of young children, for they appeal to the understanding and will of the
pupil and presuppose what must be first built up and established. True
moral training is rather calculated to awaken in the child judgments of
right and wrong, of good and evil (on simple illustrative examples). Not
the impression left by a moralizing discourse is the germ of a love of
the good and right, but rather the child's judgment springing from its
own conviction. 'That was good.' 'What a mean thing!'

"Those narratives have a moral force which introduce persons and acts
that are simple and transparent enough to let the moral light shine
through, that possess sufficient life to lend warmth and vigor to moral
judgments. No attempt to cover up or pass over what is bad, nor to paint
it in extravagant colors. For the bad develops the judgment no less than
the good. It remains only to have a care that a child's interest
inclines toward the good, the just, and the right."

Wilmann summarizes the essentials of a good story, and then discusses
the fairy tales as follows:--

"There are then five requirements to be made of a real child's story:
Let it be truly childlike, that is, both simple and full of fancy; let
it form morals in the sense that it introduces persons and matters
which, while simple and lively, call out a moral judgment of approval or
disapproval; let it be instructive and lead to thoughtful discussions of
society and nature; let it be of permanent value, inviting perpetually
to a reperusal; let it be a connected whole, so as to work a deeper
influence and become the source of a many-sided interest.

"The child's story which, on the basis of the aforenamed principles, can
be made the starting-point for all others, is Grimm's fairy tale of folk
lore. We are now called upon to show that the folk-lore fairy tale
answers to the foregoing requirements, and in this we shall see many a
ray of light cast back upon these requirements themselves.

"Is the German fairy tale childlike? full of simplicity as well as of
fancy? A deeply poetic saying of Jacob Grimm may teach us the answer.
'There runs through these poetic fairy tales the same deep vein of
purity by reason of which children seem to us so wonderful and blessed.
They have, as it were, the same pale-blue, clear, and lustrous eyes
which can grow no more although the other members are still delicate and
weak and unserviceable to the uses of earth.' Klaiber quotes this
passage in his 'Das Märchen und die Kindliche Phantasie,' and says with
truth and beauty, 'Yes; when we look into the trusting eyes of a child,
in which none of the world's deceit is to be read as yet, when we see
how these eyes brighten and gleam at a beautiful fairy tale, as if they
were looking out into a great, wide, beautiful wonder-world, then we
feel something of the deep connection of the fairy story with the
childish soul.' We will bring forward one more passage from a little
treatise, showing depth and warmth of feeling, which stealthily takes
away from the doubters their scruples about the justification of the
fairy tale. 'It is strange how well the fairy tale and the child's soul
mutually understand each other. It is as if they had been together from
the very beginning and had grown up together. As a rule the child only
deals with that part of real life which concerns itself and children of
its age. Whatever lies beyond this is distant, strange, unintelligible.
Under the leading of the fairy tale, however, it permits itself to be
borne over hill and valley, over land and sea, through sun and moon and
stars, even to the end of the world, and everything is so near, so
familiar, so close to its reach, as if they had been everywhere before,
just as if obscure pictures within had all at once become wonderfully
distinct. And the fairies all, and the king's sons, and the other
distinguished personages, whom it learns to know through the fairy
tale,--they are as natural and intelligible as if the child had moved
its life long in the highest circles, and had had princes and princesses
for its daily playmates. In a word, the world of the fairy tale is the
child's world, for it is the world of fancy.'

"For this reason children live and move in fairyland, whether the
story be told by the mother or by the teacher in the primary school.
What attention as the story proceeds! What anxiousness when any
danger threatens the hero, be he king's son or a wheat-straw! What
grief, even to tears, when a wrong is practised upon some innocent
creature! And far from it that the joy in the fairy tale decrease
when it is told or discussed over again. Then comes the pleasure of
representation--bringing the story upon the stage. Though a child has
but to represent a flower in the meadow, the little face is transfigured
with the highest joy.

"But the childish joy of fairy tales passes away; not so the inner
experiences which it has brought with it. I am not affirming too much
when I say that he who, as a child, has never listened with joy to the
murmuring and rustling of the fresh fountain of fairyland, will have no
ear and no understanding for many a deep stream of German poetry. It is,
after all, the modest fountain of fairy song which, flowing and uniting
with the now noisy, now soft and gently flowing, current of folk song,
and with the deep and earnest stream of tradition, which has poured such
a refreshing current over German poetry, out of which our most excellent
Uhland has drawn so many a heart-strengthening draught.

"The spirit of the people finds expression in fairy tale as in tradition
and song, and if we were only working to lift and strengthen the
national impulse, a moral-educative instruction would have to turn again
and again to these creations of the people. What was asserted as a
general truth in regard to classical products, that they are a bond
between large and small, old and young, is true of national stories and
songs more than of anything else. They are at once a bond between the
different classes, a national treasure, which belongs alike to rich and
poor, high and low. The common school then has the least right of all to
put the fairy tale aside, now that few women versed in fairy lore, such
as those to whom Grimm listened, are left.

"But does the fairy tale come of noble blood? Does it possess what we
called in the case of classics an old title of nobility? If we keep to
this figure of speech, we shall find that the fairy tale is not only
noble, but a very royal child among stories. It has ruled from olden
times, far and wide, over many a land. Hundreds of years gone, Grimm's
fairy stories lived in the people's heart, and not in Germany alone. If
our little ones listen intently to Aschenputtel, French children
delighted in Cindrillon, the Italian in Cenerentola, the Polish in
Kopcinszic. The fact that mediæval story-books contain Grimm's tales is
not remarkable, when we reflect that traits and characteristics of the
fairy tale reach back beyond the Christian period; that Frau Holle is
Hulda, or Frigg, the heathen goddess; that 'Wishing-cap,' 'Little
Lame-leg,' and 'Table Cover Thyself,' etc., are made up out of the
attributes of German gods. Finally, such things as 'The Sleeping
Beauty,' which is the earth in winter sleep, that the prince of summer
wakes with kisses in springtime, point back to the period of primitive
Indo-German myth.

"But in addition to the requirement of classical nobility, has the fairy
story also the moral tone which we required of the genuine child's
story? Does the fairy story make for morals? To be sure it introduces to
an ideal realm of simple moral relations. The good and bad are sharply
separated. The wrong holds for a time its supremacy, but the final
victory is with the good. And with what vigor the judgment of good and
evil, of right and wrong, is produced. We meet touching pictures,
especially of good-will, of faithfulness, characteristic and full of
life. Think only of the typical interchange of words between Lenchen and
Fundevogel. Said Lenchen, 'Leave me not and I will never leave thee.'
Said Fundevogel, 'Now and nevermore.' We are reminded of the Bible words
of the faithful Ruth, 'Whither thou goest I will go; where thou lodgest
I will lodge; where thou diest I will die and there will I be buried.'

"Important for the life of children is the rigor with which the fairy
tale punishes disobedience and falsehood. Think of the suggestive
legendary story of the child which was visited again and again with
misfortune because of its obstinacy, till its final confession of guilt
brings full pardon. It is everywhere a Christian thread which runs
through so many fairy stories. It is love for the rejected, oppressed,
and abandoned. Whatever is loaded with burdens and troubles receives the
palm, and the first becomes the last.

"The fairy story fulfils the first three requirements for a true child's
story. It is childlike, of lasting value, and fosters moral ideas. As to
unity it will suffice for children of six years (for this is, in our
opinion, the age at which it exerts its moral force) that the stories be
told in the same spirit, although they do not form one connected
narrative. If a good selection of fairy tales according to their inner
connection is made, so that frequent references and connections can be
found, the requirement of unity will be satisfied.

"The fairy tale seems to satisfy least of all the demand that the true
child's story must be instructive, and serve as a starting-point for
interesting practical discussion. The fairy story seems too airy and
dreamy for this, and it might appear pedantry to load it with
instruction. But one will not be guilty of this mistake if one simply
follows up the ideas which the story suggests. When the story of a
chicken, a fox, or a swan is told it is fully in harmony with the
childish thought to inquire into the habits of these animals. When the
king is mentioned it is natural to say that we have a king, to ask where
he lives, etc. Just because the fairy tale sinks deep and holds a firm
and undivided attention, it is possible to direct the suggested thoughts
hither or thither without losing the pleasure they create. If one keeps
this aim in mind, instructive material is abundant. The fairy tale
introduces various employments and callings, from the king to the
farmer, tailor, and shoemaker. Many passages in life, such as betrothal,
marriage, and burial, are presented. Labors in the house, yard, and
field, and numerous animals, plants, and inanimate things are touched
upon. For the observation of animals and for the relation between them
and children, it is fortunate that the fairy tale presents them as
talking and feeling. Thereby the interest in real animals is increased
and heartlessness banished. How could a child put to the torture an
animal which is an old friend in fairy story?

"I need only suggest in this place how the fairy story furnishes
material for exercises in oral language, for the division of words into
syllables and letters, and how the beginnings of writing, drawing,
number, and manual exercises may be drawn from the same source.

"From the suggestions just made the following conclusions at least may
be reasonably drawn. A sufficient counterpoise to the fantastical nature
of the fairy tale can be given in a manner simple and childlike, if the
objects and relations involved in the narratives are brought clearly
before the senses and discussed so that instruction about common objects
and home surroundings is begun."

In speaking of Shakespeare's early training in literature, Charles
Kingsley says:--

"I said there was a literary art before Shakespeare--an art more simple,
more childlike, more girlish, as it were, and therefore all the more
adapted for young minds, but also an art most vigorous and pure in point
of style: thoroughly fitted to give its readers the first elements of
taste, which must lie at the root of even the most complex æsthetics.

"The old fairy superstition, the old legends and ballads, the old
chronicles of feudal war and chivalry, the earlier moralities and
mysteries and tragicomic attempts--these were the roots of his poetic
tree--they must be the roots of any literary education which can teach
us to appreciate him. These fed Shakespeare's youth; why should they not
feed our children's? Why indeed? That inborn delight of the young in all
that is marvellous and fantastic--has that a merely evil root? No
surely! It is a most pure part of their spiritual nature; a part of 'the
heaven which lies about us in our infancy'; angel-wings with which the
free child leaps the prison-walls of sense and custom, and the drudgery
of earthly life."

Felix Adler says:[2] "But how shall we handle these _Märchen_ and what
method shall we employ in putting them to account for our special
purpose? I have a few thoughts on this subject, which I shall venture to
submit in the form of counsels.

    [2] _Moral Instruction of Children._ D. Appleton & Co.

"My _first counsel_ is: Tell the story; do not give it to the child to
read. There is an obvious practical reason for this. Children are able
to benefit by hearing fairy tales before they can read. But that is not
the only reason. It is the childhood of the race, as we have seen, that
speaks in the fairy story of the child of to-day. It is the voice of an
ancient far-off past that echoes from the lips of the storyteller. The
words 'once upon a time' open up a vague retrospect into the past, and
the child gets its first indistinct notions of history in this way. The
stories embody the tradition of the childhood of mankind. They have on
this account an authority all their own, not, indeed, that of literal
truth, but one derived from their being types of certain feelings and
longings which belong to childhood as such. The child, as it listens to
the _Märchen_, looks up with wide-opened eyes to the face of the person
who tells the story, and thrills responsive as the touch of the earlier
life of the race thus falls upon its own. Such an effect, of course,
cannot be produced by cold type. Tradition is a living thing and should
use the living voice for its vehicle.

"My _second counsel_ is also of a practical nature, and I make bold to
say quite essential to the successful use of the stories. Do not take
the moral plum out of the fairy-tale pudding, but let the child enjoy it
as a whole. Do not make the story taper toward a single point, the moral
point. You will squeeze all the juice out of it if you try. Do not
subordinate the purely fanciful and naturalistic elements of the story,
such as the love of mystery, the passion for roving, the sense of
fellowship with the animal world, in order to fix attention solely on
the moral element. On the contrary, you will gain the best moral effect
by proceeding in exactly the opposite way. Treat the moral element as an
incident, emphasize it indeed, but incidentally. Pluck it as a wayside
flower. How often does it happen that, having set out on a journey with
a distinct object in mind, something occurs on the way which we had not
foreseen, but which in the end leaves the deepest impression on the

"The value of the fairy tales is that they stimulate the imagination;
that they reflect the unbroken communion of human life with the life
universal, as in beasts, fishes, trees, flowers, and stars; and that
incidentally, but all the more powerfully on that account, they quicken
the moral sentiments.

"Let us avail ourselves freely of the treasures which are thus placed at
our disposal. Let us welcome _das Märchen_ into our primary course of
moral training, that with its gentle bands, woven of 'morning mist and
morning glory,' it may help to lead our children into bright realms of
the ideal."

A selection of fairy stories suited to our first grade will differ from
a similar selection for foreign schools. There has been a disposition
among American teachers for several years to appropriate the best of
these stories for use in the primary schools. In different parts of the
country skilful primary teachers have been experimenting successfully
with these materials. There are many schools in which both teachers and
pupils have taken great delight in them. The effort has been made more
particularly with first grade children, the aim of teachers being to
lead captive the spontaneous interest of children from their first
entrance upon school tasks. Some of the stories used at the first may
seem light and farcical, but experiments with children are a better
test than the preconceived notions of adults who may have forgotten
their early childhood. The story of the "Four Musicians," for example,
is a favorite with the children.

At the risk of repetition, and to emphasize some points of special
importance, we will review briefly the method of oral treatment and the
use of the stories in early primary reading.

The children have no knowledge of reading or perhaps of letters. The
story is told with spirit by the teacher, no book being used in the
class. Question and interchange of thought between pupil and teacher
will become more frequent and suggestive as the teacher becomes more
skilled and sympathetic in her treatment of the story. In the early
months of school life the aim is to gain the attention and coöperation
of children by furnishing abundant food for thought. Children are
required or at least encouraged to narrate the story or a part of it in
the class. They tell it at school and probably at home, till they become
more and more absorbed in it. Even the backward or timid child gradually
acquires courage and enjoys narrating the adventures of the peas in the
pod or those of the animals in the "Four Musicians."

The teacher should acquire a vivid and picturesque style of narrating,
persistently weaving into the story, by query and suggestion, the
previous home experiences of the children. They are only too ready to
bring out these treasures at the call of the teacher. Often it is
necessary to check their enthusiasm. There is a need not simply for
narrative power, but for quick insight and judgment, so as to bring
their thoughts into close relation to the incidents. Nowhere in all the
schools is there such a call for close and motherly sympathy. The gentle
compulsion of kindness is required to inspire the timid ones with
confidence. For some of them are slow to open their delicate thought and
sensibility, even to the sunny atmosphere of a pleasant school.

A certain amount of drill in reproduction is necessary, but fortunately
the stories have something that bears repetition with a growing
interest. Added to this is the desire for perfect mastery, and thus the
stories become more dear with familiarity.

Incidentally, there should be emphasis of the instructive information
gathered concerning animals and plants that are actors in the scenes.
The commonest things of the house, field, and garden acquire a new and
lasting interest. Sometimes the teacher makes provision in advance of
the story for a deeper interest in the plants and animals that are to
appear. In natural science lessons she may take occasion to examine the
pea blossom, or the animals of the barnyard, or the squirrel or birds in
their cages. When, a few days later, the story touches one of these
animals, there is a quick response from the children. This relation
between history and natural science strengthens both.

Many an opportunity should be given for the pupils to express a warm
sympathy for gentle acts of kindness or unselfishness. The happiness
that even a simple flower may bring to a home is a contagious example.
Kindly treatment of the old and feeble, and sympathy for the innocent
and helpless, spring into the child's own thought. The fancy, sympathy,
and interest awakened by a good fairy tale make it a vehicle by which,
consciously and unconsciously, many advantages are borne home to pupils.

Among other things, it opens the door to the reading lesson; that is, to
the beginning efforts in mastering and using the symbols of written
language. The same story which all have learned to tell, they are now
about to learn to read from the board. One or two sentences are taken
directly from the lips of the pupils as they recall the story, and the
work of mastering symbols is begun at once with zest. First is the clear
statement of some vivid thought by a child, then a quick association of
this thought with its written symbols on the board. There is no readier
way of bringing thought and form into firm connection, that is, of
learning to read. Keep the child's fresh mental judgment and the written
form clearly before his mind till the two are wedded. Let the thought
run back and forth between them till they are one.

After fixing two or three sentences on the board, attention is directed
more closely to the single words, and a rapid drill upon those in the
sentence is followed by a discovery and naming of them in miscellaneous
order. Afterward new sentences are formed by the teacher out of the same
words, written on the board, and read by the children. They express
different, and perhaps opposite forms of thought, and should exercise
the child's sense and judgment as well as his memory of words. An
energetic, lively, and successful drill of this kind upon sentences
drawn from stories has been so often witnessed, that its excellence is
no longer a matter of question. These exercises are a form of mental
activity in which children delight if the teacher's manner is vigorous
and pleasant.

When the mastery of new word-forms as wholes is fairly complete, the
analysis may go a step farther. Some new word in the lesson may be taken
and separated into its phonic elements, as the word _hill_, and new
words formed by dropping a letter and prefixing letters or syllables, as
_ill_, _till_, _until_, _mill_, _rill_, etc. The power to construct new
words out of old materials should be cultivated all along the process of
learning to read.

Still other school activities of children stand in close relation to the
fairy tales. They are encouraged to draw the objects and incidents in
which the story abounds. Though rude and uncouth, the drawings still
often surprise us with their truth and suggestiveness. The sketches
reveal the content of a child's mind as almost nothing else--his
misconceptions, his vague or clearly defined notions. They also furnish
his mental and physical activities an employment exactly suited to his
needs and wishes.

The power to use good English and to express himself clearly and
fittingly is cultivated from the very first. While this merit is purely
incidental, it is none the less valuable. The persistence with which bad
and uncouth words and phrases are employed by children in our common
school, both in oral work and in composition, admonishes us to begin
early to eradicate these faults. It seems often as if intermediate and
grammar grades were more faulty and wretched in their use of English
than primary grades. But there can be no doubt that early and persistent
practice in the best forms of expression, especially in connection with
interesting and appropriate thought matter, will greatly aid
correctness, fluency, and confidence in speech. There is also a
convincing pedagogical reason why children in the first primary should
be held to the best models of spoken language. They enter the school
better furnished with oral speech than with a knowledge of any school
study. Their home experiences have wrought into close association and
unity, word and thing. So intimate and living is the relation between
word and thought or object, that a child really does not distinguish
between them. This is the treasure with which he enters school, and it
should not be wrapped up in a napkin. It should be unrolled at once and
put to service. Oral speech is the capital with which a child enters the
business of education; let him employ it.

A retrospect upon the various forms of school activity which spring, in
practical work, from the use of a good fairy story, reveals how
many-sided and inspiriting are its influences. Starting out with a rich
content of thought peculiarly germane to childish interests, it calls
for a full employment of the language resources already possessed by the
children. In the effort to picture out, with pencil or chalk, his
conceptions of the story, a child exercises his fanciful and creative
wit, as well as the muscles of arms and eyes. A good story always finds
its setting in the midst of nature or society, and touches up with a
simple, homely, but poetic charm the commonest verities of human
experience. The appeal to the sensibility and moral judgment of pupils
is direct and spontaneous, because of the interests and sympathies that
are inherent in persons, and touch directly the childish fancy. And,
lastly, the irrepressible traditional demand that children shall learn
to read, is fairly and honestly met and satisfied.

It is not claimed that fairy tales involve the sum total of primary
instruction, but they are an illustration of how rich will be the
fruitage of our educational effort if we consider first the highest
needs and interests of children, and allow the formal arts to drop into
their proper subordination. "The best is good enough for children," and
when we select the best, the wide-reaching connections which are
established between studies carry us a long step toward the now
much-bruited correlation and concentration of studies.


  Classic Stories for the Little Ones. Public School Publishing Co.,
          Bloomington, Ill.
  Grimm's Fairy Tales (Wiltse). Ginn & Co.
  German Fairy Tales (Grimm). Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Grimm's German Household Tales. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Stories from Hans Andersen. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Andersen's Fairy Tales, two volumes. Part I and Part II. Ginn & Co.
  Fairy Stories and Fables. American Book Co.
  Fables and Folk Stories (Scudder). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Rhymes and Jingles (Dodge). Scribner's Sons.
  Fairy Stories for Children (Baldwin). American Book Co.
  Songs and Stories. University Publishing Co.
  Fairy Life. University Publishing Co.
  Six Nursery Classics (O'Shea). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Grimm's Fairy Tales. Educational Publishing Co.
  A Book of Nursery Rhymes (Welch). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Verse and Prose for Beginners in Reading. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
          Heart of Oak, No. I. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Heart of Oak, No. II. D. C. Heath & Co.
  The Eugene Field Book. Scribner's Sons.
  Moral Education of Children (Adler). D. Appleton & Co. Chapter VI.
          on Fairy Tales.
  Literature in Schools (Scudder). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. Chapter
          on Nursery Classics.


No group of stories has a more assured place in the literature for
children than the Æsop's "Fables." Some of the commonest have been
expanded into little stories which are presented orally to children in
the first school year, as "The Lion and the Mouse," "The Ants and the
Grasshoppers," "The Dog and his Shadow," and others. They are so simple
and direct that they are used alongside the fairy tales for the earliest
instruction of children.

As soon as children have acquired the rudiments of reading the Æsop's
"Fables" are commonly used in the second and third school year as a
reading book, and all the early reading books are partly made up from
this material.

If we inquire into the qualities of these stories which have given them
such a universal acceptance, we shall find that they contain in a
simple, transparent form a good share of the world's wisdom. More recent
researches indicate that they originated in India, and reached Europe
through Persia and Arabia, being ascribed to Æsop. This indicates that
like most early literature of lasting worth, they are products of the
folk-mind rather than of a single writer, and it is the opinion of Adler
that they express the ripened wisdom of the people under the forms of
Oriental despotism. The sad and hopeless submission to a stronger power
expressed by some of the fables, it is claimed, unfits them for use in
our freer life to-day.

There are certain points in which their attractiveness to children is
clearly manifest. The actors in the stories are usually animals, and the
ready interest and sympathy of children for talking animals are at once
appealed to. In all the early myths and fairy tales, human life seems to
merge into that of the animals, as in "Hiawatha," and the fables
likewise are a marked expression of this childlike tendency.

Adler says: "The question may be asked why fables are so popular with
boys. I should say because schoolboy society reproduces in miniature, to
a certain extent, the social conditions which are reflected in the
fables. Among unregenerate schoolboys there often exists a kind of
despotism, not the less degrading because petty. The strong are pitted
against the weak--witness the fagging system in English schools--and
their mutual antagonism produces in both the characteristic vices which
we have noted above." A literature which clearly pictures these
relations so that they can be seen objectively by the children may be of
the greatest social service in education.

Adler says further: "The psychological study of schoolboy society has
been only begun, but even what lies on the surface will, I think, bear
out this remark. Now it has become one of the commonplaces of
educational literature that the individual of to-day must pass through
the same stages of evolution as the human race as a whole. But it should
not be forgotten that the advance of civilization depends on two
conditions: first, that the course of evolution be accelerated, that the
time allowed to the successive stages be shortened; and, secondly, that
the unworthy and degrading elements which entered into the process of
evolution in the past, and at the time were inseparable from it, be now
eliminated. Thus the fairy tales which correspond to the myth-making
epoch in human history must be purged of the dross of superstition which
still adheres to them, and the fables which correspond to the age of
primitive despotisms must be cleansed of the immoral elements they still

    [3] Adler, _Moral Instruction of Children_, pp. 88-89.

The peculiar form of moral teaching in the "Fables" suits them
especially to children. A single trait of conduct, like greediness or
selfishness, is sharply outlined in the story and its results made
plain. "We have seen nothing finer in teaching than the building up of
these little stories in conversational lessons--first to illustrate some
mental or moral trait; then to detach the idea from its story picture,
and find illustrations for it in some other act or incident. And nothing
can be more gratifying as a result, than, through the transparency of
childish hearts, to watch the growth of right conduct from the impulses
derived from the teaching; and so laying the foundations of future
rightness of character."[4]

    [4] Introduction to Stickney's _Æsop's Fables_. Ginn & Co.

The moral ideas inculcated by the fables are usually of a practical,
worldly-wisdom sort, not high ideals of moral quality, not virtue for
its own sake, but varied examples of the results of rashness and folly.
This is, perhaps, one reason why they are so well suited to the immature
moral judgments of children.

Adler says: "Often when a child has committed some fault, it is useful
to refer by name to the fable that fits it. As, when a boy has made room
in his seat for another, and the other crowds him out, the mere mention
of the fable of the porcupine is a telling rebuke; or the fable of the
hawk and the pigeons may be called to mind when a boy has been guilty of
mean excuses. On the same principle that angry children are sometimes
taken before a mirror to show them how ugly they look, the fable is a
kind of mirror for the vices of the young." Again: "The peculiar value
of the fables is that they are instantaneous photographs which
reproduce, as it were, in a single flash of light, some one aspect of
human nature, and which, excluding everything else, permit the attention
to be entirely fixed on that one."

But the value of the fable reaches far beyond childhood. The frequency
with which it is cited in nearly all the forms of literature, and its
aptness to express the real meaning of many episodes in real life, in
politics and social events, in peace and war, show the universality of
the truth it embodies. A story which engraves a truth, as it were with a
diamond point, upon a child's mind, a truth which will swiftly interpret
many events in his later life, deserves to take a high place among
educative influences.


  Scudder's Fables and Folk Stories. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Æsop's Fables (Stickney). Ginn & Co.
  Book of Legends (Scudder). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Stories for Children (Lane). The American Book Co.
  A Child's Garden of Verses (Stevenson). Scribner's Sons.
  Æsop's Fables. Educational Publishing Co.
  The Book of Nature Myths (Holbrook). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  The Moral Instruction of Children (Adler), Chapters VII and VIII.
        D. Appleton & Co.




In selecting suitable literature for children of the second grade, we
follow in the steps of a number of distinguished writers and teachers
and choose an English classic--"Robinson Crusoe." Rousseau gave this
book his unqualified approval, and said that it would be the first, and,
for a time, the only book that Émile should read. The Herbartians have
been using it a number of years, while many American teachers have
employed it for oral work in second grade, in a short school edition. In
one sense, the book needs no introduction, as it has found its way into
every nook and corner of the world. Originally a story for adults, it
has reached all, and illustrated Christmas editions, designed even for
children from three years and upward, are abundant. To the youth of all
lands, it has been, to say the least, a source of delight, but it has
been regarded as a book for the family and home. What would happen
should the schoolmaster lay his hand on this treasure and desecrate it
to school purposes! We desire to test this classic work on the side of
its pedagogical value and its adaptation to the uses of regular
instruction. If it is really unrivalled as a piece of children's
literature, perhaps it has also no equal for school purposes.

In making the transition from the fairy tale to "Robinson Crusoe," an
interesting difference or contrast may be noticed. Wilmann says:[5]
"'Crusoe' is at once simple, and plain, and fanciful; to be sure, in the
latter case, entirely different from the fairy tale. In the fairy story
the fancy seldom pushes rudely against the boundaries of the real world.
But otherwise in 'Crusoe.' Here it is the practical fancy that is
aroused, if this expression appear not contradictory. What is Crusoe to
do now? How can he help himself? What means can he invent? Many of the
proposals of the children will have to be rejected. The inexorable 'not
possible' shoves a bolt before the door. The imagination is compelled to
limit itself to the task of combining and adjusting real things. The
compulsion of things conditions the progress of the story. 'Thoughts
dwell together easily, but things jostle each other roughly in space.'"

    [5] Wilmann, _Paedagogische Vorträge_.

There are other striking differences between "Crusoe" and the folk-lore
stories, but in this contrast we are now chiefly concerned. After
reaching the island, he is checked and limited at every step by the
physical laws imposed by nature. Struggle and fret as he may against
these limits, he becomes at last a philosopher, and quietly takes up the
struggle for existence under those inexorable conditions. The child of
seven or eight is vaguely acquainted with many of the simple employments
of the household and of the neighborhood. Crusoe also had a vague memory
of how people in society in different trades and occupations supply the
necessaries and comforts of life. Even the fairy stories give many hints
of this kind of knowledge, but Robinson Crusoe is face to face with the
sour facts. He is cut off from help and left to his own resources. The
interest in the story is in seeing how he will shift for himself and
exercise his wits to insure plenty and comfort. With few tools and on a
barbarous coast, he undertakes what men in society, by mutual exchange
and by division of labor, have much difficulty in performing. Crusoe
becomes a carpenter, a baker and cook, a hunter, a potter, a fisher, a
farmer, a tailor, a boatman, a stock-raiser, a basket-maker, a
shoemaker, a tanner, a fruit-grower, a mason, a physician. And not only
so, but he grapples with the difficulties of each trade or occupation in
a bungling manner because of inexperience and lack of skill and exact
knowledge. He is an experimenter and tester along many lines. The entire
absence of helpers centres the whole interest of this varied struggle in
one person. It is to be remembered that Crusoe is no genius, but the
ordinary boy or man. He has abundant variety of needs such as a child
reared under civilized conditions has learned to feel. The whole range
of activities, usually distributed to various classes and persons in
society, rests now upon his single shoulders. If he were an expert in
all directions, the task would be easier, but he has only vague
knowledge and scarcely any skill. The child, therefore, who reads this
story, by reason of the slow, toilsome, and bungling processes of Crusoe
in meeting his needs, becomes aware how difficult and laborious are the
efforts by which the simple, common needs of all children are supplied.

A reference to the different trades and callings that Crusoe assumes
will show us that he is not dealing with rare and unusual events, but
with the common, simple employments that lie at the basis of society in
all parts of the world. The carpenter, the baker, the farmer, the
shoemaker, etc., are at work in every village in every land. Doubtless
this is one reason why the story acquires such a hold in the most
diverse countries. The Arab or the Chinese boy, the German or American
child, finds the story touching the ordinary facts of his own
surroundings. Though the story finds its setting in a far-away, lonely
island in tropical seas, Crusoe is daily trying to create the objects
and conditions of his old home in England. But these are the same
objects that surround every child; and therefore, in reading "Robinson
Crusoe," the pupil is making an exhaustive and interesting study of his
own home. The presence of a tropical vegetation and of a strange climate
does not seriously impair this fact. The skill of a great literary
artist appears in his power to create a situation almost devoid of
common comforts and blessings and then in setting his hero to work to
create them by single-handed effort.

It will hardly be questioned that the study of the home and home
neighborhood by children is one of the large and prominent problems in
education. Out of their social, economic, and physical environment
children get the most important lessons of life. Not only does the home
furnish a varied fund of information that enables them to interpret
books, and people, and institutions, as they sooner or later go out into
the world, but all the facts gathered by experience and reading in
distant fields must flow back again to give deeper meaning to the labors
and duties which surround each citizen in his own home. But society with
its commerce, education, and industries, is an exceedingly complex
affair. The child knows not where to begin to unravel this endless
machinery of forms and institutions. In a sense he must get away from or
disentangle himself from his surroundings in order to understand them.
There are no complex conditions surrounding Crusoe, and he takes up the
labors of the common trades in a simple and primitive manner. Physical
and mental effort are demanded at every step, from Crusoe and from the
children. Many of his efforts involve repeated failure, as in making
pottery, in building a boat, while some things that he undertakes with
painful toil never attain success. The lesson of toil and hardship
connected with the simple industries is one of great moment to children.
Our whole social fabric is based on these toils, and it is one of the
best results of a sound education to realize the place and importance of
hard work.

It scarcely needs to be pointed out that Crusoe typifies a long period
of man's early history, the age when men were learning the rudiments of
civilization by taking up the toils of the blacksmith, the
agriculturist, the builder, the domesticator of animals and plants. Men
emerged from barbarism as they slowly and painfully gained the mastery
over the resources of nature. Crusoe is a sort of universal man,
embodying in his single effort that upward movement of men which has
steadily carried them to the higher levels of progress. It has been said
with some truth that Robinson Crusoe is a philosophy of history. But we
scarcely need such a high-sounding name. To the child he is a very
concrete, individual man, with very simple and interesting duties.

In a second point the author of "Robinson Crusoe" shows himself a
literary master. There is an intense and naive realism in his story.
Even if one were so disposed, it would require a strong effort to break
loose from the feeling that we are in the presence of real experiences.
There is a quiet but irresistible assumption of unvarnished and even
disagreeable fact in the narrative. But it is useless to describe the
style of a book so familiar. Its power over youthful fancy and feeling
has been too often experienced to be doubted. The vivid interest which
the book awakens is certain to carry home whatever lessons it may teach
with added force. So great is this influence that boys sometimes imitate
the efforts of Crusoe by making caves, building ovens, and assuming a
style of dress and living that approximates Crusoe's state. This
supplies to teachers a hint of some value. The story of Crusoe should
lead to excursions into the home neighborhood for the purpose of a
closer examination of the trades and occupations there represented. An
imitation of his labors may also be encouraged. The effort to mould and
bake vessels from potter's clay, the platting of baskets from willow
withes, the use of tools in making boxes or tables may be attempted far
enough to discover how lacking in practical ability the children are.
This will certainly teach them greater respect for manual skill.

From the previous discussion it might appear that we regard the story of
Crusoe as technological and industrial rather than moral. But it would
be a mistake to suppose that a book is not moral because it is not
perpetually dispensing moral platitudes. Most men's lives are mainly
industrial. The display of moral qualities is only occasional and
incidental. The development of moral character is coincident with the
labors and experiences of life and springs out of them, being manifested
by the spirit with which one acts toward his fellow-men. But Crusoe was
alone on his island, and there might seem to be no opportunity to be
moral in relation to others. Society, to be sure, was conspicuous by its
absence. But the intense longing with which he thought of the home and
companionships lost is perhaps the strongest sentiment in the book. His
loneliness brings out most vividly his true relation to home and

His early life, till the shipwreck, was that of a wayward and reckless
youth, disobedient to parents and seemingly without moral scruples. Even
during the first months upon the island there appears little moral
change or betterment. But slowly the bitter experiences of his lonely
life sober him. He finds a Bible, and a fit of sickness reveals the
distresses that may lie before him. When once the change has set in, it
is rapid and thorough. He becomes devout, he longs to return to his
parents and atone for his faults. A complete reformation of his moral
disposition is effected. If one will take the pains to read the original
"Robinson Crusoe" he will find it surprisingly serious and moral in its
tone. He devotes much time to soliloquizing on the distresses of his
condition and upon the causes which have brought him to misery. He
diagnoses his case with an amount of detail that must be tedious to
children. The fact that these parts of the book often leave little
direct impression upon children is proof that they are chiefly engaged
with the adventure and physical embarrassments of Crusoe. For the
present it is sufficient to observe that the story is deeply and
intensely moral both in its spirit and in the changes described in

We are next led to inquire whether the industrial and moral lessons
contained in this story are likely to be extracted from it by a boy or
girl who reads it alone, without the aid of a teacher. Most young
readers of "Crusoe" are carried along by the interesting adventure. It
is a very surprising and entertaining story. But children even less than
adults are inclined to go deeper than the surface and draw up hidden
treasures. De Foe's work is a piece of classic literature. But few
people are inclined to get at the deeper meaning and spirit of a
classical masterpiece unless they go through it in companionship with a
teacher who is gifted to disclose its better meaning. This is true of
any classical product we might mention. It should be the peculiar
function of the school to cultivate a taste, and an appreciative taste,
for the best literature; not by leaving it to the haphazard home reading
of pupils, but by selecting the best things adapted to the minds of
children and then employing true teaching skill to bring these
treasures close to the hearts and sympathies of children. Many young
people do not read "Robinson Crusoe" at all; many others do not
appreciate its better phases. The school will much improve its work by
taking for its own this best of children's stories, and by extending and
deepening the children's appreciation of a classic.

The story of Robinson Crusoe is made by the Herbartians the nucleus for
the concentration of studies in the second year. This importance is
given to it on account of its strong moral tone and because of its
universal typical character in man's development. Without attempting a
solution of the problem of concentration at this juncture, we should at
least observe the relations of this story to the other studies. Wilmann
says: "The everywhere and nowhere of the fairy tale gives place to the
first geographical limitations. The continents, the chief countries of
Europe, come up, besides a series of geographical concepts such as
island, coast, bay, river, hill, mountain, sea, etc. The difference in
climate is surprising. Crusoe fears the winter and prepares for it, but
his fear is needless, for no winter reaches his island." We have already
observed its instructive treatment of the common occupations which
prepare for later geographical study, as well as for natural science.

Many plants and animals are brought to notice which would furnish a good
beginning for natural science lessons. It is advisable, however, to
study rather those home animals and plants which correspond best to the
tropical products or animals in the lessons. Tropical fruits, the
parrot, and the goat we often meet at home, but in addition, the sheep,
the ox, the mocking-bird, the woodpecker, our native fruits and grains,
and the fish, turtles, and minerals of the home, may well be suggested
and studied in science lessons parallel with the life of Crusoe.

Following upon the oral treatment and discussion of "Robinson Crusoe"
the children are easily led to like efforts at construction, as, for
instance, the making of a raft, the building of the cave and stockade,
the making of chairs and tables, the moulding of jars and kettles out of
clay, the weaving of baskets, the preparation and cooking of foods, the
planting of grains, the construction of an oven or house, boat building,
and other labors of Crusoe in providing for his wants.

It is quite customary now in second grade to set the children to work in
these efforts to solve Crusoe's problems, so that they, by working with
actual materials, may realize more fully the difficulties and trials to
which he was subjected. In close connection with these constructive
efforts are the drawings of the scenes of the story, such as the
shipwreck, the stockade, the boat, the map of the island, and some of
the later events of the story. A still further means of giving reality
to the events is to dramatize some of the scenes between Friday and
Crusoe, and to dress and equip these and other persons in the story in
fitting manner. The children gladly enter into such dramatic action.
These various forms of drawing, action, and constructive work are in
close connection with the home studies of industries and
occupations,--farming, gardening, carpenter and blacksmith shops,
weaving, cooking, bakeries, and excursions to shops--which follow the
Crusoe story in the study of home geography in the third grade.

Although the story should be given and discussed orally, the children
should also read it later as a part of the regular reading exercise of
the course. Instead of suffering from this repetition, their interest
will only be increased. Classical products usually gain by repetition.
The facts are brought out more clearly and the deeper meaning is
perceived. To have the oral treatment of a story precede its reading by
some weeks or months produces an excellent effect upon the style of the
reading. The thought being familiar, and the interest strong, the
expression will be vigorous and natural. Children take a pride in
reading a story which they at first must receive orally for lack of
reading power.

The same advantageous drill in the use of good English accrues to the
Crusoe story that was observed in the fairy tales. There is abundant
opportunity for oral narrative and description.

The use of the pencil and chalk in graphic representation should be
encouraged both in teacher and in pupils. Thus the eye becomes more
accurate in observation and the hand more free and facile in tracing the
outlines of the interesting forms studied. The use of tools and
materials in construction gives ideas an anchorage, not only in the
brain, but even in the nerves and muscles.

In thus glancing over the field we discover the same many-sided and
intimate relation with other school studies, as in the previous grade.
In fact, "Crusoe" is the first extended classical masterpiece which is
presented to the children as a whole. Such parts of the story as are of
most pedagogical value should be simplified and woven together into a
continuous narrative. That part of the story which precedes the
shipwreck may be reduced to a few paragraphs which bring out clearly his
early home surroundings, his disobedience and the desertion of his
parents, and the voyage which led to his lonely life upon the island.
The period embraced in his companionless labors and experiences
constitutes the important part for school uses. A few of the more
important episodes following the capture of Friday and his return home
may be briefly told. We deem it a long step forward to get some of our
great classical masterpieces firmly embedded in the early years of our
school course. It will contribute almost as much to the culture and
stimulation of teachers as of pupils.

The method of handling this narrative before the class will be similar
to that of the fairy tales. A simple and vivid recital of the facts,
with frequent questions and discussions, so as to draw the story closer
to the child's own thought and experience, should be made by the
teacher. Much skill in illustrative device, in graphic description, in
diagram or drawing, in the appeal to the sense experiences of the
pupils, is in demand. The excursion to places of interest in the
neighborhood suggested by the story begins to be an important factor of
the school exercises. As children grow older they acquire skill and
confidence in oral narrative, and should be held to greater independence
in oral reproductions.

One of the best school editions of "Robinson Crusoe" is published by
Ginn & Co.

A simple edition for second grade is published by the Public School
Publishing Co.

The teacher should be supplied with one of the larger, fuller editions
of "Robinson Crusoe," like that of Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., in the
Riverside Literature Series. It furnishes a much fuller detail of
knowledge for the teacher's use. It will also be of great advantage for
classroom use to possess an illustrated edition like that of George
Routledge & Sons.

The full treatment of this story, first in simple, oral narrative, later
by its use as a reading book, and later still by the child reading the
complete edition for himself in private, illustrates the intensive
concentration of thought and constructive activity upon a great piece
of literature as opposed to a loose and superficial treatment. Such a
piece of work should remain for life a source of deeper thought,
feeling, and experience.


  Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. American Book Co.
  Robinson Crusoe. Lee and Shepard.
  Robinson Crusoe for Youngest Readers. Educational Pub. Co.
  Robinson Crusoe. University Publishing Co.
  De Foe's Robinson Crusoe (Hale). Ginn & Co.
  De Foe's Robinson Crusoe. Maynard, Merrill, & Co.


The story of Hiawatha has been much used for oral treatment in primary
grades, and as a basis for exercises in learning to read. Later the
complete poem has been much read in third, fourth, or fifth grade as a
piece of choice literature.

A story which is growing so rapidly in favor with primary teachers may
explain our effort to determine its educational value.

That the story begins with the early childhood of Hiawatha and describes
his home and early training at the feet of Nokomis, is at least one
point in its favor.

    By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
  By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
  Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
  Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
  Dark behind it rose the forest,
  Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
  Rose the firs with cones upon them;
  Bright before it beat the water,
  Beat the clear and sunny water,
  Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
  There the wrinkled, old Nokomis
  Nursed the little Hiawatha,
  Rocked him in his linden cradle,
  Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
  Safely bound with reindeer sinews.

The traditions and stories he learned from the lips of Nokomis will
remind children of their own home life, while his companionship with
birds and animals will touch them in a sympathetic place.

    Then the little Hiawatha
  Learned of every bird its language,
  Learned their names and all their secrets,
  How they built their nests in Summer,
  Where they hid themselves in Winter,
  Talked with them whene'er he met them,
  Called them "Hiawatha's Chickens."

The games and exercises of his youth will remind them of their own
sports and introduce them to Indian life. This home of Hiawatha, and the
description of his childhood, are a happy introduction to the simple
surroundings of Indian life on the shores of the northern sea.

Primitive Indian modes of life, traditions and myths, appeal naturally
to children, and the whole story has this setting of early simplicity
which adapts it in many ways to child study. The Indian nature myths,
which in themselves are attractive, are here woven into a connected
series by their relation to Hiawatha in the training of his childhood
and in the exploits of his manhood.

The number of pure fairy tales scattered through the story adapts it
especially for young children, while the descriptions of home customs,
feasts, weddings, merrymaking, and games, show the happier side of their

    Ye who love a nation's legends,
  Love the ballads of a people,
  That like voices from afar off
  Call to us to pause and listen,
  Speak in tones so plain and childlike,
  Scarcely can the ear distinguish
  Whether they are sung or spoken;--
  Listen to this Indian Legend,
  To this song of Hiawatha!
  Ye whose hearts are fresh and simple,
  Who have faith in God and Nature,
  Who believe, that in all ages
  Every human heart is human,
  That in even savage bosoms
  There are longings, yearnings, strivings
  For the good they comprehend not,
  That the feeble hands and helpless,
  Groping blindly in the darkness,
  Touch God's right hand in that darkness,
  And are lifted up and strengthened;--
  Listen to this simple story,
  To this Song of Hiawatha!

The description of husking time is such a pleasing scene, while the
picture writing of the Indians, their totems and rude drawings, are in
harmony with their traditions and religion.

    On the border of the forest,
  Underneath the fragrant pine-trees,
  Sat the old men and the warriors
  Smoking in the pleasant shadow.
  In uninterrupted silence
  Looked they at the gamesome labor
  Of the young men and the women;
  Listened to their noisy talking,
  To their laughter and their singing,
  Heard them chattering like the magpies,
  Heard them laughing like the blue jays,
  Heard them singing like the robins.
  And whene'er some lucky maiden
  Found a red ear in the husking,
  Found a maize-ear red as blood is,
  "Nushka!" cried they all together,
  "Nushka! you shall have a sweetheart,
  You shall have a handsome husband!"
  "Ugh!" the old men all responded
  From their seats beneath the pine-trees.

    And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets,
  The Wabenos, the Magicians,
  And the Medicine-men, the Medas,
  Painted upon bark and deer-skin
  Figures for the songs they chanted,
  For each song a separate symbol,
  Figures mystical and awful,
  Figures strange and brightly colored;
  And each figure had its meaning,
  Each some magic song suggested.

One of the most striking features of this story is its setting in
nature. More than any other piece of literature now used in the school,
it is redolent of fields and forest.

  Should you ask me, whence these stories,
  Whence these legends and traditions,
  With the odors of the forest,
  With the dew and damp of meadows,
  With the curling smoke of wigwams,
  With the rushing of great rivers,
  With their frequent repetitions,
  And their wild reverberations,
  As of thunder in the mountains?
  I should answer, I should tell you,
    "From the forests and the prairies,
  From the great lakes of the Northland,
  From the land of the Ojibways,
  From the land of the Dacotahs,
  From the mountains, moors, and fenlands,
  Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
  Feeds among the reeds and rushes."

    Should you ask where Nawadaha
  Found these songs, so wild and wayward,
  Found these legends and traditions,
  I should answer, I should tell you,
    "In the birds'-nests of the forest,
  In the lodges of the beaver,
  In the hoof-prints of the bison,
  In the eyry of the eagle!
    All the wild-fowl sang them to him,
  In the moorlands and the fenlands,
  In the melancholy marshes;
  Chetowaik, the plover, sang them,
  Mahng, the loon, the wild-goose, Wawa,
  The blue heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
  And the grouse, the Mushkodasa!"

This description of primitive man is as complete an absorption into his
natural surroundings as is possible. His food and clothing, his tents
and boats, his weapons and war gear, are drawn directly from nature's
first supplies, and man, in this case, seems almost a part of nature, so
completely are his thoughts and activities determined and colored by his
environment. Like the animals, in their protective coloring, he becomes
an undistinguishable part of his surroundings. His nature myths and
superstitions are but phases and expressions of the contact of his crude
mind with forces and objects in nature. In this respect there are many
interesting suggestions of similar interpretations among the Norse and
Greek mythologies.

The close and friendly contact of Hiawatha with trees and animals, his
companionship with the squirrel, the woodpecker, and the beaver, his
talking acquaintance with trees of the forest, with the fishes in the
Big-Sea-Water, and with the masters of the winds, the storm, and the
thunder, make him an interesting guide for the children among the realms
of nature.

    Ye who love the haunts of nature,
  Love the sunshine of the meadow,
  Love the shadow of the forest,
  Love the wind among the branches,
  And the rain-shower and the snow-storm,
  And the rushing of great rivers
  Through their palisades of pine-trees,
  And the thunder in the mountains,
  Whose innumerable echoes
  Flap like eagles in their eyries;--
  Listen to these wild traditions,
  To this Song of Hiawatha!

A happy, sympathetic love for the sights and sounds in nature is a
fortunate beginning of nature lore. The imaginative interpretations are
common to all the early races and in full harmony with the temper of
childhood. Even from the standpoint of nature study, this early poetic
joy in nature descriptions is profitable. The matter-of-fact, analytic
study of natural science in succeeding years need not begrudge the
children this happiness, this interpretative play of the imagination,
this music of field and forest. In early childhood, nature and poetry
are one, and as Lowell says, "Let us not go about to make life duller
than it is."

The simplicity and beauty of the language and figure of speech make many
parts of this poem especially appropriate for children.

    Young and beautiful was Wabun;
  He it was who brought the morning,
  He it was whose silver arrows
  Chased the dark o'er hill and valley;
  He it was whose cheeks were painted
  With the brightest streaks of crimson,
  And whose voice awoke the village,
  Called the deer, and called the hunter.

  He meanwhile sat weary waiting
  For the coming of Mondamin,
  Till the shadows, pointing eastward,
  Lengthened over field and forest,
  Till the sun dropped from the heaven,
  Floating on the waters westward,
  As a red leaf in the Autumn
  Falls and floats upon the water,
  Falls and sinks into its bosom.

  And the pleasant water-courses,
  You could trace them through the valley,
  By the rushing in the Spring-time,
  By the alders in the Summer.
  By the white fog in the Autumn,
  By the black line in the Winter.

The simple music and rhythm of the poetic form is so delightful to
children that they absorb whole passages into their memory without
conscious effort. The mere re-reading of parts of the poem to little
children under six years will often produce this happy result. A little
girl of three years picked up, among others, this passage:--

  Dark behind it rose the forest,
  Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
  Rose the firs with cones upon them;
  Bright before it beat the water,
  Beat the clear and sunny water,
  Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

The repetitions of the same or similar passages, so common throughout
the poem, is a successful appeal to children's favor. It gives the story
a sort of Mother Goose flavor which is delightful.

While the story centres in Hiawatha, it has a variety of interesting
personalities, giving expression to the striking features of this
primitive society. Hiawatha's loved ones, Minnehaha and old Nokomis,
stand first, and his chosen friends are next.

  Two good friends had Hiawatha,
  Singled out from all the others,
  Bound to him in closest union,
  And to whom he gave the right hand
  Of his heart in joy and sorrow;
  Chibiabos, the musician,
  And the very strong man, Kwasind.

    And these two, as I have told you,
  Were the friends of Hiawatha,
  Chibiabos, the musician,
  And the very strong man, Kwasind.
  Long they lived in peace together,
  Spake with naked hearts together,
  Pondering much and much contriving
  How the tribes of men might prosper.

In connection with these persons is a most pleasing series of
adventures, bringing to notice those heroic qualities which children
love to witness. The very strong man, Kwasind, is a fitting companion
in their thoughts to Samson and Hercules; and Chibiabos,

  He the best of all musicians,
  He the sweetest of all singers,

has had many a prototype since the days of Orpheus.

Pau-Puk-Keewis, with his dancing and tricks, will also prove a curious
character, something like Proteus of old.

  You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis
  He, the handsome Yenadizze,
  Whom the people called the Storm Fool,
  Vexed the village with disturbance;
  You shall hear of all his mischief,
  And his flight from Hiawatha,
  And his wondrous transmigrations,
  And the end of his adventures.

The character of Hiawatha, as of the benefactor, of one devoted, with
high purpose, to the welfare of his people, may be regarded as the
deeper motive of the author. It is the thought of ideal good in Hiawatha
which gives tone and meaning to the whole poem.

    You shall hear how Hiawatha
  Prayed and fasted in the forest,
  Not for greater skill in hunting,
  Not for greater craft in fishing,
  Not for triumphs in the battle,
  And renown among the warriors,
  But for profit of the people,
  For advantage of the nations.

The views of geography and history at the beginning and close of the
poem not only give a broad scope to the story, but have an interesting
bearing upon the study of geography and history in those years of school
which immediately follow. The narrative reaches from the Vale of
Tawasentha in New York, across the great lakes and shining Big-Sea-Water
to Minnehaha and the Upper Mississippi, and even to the prairies and the
distant Rocky Mountains beyond. In the summoning of the tribes at the
Great Pipe Stone Quarry there is a broad survey of the Indian tribes of
the United States.

    From the vale of Tawasentha,
  From the Valley of Wyoming,
  From the groves of Tuscaloosa,
  From the far-off Rocky Mountains,
  From the Northern lakes and rivers
  All the tribes beheld the signal,
  Saw the distant smoke ascending,
  The Pukwana of the Peace-Pipe.

    Down the rivers, o'er the prairies,
  Came the warriors of the nations.

A map of North America is necessary for showing the meaning of this
description to the children.

In the last part the coming of the white man and the prophecy of his
spreading over the land, and the dwindling of the native tribes to the
westward, are given.

Iagoo's description of the white men, their ships and appearance, to his
people on the return from his travels, will greatly please the children.

    He had seen, he said, a water
  Bigger than the Big-Sea-Water,
  Broader than the Gitche Gumee,
  Bitter so that none could drink it!
  At each other looked the warriors,
  Looked the women at each other,
  Smiled, and said, "It cannot be so!
  Kaw!" they said, "It cannot be so;"

    "O'er it," said he, "o'er this water
  Came a great canoe with pinions,
  A canoe with wings came flying,
  Bigger than a grove of pine-trees,
  Taller than the tallest tree-tops!"
  And the old men and the women
  Looked and tittered at each other;
  "Kaw!" they said, "we don't believe it!"

The story of Hiawatha has been used sufficiently in primary grades to
show how many are its suggestions for drawing and constructive work.
Little children take delight in drawing the Indian tents, bows and
arrows, pine forests, Indian warriors and dress, the canoe, the
tomahawk, the birds and animals. The cutting of these forms in paper
they have fully enjoyed.

Pictures of Indian life, collections of arrow-heads, the peace-pipes,
articles of dress, cooking utensils, wampum, stone hatchets, red
pipe-stone ornaments, or a visit to any collection of Indian relics are
desirable as a part of this instruction. The museums in cities and
expositions are rich in these materials, and in many private collections
are just the desired objects of study.

It is well known that children love to construct tents, dress in Indian
style, and imitate the mode of life, the hunting, dancing, and sports
of Indians. Teachers have taken advantage of this instinct to allow them
to construct an Indian village on a small scale, and assume the dress
and action of Hiawatha and his friends, and even to dramatize parts of
the story.

It is only certain selected parts of the "Hiawatha" that lend themselves
best to the oral treatment with children, and that, at first, not in the
poetic form. In fact, the oral treatment of a story in beautiful poetic
form demands a peculiar method.

For example, in treating the childhood of Hiawatha as he dwelt with old
Nokomis in the tent beside the sea, the main facts of this episode, or a
part of it, may be talked over by means of description, partly also by
development, question, and answer, and when these things are clear, let
this passage of the poem be read to the children. The preliminary
treatment and discussion will put the children in possession of the
ideas and pictures by which they can better appreciate and assimilate
the poem. This mode of introducing children to a poem or literary
masterpiece is not uncommon with children in later years, at least in
the middle grades.

It has been customary to use nearly the whole poem in fourth or fifth
school year for regular reading, and it is well suited to this purpose.
Its use in primary grades for such oral treatment as we have described
will not interfere with its employment as reading matter later on, but
rather increase its value for that purpose.

The method of handling such a poem as reading has been discussed in the
Special Method in the Reading of Complete English Classics.

A number of books have been written by practical teachers on the use of
"Hiawatha" in primary grades:--

  "The Hiawatha Primer." Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  "Hints on the Study of Hiawatha" (Alice M. Krackowizer). A. Flanagan,

The best edition of the "Hiawatha" is "Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha,"
which is well illustrated. Published by Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

Other editions are "The Song of Hiawatha." The Educational Publishing

  "Longfellow's Hiawatha." The Macmillan Co.
  "Song of Hiawatha." University Publishing Co.




In the third grade we wish to bring a number of the mythical stories
vividly before the children. The classical myths which belong to the
literature of Europe are the fund from which to select the best. Not
all, but only a few of the simple and appropriate stories can be chosen.
Only two recitation periods a week are usually set apart for the oral
treatment of these old myths. But later in the progress of the reading
lessons other similar stories should be treated. The few recitation
periods used for oral work are rather designed to introduce children to
the spirit of this literature, to get them into the appreciative mind.

This body of ancient myths comes down to us, sifted out of the early
literature of the active-minded Greeks. They have found their way as a
simple and charming poetry into the national literature of all the
European countries. Is this the material suited to nine- and
ten-year-old children? It will not be questioned that these myths belong
to the best literary products of Europe, but are they suited to

It is evident that some of our best literary judges have deemed them
appropriate. Hawthorne has put them into a form designed especially for
the young folk. Charles Kingsley wrote of the Greek myths for his
children: "Now I love these old Hellens heartily, and they seem to me
like brothers, though they have all been dead and gone many a hundred
years. They are come to tell you some of their old fairy tales, which
they loved when they were young like you. For nations begin at first by
being children like you, though they are made up of grown men. They are
children at first like you--men and women with children's hearts; frank,
and affectionate, and full of trust, and teachable, loving to see and
learn all the wonders around them; and greedy also, too often, and
passionate and silly, as children are."

Not a few other authors of less note have tried to turn the classical
myths of the old Greek poets into simple English for the entertainment
and instruction of children. Scarcely any of these stories that have not
appeared in various children's books in recent years. Taken as a whole,
they are a storehouse of children's literature. The philosopher,
Herbart, looked upon poems of Homer as giving ideal expression to the
boyhood of the race, and the story of Ulysses was regarded by him as the
boy's book,--the Greek Robinson Crusoe. For the child of nine years he
thought it the most suitable story.

Kingsley says in his Introduction: "Now you must not think of the Greeks
in this book as learned men, living in great cities, such as they were
afterwards, when they wrought all their beautiful works, but as country
people, living on farms and in walled villages, in a simple,
hard-working way; so that the greatest kings and heroes cooked their own
meals and thought it no shame, and made their own ships and weapons, and
fed and harnessed their own horses. So that a man was honored among
them, not because he happened to be rich, but according to his skill and
his strength and courage and the number of things he could do. For they
were but grown-up children, though they were right noble children too,
and it was with them as it is now at school, the strongest and cleverest
boy, though he be poor, leads all the rest."

In the introduction to the "Wonder Book" we find the following:
"Hawthorne took a vital interest in child life. He was accustomed to
observe his own children very closely. There are private manuscripts
extant which present exact records of what his young son and elder
daughter said or did from hour to hour, the father seating himself in
their playroom and patiently noting all that passed. To this habit of
watchful and sympathetic scrutiny we may attribute in part the
remarkable felicity, the fortunate ease of adaptation to the immature
understanding, and the skilful appeal to the fresh imaginations which
characterize his stories for the young." Hawthorne himself says: "The
author has long been of the opinion that many of the classical myths
were capable of being rendered into very capital reading for
children.... No epoch of time can claim a copyright on these immortal
fables. They seem never to have been made, and so long as man exists
they can never perish; but by their indestructibility itself they are
legitimate subjects, for every age to clothe with its own garniture of
manners and sentiment, and to imbue with its own morality.... The author
has not always thought it necessary to write downward in order to meet
the comprehension of children. He has generally suffered the theme to
soar, whenever such was its tendency. Children possess an unestimated
sensibility to whatever is deep or high in imagination or feeling so
long as it is simple likewise. It is only the artificial and the complex
that bewilder them."

A brief analysis of the qualities which render these myths so attractive
will help us to see their value in the education of children.

The astonishing brightness of fanciful episode and of pure and clear-cut
imagery has an indestructible charm for children. They can soar into and
above the clouds on the shining wings of Pegasus. With Eolus they shut
up the contrary winds in an ox-hide, and later let them out to plague
the much-suffering Ulysses. They watch with astonishment as Jason yokes
the fire-breathing oxen and strews the field with uprooted stumps and
stones as he prepares the soil for the seed of dragon's teeth. Each
child becomes a poet as he recreates the sparkling brightness of these
simple pictures. And when a child has once suffered his fancy to soar
to these mountain heights and ocean depths, it will no longer be
possible to make his life entirely dull and prosaic. He has caught
glimpses of a bright world that will linger unfading in the uplands of
his memory. And while they are so deep and lofty they are still, as
Hawthorne says, very simple. Some of the most classic of the old stories
are indeed too long for third grade children; too many persons and too
much complexity, as in the "Tales of Troy." But on the other hand, many
of the most beautiful of the old myths are as plain and simple to a
child as a floating summer cloud. High in the sky they may be or deep in
the reflection of some lake or spring, but clear and plain to the
thought of a little child. These stories in their naive simplicity
reflect the wonder and surprise with which a person first beholds grand
and touching scenery, whether it be the oppressive grandeur of some
beetling mountain crag, or the placid quiet of a moonlit stream. The
stories selected for this grade should be the simplest and best: "The
Golden Touch," "Perseus," "The Chimæra," of Hawthorne, the episodes of
the "Golden Fleece," with others similar.

In one form or another they introduce us to the company of heroes, or,
at least, of great and simple characters. Deeds of enterprise and
manliness or of unselfishness and generosity are the climax of the
story. To meet danger and hardship or ridicule for the sake of a high
purpose is their underlying thought. Perseus and Jason and Ulysses are
all ambitious to prove their title to superior shrewdness and courage
and self-control. When we get fairly into the mythical age, we find
ourselves among the heroes, among those striving for mastery and
leadership in great undertakings. Physical prowess and manly spirit are
its chief virtues. And can there be any question that there is a time in
the lives of children when these ideas fill the horizon of their
thought? Samson and David and Hercules, Bellerophon and Jason, are a
child's natural thoughts or, at least, they fit the frame of his mind so
exactly that one may say the picture and the frame were made for each
other. The history of most countries contains such an age of heroes.
Tell in Switzerland, Siegfried in Germany, Bruce in Scotland, Romulus
and Horatius at Rome, Alfred in England, are all national heroes of the
mythical age, whose deeds are heroic and of public good. The Greek
stories are only a more classic edition of this historical epoch, and
should lead up to a study of these later products of European

Several forms of moral excellence are objectively realized or
personified in these stories.

As the wise Centaur, after teaching Jason to be skilful and brave, sent
him out into the world, he said: "Well, go, my son; the throne belongs
to thy father and the gods love justice. But remember, wherever thou
dost wander, to observe these three things:

  "Relieve the distressed.
  "Respect the aged.
  "Be true to thy word."[6]

    [6] _Jason's Quest_ (Lowell), p. 55.

And many events in Jason's life illustrate the wisdom of these words.
The miraculous pitcher is one whose fountain of refreshing milk bubbled
always because of a gentle deed of hospitality to strangers. King Midas,
on the other hand, experiences in most graphic form the punishment which
ought to follow miserly greed, while his humble penitence brought back
his daughter and the homely comforts of life. Bellerophon is filled with
a desire to perform a noble deed that will relieve the distress of a
whole people. After the exercise of much patience and self-control he
succeeds in his generous enterprise. Many a lesson of worldly wisdom and
homely virtue is brought out in the story of Ulysses' varied and
adventuresome career.

These myths bring children into lively contact with European history and
geography, as well as with its modes of life and thought. The early
history of Europe is in all cases shrouded in mist and legend. But even
from this historically impenetrable past has sprung a literature that
has exercised a profound influence upon the life and growth of the
people. Not that children are conscious of the significance of these
ideas, but being placed in an atmosphere which is full of them, their
deeper meaning gradually unfolds itself. The early myths afford an
interesting approach for children to the history and geography of
important countries. Those countries they must, sooner or later, make
the acquaintance of both geographically and historically, and could
anything be designed to take stronger hold upon their imagination and
memory than these charming myths, which were the poetry and religion of
the people once living there?

It is a very simple and primitive state of culture, whose ships, arms,
agriculture, and domestic life are given us in clear and pleasing
pictures. Our own country is largely lacking in a mythical age. Our
culture sprang, more than half-grown, from the midst of Europe's
choicest nations, and out of institutions that had been centuries in
forming. The myths of Europe are therefore as truly ours as they are the
treasure of Englishmen, of Germans, or of Greeks. Again, our own
literature, as well as that of European states, is full of the spirit
and suggestion of the mythical age. Our poets and writers have drawn
much of their imagery from this old storehouse of thought, and a child
will better understand the works of the present through this contact
with mythical ages.

In method of treatment with school classes, these stories will admit of
a variation from the plan used with "Robinson Crusoe." One unaccustomed
to the reading of such stories would be at a loss for a method of
treatment with children. There is a charm and literary art in the
presentation that may make the teacher feel unqualified to present them.
The children are not yet sufficiently masters of the printed symbols of
speech to read for themselves. Shall the teacher simply read the stories
to children? We would suggest first of all, that the teacher, who would
expect to make use of these materials, steep himself fully in literature
of this class, and bring his mind into familiar acquaintance and
sympathy with its characters. In interpreting classical authors to
pupils, we are justified in requiring of the teacher intimate knowledge
and appreciative sympathy with his author. Certainly no one will teach
these stories well whose fancy was never touched into airy flights--who
cannot become a child again and partake of his pleasures. No
condescension is needed, but ascension to a free and ready flight of
fancy. By learning to drink at these ancient fountains of song and
poetry, the teacher might learn to tell a fairy story for himself. But
doubtless it will be well to mingle oral narrative and description on
the part of the teacher with the fit reading of choice parts so as to
better preserve the classic beauty and suggestion of the author.
Children are quite old enough now to appreciate beauty of language and
expressive, happy turns of speech. In the midst of question, suggestion,
and discussion between pupil and teacher, the story should be carried
forward, never forgetting to stop at suitable intervals and get such a
reproduction of the story as the little children are capable of. And
indeed they are capable of much in this direction, for their thoughts
are more nimble, and their power of expression more apt, oftentimes,
than the teacher's own.

We would not favor a simple reading of these stories for the
entertainment of pupils. It should take more the form of a school
exercise, requiring not only interest and attention, but vigorous effort
to grasp and reproduce the thought. The result should be a much livelier
and deeper insight into the story than would be secured by a simple
reading for amusement or variety. They should prepare also for an
appreciative reading of other myths in the following grades.

After all, in two or three recitation periods a week, extending through
a year, it cannot be expected that children will make the acquaintance
of all the literature that could be properly called the myth of the
heroic age in different countries. All that we may expect is to enter
this paradise of children, to pluck a few of its choicest flowers, and
get such a breath of their fragrance that there will be a child's desire
to return again and again. The school also should provide in the
succeeding year for an abundance of reading of myths. The same old
stories which they first learned to enjoy in oral recitations should be
read in books, and still others should be utilized in the regular
reading classes of the fourth and fifth grades. In this way the myths of
other countries may be brought in, the story of Tell, of Siegfried, of
Alfred, and of others.

In summarizing the advantages of a systematic attempt to get this simple
classic lore into our schools, we recall the interest and mental
activity which it arouses, its power to please and satisfy the creative
fancy in children, its fundamental feeling and instincts, the virtues of
bravery, manliness, and unselfishness, and all this in a form that still
further increases its culture effect upon teacher and pupil. It should
never be forgotten that teacher and pupil alike are here imbibing
lessons and inspirations that draw them into closer sympathy because the
subject is worthy of both old and young.

In addition to the earlier Greek myths we may mention the following
subjects as suitable for oral treatment:

The story of Ulysses has been much used in schools with oral
presentation, and is one of the best tales for this purpose in all
literature. A somewhat full discussion of the value of this story for
schools is found in the Special Method in Reading of Complete English

The Norse mythology has also received much attention from teachers who
have used the oral mode of treatment. Several of the best books of Norse
mythology are mentioned in the appended list. Also the great story of

Some of the old traditional stories in the early history of Rome, of
France, Germany, and England, have been used for oral narration and
reading to children.

The "Seven Little Sisters" and its companion book "Each and All," and
the "Ten Boys on the Road from Long Ago to Now," by Jane Andrews,
published by Ginn & Co., have been employed extensively for oral and
reading work in the third and fourth years of school. The "Seven Little
Sisters" is valuable in connection with the beginnings of geography.


The Wonder Book of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

    The following stories are especially recommended: The Gorgon's
    Head, The Golden Touch, The Miraculous Pitcher, and The Chimæra.

    One should preserve as much as possible of the spirit and
    language of the author. Perhaps in classes with children the
    other stories will be found equally attractive: The Paradise of
    Children and the Three Golden Apples. Published by Houghton,
    Mifflin, & Co., Boston.

Kingsley's Greek Heroes.

    The stories of Perseus, the Argonauts, and Theseus, especially
    adapted to children. It may be advisable for the teacher to
    abbreviate the stories, leaving out unimportant parts, but
    giving the best portions in the fullest detail. Published by
    Ginn & Co.; The Macmillan Co.

Story of the Iliad and Story of the Odyssey (Church).

    Simple and interesting narrative of the Homeric stories. The
    Macmillan Co.

Jason's Quest (Lowell).

    The story of the Argonauts with many other Greek myths woven
    into the narrative. This book is a store of excellent material.
    The teacher should select from it those parts specially suited
    to the grade. Published by Sibley & Ducker, Chicago.

Adventures of Ulysses (Lamb).

    A small book from which the chief episodes of Ulysses' career
    can be obtained. Published by Ginn & Co., Boston.

The Story of Siegfried (Baldwin). Published by Scribner's Sons.

Peabody's Old Greek Folk Stories.

    Simple and well written. A supplement to the Wonder Book.
    Published by Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

Tales of Troy (De Garmo).

    The story of the siege of Troy and of the great events of
    Homer's Iliad. This story, on account of its complexity, we deem
    better adapted to the fourth grade. Published by the Public
    School Publishing Co., Bloomington, Ill.

Stories of the Old World (Church).

    Stories of the Argo, of Thebes, of Troy, of Ulysses, and of
    Æneas. Stories are simply and well told. It is a book of 350
    pages, and would serve well as a supplementary reader in fourth
    grade. Published by Ginn & Co.

Gods and Heroes (Francillon).

    A successful effort to cover the whole field of Greek mythology
    in the story form. Ginn & Co.

The Tanglewood Tales (Nathaniel Hawthorne).

    A continuation of the Wonder Book.

Heroes of Asgard.

    Stories of Norse mythology; simple and attractive.
    Macmillan & Co.

The Story of Ulysses (Agnes S. Cook).

    An account of the adventures of Ulysses, told in connected
    narrative, in language easily comprehended by children in the
    third and fourth grades. Public School Publishing Co.,
    Bloomington, Ill.

Old Norse Stories (Bradish).

    Stories for reference and sight reading. American Book Co.

Norse Stories (Mabie).

    An excellent rendering of the old stories. Dodd, Mead, & Co.

Myths of Northern Lands (Guerber). American Book Co.

The Age of Fable (Bulfinch). Lee and Shepard.

Readings in Folk Lore (Skinner). American Book Co.

National Epics (Rabb). A. C. McClurg & Co.

Classic Myths (Gayley). Ginn & Co.

Bryant's Odyssey. Complete poetic translation. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

Bryant's Iliad. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

Butcher and Lang's prose translation of the Odyssey. The Macmillan Co.

The Odyssey of Homer (Palmer). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

    A prose translation.

Myths and Myth Makers (Fiske).

Moral Instruction of Children (Felix Adler).

    Chapter X. D. Appleton & Co.


The stories of early Bible history have been much used in all European
lands, and in America, for the instruction of children. Among Jews and
Christians everywhere, and even among Mohammedans, these stories have
been extensively used. They include the simple accounts of the
patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brethren, Moses,
Joshua, Samson, Samuel, and David. It may be seen at a glance that no
more famous stories than these could be selected from the history of any
country in the world. They stand preëminent as graphic descriptions of
the modes of life which prevailed in the early period of civilized
races. The old patriarchs lived in what is usually called the pastoral
age, when men dwelt in tents and moved about from place to place with
their flocks in search of pasture. The patriarch at the head of the
family, and even of a whole tribe, is the father, ruler, priest, and
judge for the little community over which he presides. In his person
there is a simple union of all the important powers of the later Hebrew
state. The dignity and authority which centre in the person of Abraham,
together with a marked gravity and strength of character, lend a
distinct grandeur to his personality, so that he has been recognized in
all ages as one of the great figures in the history of the world; the
foremost of the old patriarchs,--the father of the faithful. A similar
respect and dignity attaches to all these old Bible characters, and in
the case of Moses, rises to a supreme height, while in David the
warrior, statesman, and poet are united in one of the most pronounced
and pleasing characters in the world's history. These old stories are
also unparalleled in the simplicity and transparent clearness with which
the life of the pastoral age is depicted. Human nature comes out in a
series of pictures most striking and individual, and yet unmistakably
true to life and reality. And yet while this life was so small in its
compass, it is almost wholly free from narrowness and provincialism. The
universal qualities of human nature, common to men in all ages and
countries, stand out with a clearness which even little children can
grasp. The story of Joseph and his brethren is probably the finest story
that was ever written for children from eight to ten years of age. The
characters involved in this family history are striking and impressive,
and the strength of the family virtues and affections has never been set
forth with greater simplicity and power.

The heroic qualities which appear in the old Bible stories, especially
in Moses, Samson, and David, would bear a favorable comparison with the
men of the heroic age in all countries. Strength of character combined
with faith in high ideals, pursued with unwavering resolution, is a
peculiar merit of these narratives. The heroes of the Hebrew race should
be compared, later on, with the most renowned heroes of England,
Scotland, Germany, and Greece, and even of America, for they have common
qualities which have like merit as educative materials for the young.

This early literature of the Bible stories will be found to contain a
large part of the universal thought of the world, that is, of the
masterly ideas which, because of their superior truth and excellence,
have gradually worked their way as controlling principles into the life
of all modern nations. It need hardly be said that these stories have a
peculiar charm and attractiveness for children. The simplicity of a
patriarchal age, the strong interest in persons of heroic quality, the
descriptions of early childhood, the heroic deeds of bold and
high-spirited youth,--these things command the unfaltering interest of
children, and at the same time give their lives a touch of moral
strength and idealism which is of the highest promise.

The oral treatment of these stories in the third or fourth year of
school is the only mode of bringing them before the children in their
full power, and they are well adapted to easy oral narrative and
discussion. The language is the genuine, simple, powerful old English,
and the teacher should become thoroughly saturated with these simple
words and modes of thought. The dramatic element is also not lacking in
many parts, and can be well executed in the classroom. Many
opportunities will be furnished to the children for drawing pictures
illustrating the stories. Many of the most famous masterpieces of
painting and sculpture represent the persons and scenes of these tales.
The great heroes of Christian art have exhausted their skill in these
representations, which are now being furnished to the schools by the
large publishing houses. Even the costumes and modes of life are thus
brought home to the children in the most realistic yet artistic way.

An acquaintance with such early stories of Hebrew history is an
introduction to some of the finest literature of the English language.
First, that dealing with the Hebrew scriptures themselves, as the books
of Moses, the psalms of David, and second, a number of the great poems
of English masters, as the "Burial of Moses" and Milton's "Samson
Agonistes." In short, we may say that these stories are the key to a
large part of our best English thought.

Adler, in his "Moral Instruction of Children," says: "The narrative of
the Bible is fairly saturated with the moral spirit; the moral issues
are everywhere in the forefront. Duty, guilt, and its punishment, the
conflict of conscience with inclination, are the leading themes. The
Hebrew people seem to have been endowed with what may be called 'a moral
genius,' and especially did they emphasize the filial and fraternal
duties to an extent hardly equalled elsewhere. Now it is precisely these
duties that must be impressed upon young children, and hence the
biblical stories present us with the very material we require. They
cannot, in this respect, be replaced; there is no other literature in
the world that offers what is equal to them in value for the particular
object we now have in view."

If we could only contemplate the patriarchal stories as a part of the
great literature of the world, on account of its typical yet realistic
portraiture of men and women, we might use this material as we use the
very best derived from other sources. Mr. Adler remarks that "this
typical quality in Homer's portraiture has been one secret of its
universal impressiveness. The Homeric outlines are in each case
brilliantly distinct, while they leave to the reader a certain liberty
of private conception, and he can fill them in to satisfy his own ideal.
We may add that this is just as true of the Bible as of Homer. The
biblical narrative, too, depicts a few essential traits of human nature,
and refrains from multiplying minor traits which might interfere with
the main effect. The Bible, too, draws its figures in outline, and
leaves every age free to fill them in so as to satisfy its own ideal."

Moreover, their use is not a matter of experiment. For hundreds of years
they have held the first place in the best homes and schools of Germany,
England, and America, and their educative influence has been profoundly
felt in all Christian nations.

We have several editions of the stories adapted from the Bible for
school use. In the Bible itself they are not found in the simple,
connected form that makes them available for school use. One of the best
editions for school is that published by Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.,
called, "Old Testament Stories in Scriptural Language." A free and
somewhat original rendering of the stories is given by Baldwin in his
"Old Stories of the East," published by the American Book Co. Both of
these books have been extensively used in the schools of this country.
The oral treatment of the Bible stories in the schools has not been
common in this country, but it has all the merits described by us in the
chapter on oral instruction. In fourth and fifth grades these books may
serve well for exercises in reading.

In a great many schools of this country they can be used and are used
without giving offence to anybody, and where this is true, they well
deserve recognition in our school course because of their superior
presentation of some of the great universal ideas of our civilization.


  The Modern Reader's Bible, twenty-one volumes (Richard Moulton).
        The Macmillan Co.
  Children's Series. Old Testament and New Testament Stories.
        In two volumes. The Macmillan Co.
  Stories from the Bible (Church). The Macmillan Co.
  Story of the Chosen People (Guerber). The American Book Co.
  The Literary Study of the Bible (Moulton). D. C. Heath & Co.


In the latter part of third grade or beginning of fourth, the stories of
Robin Hood are likely to prove exhilarating to children.

These stories of the bold, manly, good-natured outlaw, with his band of
trusty men in Sherwood Forest, have been famous throughout England these
five hundred years, and the stories themselves, and the ballads
accompanying them, are a genuine part of the treasures of the older
English literature. They have been worked by Howard Pyle into the stout,
hearty English style which is so appropriate to the rendering of the
deeds of this sturdy English yeoman and his band.

Their careless life and woodland sports under the Greenwood Tree, and
their merry adventures and shooting matches, have been the delight of
many a generation of English children. But even their woodland sports
were a severe and rugged training in hardy endurance and manly spirit.
Pyle says well in his preface: "For honest purposes manfully followed
and hard knocks courageously endured must always interest the wholesome
boy; while nature is so closely akin to man in the golden days of his
green youth that tales of the Greenwood, where the leaves rustle and the
birds sing, and all the air is full of sweet savors of growing things,
must ever have a potent charm for the fresh imagination of childhood."

One phase of this training, as manifested in the stories, is not only
the ability to take hard knocks and keep a stiff upper lip, as the old
saying goes, but to master chagrin and anger and endure fun and gibes at
one's own expense; indeed, even with aching bones and buzzing ears, to
join in the merriment over one's own discomfiture. This is an unusual
accompaniment of even good stories, which makes them truly wholesome.
The fun of the stories also is of a light and rollicking sort which
children should have a chance to thoroughly enjoy. In fact it is
excellent material upon which to cultivate their early sense of the
comic and humorous. The literature used in early school years has,
unfortunately, too little of the sportive and laughable, and the Robin
Hood adventures will help in no small degree to remedy this defect.

It is interesting to note, also, that brute strength is not at a
premium, but skill and quick-wittedness. Not the least attractive and
forcible part of Robin Hood's character is the shrewd-witted versatility
and boldness with which he plays any part which circumstances require
him to assume. His foes are circumvented by his shrewdness and keen wit
even as much as by his unfailing skill in archery or dexterous strength
in personal contest.

Robin Hood's relation to the British government was known as that of the
outlaw, although the visit of King Richard to him in Sherwood Forest and
his service under that prince and others gave him a certain legal
status. He has always been regarded as a popular hero representing the
rights of the common people.

After describing Robin Hood's first adventure with the foresters and his
outlawry, Howard Pyle says: "But Robin Hood lay hidden in Sherwood
Forest for one year, and in that time there gathered around him many
others like himself, outlawed for this cause and for that.

"So, in all that year, five score or more good, stout yeomen joined
themselves to him, and chose him to be their leader and chief. Then they
vowed that even as they themselves had been despoiled they would despoil
their oppressors, whether baron, abbot, knight, or squire, and that
from each they would take that which had been wrung from the poor by
unjust taxes, or land rents, or in wrongful fines; but to the poor folk
they would give a helping hand in need and trouble, and would return to
them that which had been unjustly taken from them. Besides this, they
swore never to harm a child, nor to wrong a woman, be she maid, wife, or
widow; so that, after a while, when the people began to find that no
harm was meant to them, but that money or food came in time of want to
many a poor family, they came to praise Robin and his merry men, and to
tell many tales of him and of his doings in Sherwood Forest, for they
felt him to be one of themselves."

When we consider the stories which tradition has handed down relative to
the exploits of Robin Hood, the Old-English ballads which celebrate them
in song, the stories of King Richard's visit to him in Sherwood, and
Robin's visit to the court of Eleanor and King Henry at London town, to
share in the great shooting-match, and the story of Locksley in Scott's
"Ivanhoe"--we might almost say that Robin Hood would bear favorable
comparison with any Englishman of his time. At any rate it would be
difficult to find among the kings and great lords of that age one who
had so much regard for justice and fair dealing among men, to say
nothing of his kindness to the poor and needy.

He stands distinctly for those rights of the common people which were
constantly violated by the powerful and influential in that
half-barbarous age of feudalism. It is from this instinct for popular
rights that the body of English liberties has gradually developed, and
it is not strange that Robin Hood has always been regarded as a hero
among a people who have preserved this instinct for liberty and justice.

The foresters of Robin Hood's band were lovers of forest and glade; the
song of the bird and fragrance of wild flowers were sweet to them. In
Pyle's introductory chapter is this description of their retreat under
the Greenwood. "So turning their backs upon the stream, they plunged
into the forest once more, through which they traced their steps till
they reached the spot where they dwelt in the depths of the woodland.
There had they built huts of bark and branches of trees, and made
couches of sweet rushes spread over with skins of fallow deer. Here
stood a great oak tree with branches spreading broadly around, beneath
which was a seat of green moss where Robin Hood was wont to sit at feast
and at merrymaking, with his stout men about him. Here they found the
rest of the band, some of whom had come in with a brace of fat does.
Then they built great fires, and after the feast was ready they all sat
down, but Robin Hood placed Little John at his right hand, for he was
henceforth to be the second in the band."

Little John's bout with the tanner of Blyth is introduced thus:--

"One fine day, not long after Little John had left abiding with the
Sheriff and had come back to the merry Greenwood, Robin Hood and a few
chosen fellows of his band lay upon the soft sward beneath the Greenwood
Tree where they dwelt. The day was warm and sultry, so that whilst most
of the band were scattered through the forest upon this mission and upon
that, these few stout fellows lay lazily beneath the shade of the tree,
in the soft afternoon, passing jests among themselves and telling merry
stories, with laughter and mirth.

"All the air was laden with the bitter fragrance of the May, and all the
bosky shades of the woodlands beyond rang with the sweet song of
birds,--the throstle-cock, the cuckoo, and the wood-pigeon,--and with
the song of birds mingled the cool sound of the gurgling brook that
leaped out of the forest shades, and ran fretting amid its rough gray
stones across the sunlit open glade before the trysting-tree."

This delight in the beauty and music of all nature about them is a sort
of atmosphere which gives tone to all the stories of this group.

The language in which the stories are narrated is rich in the quaint and
vigorous phrases of Old English, reminding one of the times of
Shakespeare and before. One could hardly give the children a better
introduction to the riches of our mother tongue.

The description of English customs, the popular festivities, the booths
of the market town, the parade of feudal lords and retainers, the
constraints placed upon hunting by kings and lords, and the hardships of
the poor are touched upon in significant ways. The stories give an
insight into the English character, their love of rude sports, their
ballad literature, and their respect for honesty and courage and

The ballads associated with the Robin Hood legends are often beautiful
and striking expressions of the English spirit, and have a special charm
for children. They should be read in connection with the later reading
of the stories in the third and fourth school years.

The bearing of these tales upon early feudal history and the general
literature of that age is of importance. This is well illustrated in
"Ivanhoe" in the use by Richard of Robin Hood and his archers in the
attack upon Torquilstone, and in various exploits of the men of the
Greenwood when brought in contact with knights on horseback. There is
also a kinship in these narratives with some of the best stories and
novels of early English history, as Scott's "Tales of a Grandfather,"
Kingsley's "Hereward the Wake," Jane Andrew's "Gilbert the Page," and a
number of Scott's novels.

In the oral treatment of the stories in the third or fourth school year,
the teacher will find her powers of presentation taxed in a peculiar
way. The quaint language and humorous tone, the occasional witty
conceits, will need to be appreciated and enjoyed, and the mode of
presentation suited to the thought. Let the teacher first of all
thoroughly enjoy the stories and in rendering them to children in the
classroom lose herself in the tone and spirit of the account. It
requires great freedom and flexibility of body and mind to do this well,
but that is what a teacher most of all needs. The humorous part,
especially, will require a certain unbending of the stiff manners of a
teacher, but no harm is done in this.

The large volume of Robin Hood stories by Pyle should be in the hands of
the teacher, if possible, although it is an expensive book. It is much
fuller in the special details of the stories needed by the teacher,
though the smaller book is far better adapted as a reading book for

To illustrate the place which the Robin Hood legends hold in English
history and literature, the following selections, quoted from Tennyson's
"The Foresters" and one of the old ballads, are given. They are taken
from "English History told by English Poets," published by The Macmillan
Company, where the passage from "The Foresters" is given at greater



(From "The Foresters")

Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and George-a-Green, Will Scarlet,
Midge the Miller's Son, Little John, and the rest are legendary
characters loved and sung from the fourteenth century to modern times.
The charm of these light-hearted highwaymen was felt by Shakespeare
himself: "They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a many
merry men with him: and there they live like the old Robin Hood of
England; they say many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet
the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world."--("As You Like
It," I, I.) Tennyson adopts the tradition that the generous outlaws
dwelt in Sherwood Forest in Cumberlandshire, and that their leader,
Robin Hood, was the banished Earl of Huntingdon. The plot of the "The
Foresters" turns upon the sudden return of Richard from his Austrian
captivity and the consequent collapse of the intrigues conducted by his
crafty and cruel brother John.

  _Robin Hood._        Am I worse or better?
  I am outlaw'd. I am none the worse for that
  I held for Richard and I hated John.
  I am a thief, ay, and a king of thieves.
  Ay! but we rob the robber, wrong the wronger,
  And what we wring from them we give the poor.
  I am none the worse for that, and all the better
  For this free forest-life, for while I sat
  Among my thralls in my baronial hall
  The groining hid the heavens; but since I breathed,
  A houseless head beneath the sun and stars,
  The soul of the woods hath stricken thro' my blood,
  The love of freedom, the desire of God,
  The hope of larger life hereafter, more
  Tenfold than under roof.

                            True, were I taken
  They would prick out my sight. A price is set
  On this poor head; but I believe there lives
  No man who truly loves and truly rules
  His following, but can keep his followers true.
  I am one with mine. Traitors are rarely bred
  Save under traitor kings. Our vice-king John,
  True king of vice--true play on words--our John,
  By his Norman arrogance and dissoluteness,
  Hath made me king of all the discontent
  Of England up thro' all the forest land
  North to the Tyne: being outlaw'd in a land
  Where law lies dead, we make ourselves the law.

  _King Richard_ (to _Robin_). My good friend Robin, Earl of Huntingdon,
  For Earl thou art again, hast thou no fetters
  For those of thine own band who would betray thee?

  _Robin._ I have; but these were never worn as yet,
  I never found one traitor in my band.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Our forest games are ended, our free life,
  And we must hence to the King's court. I trust
  We shall return to the wood. Meanwhile, farewell
  Old friends, old patriarch oaks. A thousand winters
  Will strip you bare as death, a thousand summers
  Robe you life-green again. You seem, as it were,
  Immortal, and we mortal. How few Junes
  Will heat our pulses quicker! How few frosts
  Will chill the hearts that beat for Robin Hood!

  _Marian._ And yet I think these oaks at dawn and even,
  Or in the balmy breathings of the night,
  Will whisper evermore of Robin Hood.
  We leave but happy memories to the forest.
  We dealt in the wild justice of the woods.
  All those poor serfs whom we have served will bless us,
  All those pale mouths which we have fed will praise us--
  All widows we have holpen pray for us,
  Our Lady's blessed shrines throughout the land
  Be all the richer for us. You, good friar,
  You Much, you Scarlet, you dear Little John,
  Your names will cling like ivy to the wood.
  And here perhaps a hundred years away
  Some hunter in day-dreams or half asleep
  Will hear our arrows whizzing overhead,
  And catch the winding of a phantom horn.

  _Robin._ And surely these old oaks will murmur thee
  Marian along with Robin. I am most happy--
  Art thou not mine?--and happy that our King
  Is here again, never I trust to roam
  So far again, but dwell among his own.
  Strike up a stave, my masters, all is well.


Robin Hood and his followers were bandits and outlaws, but the people
loved them because they defied the hateful forest laws and made light of
the sheriff. The king's officers were responsible for the maintenance of
order, but in these lawless times they often used their power for their
own advantage, imposing heavy fines and penalties on the poor, and
extorting bribes from the rich. The following is one of the oldest and
rudest of the many Robin Hood ballads:--

  There are twelve months in all the year,
      As I hear many say,
  But the merriest month in all the year
      Is the merry month of May.

  Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone,
      With a link a down and a day,
  And there he met a silly[7] old woman,
      Was weeping on the way.

  "What news? what news, thou silly old woman?
      What news hast thou for me?"
  Said she, "There's my three sons in Nottingham town
      To-day condemned to die."

  "O, have they parishes burnt?" he said,
      "Or have they ministers slain?
  Or have they robbed any virgin?
      Or other men's wives have ta'en?"

  "They have no parishes burnt, good sir,
      Nor yet have ministers slain,
  Nor have they robbed any virgin,
      Nor other men's wives have ta'en."

  "O, what have they done?" said Robin Hood,
      "I pray thee tell to me."
  "It's for slaying of the king's fallow-deer,
      Bearing their long bows with thee."

  "Dost thou not mind, old woman," he said,
      "How thou madest me sup and dine?
  By the truth of my body," quoth bold Robin Hood,
      "You could not tell it in better time."

  Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone,
      With a link a down and a day,
  And there he met with a silly old palmer,
      Was walking along the highway.

  "What news? what news, thou silly old man?
      What news, I do thee pray?"
  Said he, "Three squires in Nottingham town
      Are condemned to die this day."

  "Come change thy apparel with me, old man,
      Come change thy apparel for mine;
  Here is forty shillings in good silver,
      Go drink it in beer or wine."

  Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone,
      With a link a down and a down.
  And there he met with the proud sheriff,
      Was walking along the town.

  "O Christ you save, O sheriff!" he said;
      "O Christ you save and see;
  And what will you give to a silly old man
      To-day will your hangman be?"

  "Some suits, some suits," the sheriff he said,
      "Some suits I'll give to thee;
  Some suits, some suits, and pence thirteen,
      To-day's a hangman's fee."

  Then Robin he turns him round about,
      And jumps from stock to stone:
  "By the truth of my body," the sheriff he said,
      "That's well jumpt, thou nimble old man."

  "I was ne'er a hangman in all my life,
      Nor yet intends to trade;
  But curst be he," said bold Robin,
      "That first a hangman was made!

  "I've a bag for meal, and a bag for malt,
      And a bag for barley and corn;
  A bag for bread, and a bag for beef,
      And a bag for my little small horn.

  "I have a horn in my pocket,
      I got it from Robin Hood,
  And still when I set it to my mouth,
      For thee it blows little good."

  "O, wind thy horn, thou proud fellow,
      Of thee I have no doubt.
  I wish that thou give such a blast,
      Till both thy eyes fall out."

  The first loud blast that he did blow,
      He blew both loud and shrill;
  A hundred and fifty of Robin Hood's men
      Came riding over the hill.

  The next loud blast that he did give,
      He blew both loud and amain.
  And quickly sixty of Robin Hood's men
      Came shining over the plain.

  "O, who are these," the sheriff he said,
      "Come tripping over the lea?"
  "They're my attendants," brave Robin did say;
      "They'll pay a visit to thee."

  They took the gallows from the slack,
      They set it in the glen.
  They hanged the proud sheriff on that,
      Released their own three men.

    [7] simple


  The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Howard Pyle). Finely
        illustrated, $3.00. Scribner's Sons.
  Some Adventures of Robin Hood (Pyle). Small school edition,
        illustrated; Scribner's Sons.
  Tennyson's The Foresters.
  The Robin Hood ballads are found in many of the ballad books.
  Ivanhoe contains several scenes from the life of Robin Hood




Before entering upon the discussion of the usual methods of introducing
children to the art of reading we will give a treatment of the
incidental opportunities offered by the other studies, by school
movements and games in primary classes, for introducing children to the
written and printed forms.

It is assumed that the more closely the written or printed words and
sentences are related to the children's activities, or the more
dependent these activities are made upon a knowledge of the word-forms,
the quicker and more natural will be their mastery. To put it briefly,
the teacher abstains from the use of oral speech to a considerable
extent and substitutes the written forms of the words on the blackboard
in giving directions, in games, and in treating topics in literature and
science. The following chapter is taken wholly from the lessons given by
Mrs. Lida B. McMurry in the first grade. Many other similar lessons were
worked out, but these are probably sufficient to fully illustrate the

The teacher's aim in the beginning reading is to lead the child to look
to the lesson, either word or sentence or paragraph, to find what it has
to say to him--to present the lesson in such a way that the child shall
quicken into life in its presence--shall reach forward to grasp this
much-desired thing. The attention of the child is centred on the
thought; he grasps the symbols because he must reach, through them, the

Much of the early reading can be taught in a purely incidental way--in
the general exercises of the school and in the literature and
nature-study recitations.


(a) _In the General Management of the School._ The directions which are
at first given to children orally, _e.g._, _rise_, _turn_, _pass_,
_sit_, _skip_, _fly_, _march_, _run_, _walk_, _pass to the front_, _pass
to the back_, are later written upon the board. When the children seem
to have become familiar with the written direction, the order in which
the directions are given is sometimes changed, as a test, _e.g._, the
following directions are usually given in this order--_turn_, _rise_,
_pass_. Instead of writing _turn_ first, the teacher writes _pass_. If
the children understand, they will rise at once and pass without waiting
to turn.

The names of the children, instead of being spoken, are often written;
in this way the children become familiar with the names of all the
children in the school. The teacher, writing _Clarence_ upon the board,
says, "I would like this boy to erase the boards to-night." The first
time it is written the teacher speaks the name as she writes it. It may
be necessary to do this several times. The teacher does not look at
Clarence as she writes his name. If he does not recognize his name after
it has appeared repeatedly, his eyesight may well be tested. If
heedlessness is the cause of the failure, another name is written at the
board, and Clarence loses the opportunity to do the service. No drill
should be given on these names. The repetition incident to the frequent
calling upon the child is all that is necessary to fix the name.

The names of the songs and of the poems which the children are
memorizing are written upon the board as needed. The teacher says, "We
will sing this song this morning." If the children do not recognize its
title as the teacher points to it, she gives it. After a while the
children will recognize the names of all the songs and the poems which
are in use in the room.

The children become familiar with the written form of the smaller
numbers in this way--the number of absent children is reported at each
session and written on the board. On Friday the teacher records upon the
board some facts of the week, or of the month, which the children
learned from their weather charts--viz., the number of sunny and the
number of cloudy days. The number of children in each row is ascertained
and written at the board that the monitors may know how many pairs of
scissors, pieces of clay, or pencils to select.

The poems, after being partially committed to memory, are written upon
the board; when the pupils falter, reference is made to the line in
question as it appears upon the board.

The teacher sometimes writes her morning greeting or evening farewell at
the board--thus: "Good morning, children," or, "Good-by for to-day." The
children read silently and respond with, "Good morning, Miss Eades," or,
"Good night, Miss Farr."

Often she communicates facts of interest at the board. If the pupils are
unable to interpret what she has written, she reads for them, _e.g._,
the teacher writes, "We have vacation to-morrow." Quite likely some
child, unable to read at all, will say, "We have _something_, but I
can't tell what it is." (These same words will occur again, when needed
to express a thought, and it is a waste of energy to drill upon them.)
When the children have interpreted the above sentence at the board, the
teacher writes, "Do you know why?" The children read the question
silently and give the answer audibly, and say, "It is Decoration Day."
We too often allow children to treat a question in their reading as if
its end were reached in the asking. To lead the children to form a
habit of answering questions asked in writing or in print, such
questions as the following are, from time to time, written at the board:
"Did you see the rainbow last night?" "What color was it?" "Did you see
any birds on Saturday?" "What ones?" "Have you been to the woods?" "What
did you find there?"

(b) _In Connection with the Literature._ The name of the story which the
teacher is about to tell is placed upon the board. At the first writing
the teacher tells the pupils what it is, if necessary, _e.g._, the
teacher says, "We shall have a story about '_The Three Bears_,'"
pointing to the title upon the board. The next day she says, "I would
like you to tell me all you can about this story"--writing its name upon
the board.

In the final reproduction of the story the teacher assigns topics,
_e.g._: Chauncey may tell me about this (writing at the board):
_Silver-Hair going to the woods_. Eva may tell about this: _Silver-Hair
going into the kitchen_. Jennie may tell about this: _Silver-Hair going
into the sitting room_. Willie may tell about this: _Silver-Hair going
upstairs_. Should the child go beyond the limited topic, the teacher
points to the board and asks about what he was to tell.

At the close of each story that can be dramatized, the teacher assigns
at the board the part which each is to take, thus: After the story of
"The Old Woman and the Pig" is learned, the teacher writes in a column
each child's name opposite the animal or thing which he is to represent,
in this way.

  _Agnes_--the old woman.
  _Glenn_--the pig.
  _Sadie_--the dog, etc.

(c) _In Connection with the Nature Study._ In the spring the children
are looking for the return of the birds, the first spring blossoms, and
the opening of the tree buds. The teacher often makes her own
discoveries known through writing, upon the board, _e.g._, "I saw a
robin this morning," or "I found a blue violet yesterday," or "I saw
some elm blossoms last night."

The class, by the aid of the teacher, make a bird, a flower, and a
tree-bud calendar, on which are recorded the name and date of the first
seen of each. These names are put on the calendars in the presence of
the children, and they frequently "name their treasures o'er."

The mode of travelling is written beside the name of each familiar bird
as the children make the discoveries, thus:--

        { hops.           { walks.
  Robin { runs.      Crow {
        { flies.          { flies.

Questions arise during the recitation which the children will answer
later from observation. That the children may not forget them they are
placed high up on the board where they can be preserved. Frequent
reference is made to them to see if the pupils are prepared to answer
them. When a question is answered it is erased, making room for another.


For the early reading, Games, Literature, and Nature Study may form the

       *       *       *       *       *

(I) _Games as a Basis for the Reading._ The child enters school from a
life of play. It is our purpose, so far as possible, to make use of this
natural bent of the child to insure interest in his reading, as well as
to give him the free exercise, which he needs, of his muscles. It may be
urged as an argument against the use of the games, that they are too
noisy and attract the attention of the children who are busy at their
seats. Often it would be a good thing for these children to watch the
younger ones at their games. It would rest them and put them into closer
sympathy with the little ones. In a short time they will not care so
much to watch them. The little children should be thoughtful of the
older ones and move about as quietly as is possible.

The following are some of the games which we have used in our primary
school. They are given in the way of suggestion only. They are played at
first by following spoken directions. When the children are perfectly
familiar with the oral direction, the written direction is gradually
substituted. The children do not stay long enough on one game to become
tired of it. Two or three or even more are played at a single
recitation. It is not the plan to drill the pupils upon the written
directions, but by frequent repetitions to familiarize them with them.
The games are most suitable for the very earliest reading lessons. The
plan for teaching one of them, the first one given here, will be written
out quite fully. The others will be given with less detail.


_Material._--Six celluloid rings, red, white, blue, yellow, green, and
black. Surcingle rings can be painted the colors desired.

  _Directions._--Take the red ring, Jennie.
                 Take the blue ring, Eva.
                 Take the yellow ring, Wallace.
                 Take the green ring, Chauncey.
                 Take the black ring, Gregory.
                 Take the white ring, Lloyd.

When the children are ready to hide the rings this direction is given to
the remainder of the class:--

  Close your eyes.

This to the pupils who hold the rings:--

  Hide the rings.

When the children have all the rings hid they announce it by lightly
clapping their hands, upon which the children open their eyes.
Directions are then given to those who did not hide rings, for finding
the rings, _e.g._:--

  Find the red ring.
  Find the blue ring, etc.

No notice is taken of any ring but the one called for. A limited time is
given for the finding of each. At the close of that time, if the ring is
not discovered, the one who hid it gets it. When the written directions
are first used the whole sentence need not be put upon the board,
_e.g._, the teacher need write only--_the red ring_. She says to the
child, "find _this_"--pointing to the board; or _red_, alone, may be
written, in which case the teacher points to the word, saying, "You may
find _this ring_." There is considerable rivalry to see who will find
the most rings.

When the children seem to know the written directions perfectly, a test
is made of their ability, actually, to read them; thus, instead of
writing, "_Take_ the red ring," the teacher writes, "_Find_ the red
ring." She writes "Hide the rings," before she writes, "Close your
eyes." If the children recognize what is written they will set the
teacher right.


_Material._--Small, soft rubber balls with short rubber cords attached.
The cords have a loop for the finger.

  Ball in right hand.
  Toss up.
  Toss down.
  Toss to the right.
  Toss to the left.
  Ball in left hand.
  Toss up, etc.

In this and succeeding games it is left to the discretion of the teacher
as to when the written directions shall be introduced.


_Material._--A soft rubber ball.

  Form a circle.
  Take the ball, Roy.
  Toss the ball.
  Roll the ball.
  Bounce the ball.
  Throw the ball.
  Give the ball to Sadie.

In this game one of the children takes the ball to the circle. Each, as
the ball is tossed to him, tosses it to another. At the direction of the
teacher the game of _tossing the ball_ is changed to one of _rolling_
_the ball_, the pupils squatting on the floor; this in turn is changed
later as the directions indicate. Care must be taken that all children
are treated alike in this game. The children themselves will look out
for this if properly directed at the outset of the game.


_Material._--Violets scattered about the room.

  Find a blue violet, Glenn.
  Find a violet bud, Edith.
  Find a yellow violet, Lloyd.
  Find a violet leaf, Sadie.
  Find a white violet, Jennie.
  Find a purple violet, Rudolph.
  Sing to the violets.

Children sing softly:--

  "Oh, violets, pretty violets,
    I pray you tell to me
  Why are you the first flowers
    That bloom upon the lea?" etc.


_Material._--Leaves of the different trees with which the children are

  Glenn may be a maple tree.
      Choose your leaf.
  Wallace may be an elm tree.
      Choose your leaf.
  Chauncey may be a birch tree.
      Choose your leaf, etc.
      Make a little forest.
      Toss in the wind.

(The leaves are pinned upon the children as each chooses his leaf, and
they dance lightly about as if tossed by the wind.)


_Material._--Wooden or paper animals. A portion of the table is marked
off by a chalk line for the farmyard.

  Drive in a pig, Willie.
  Lead in a horse, Gregory.
  Drive in a sheep, Sadie.
  Lead in a cow, Roy, etc.

They are driven in at night, then driven out in the morning. Sometimes
they are hurried in because of the approach of a storm.


_Material._--Penny dolls or larger ones.

  Take a doll.
  Rock the baby.
  Pat the baby.
  Sing the baby to sleep.
  Put the baby to bed.
  Take up the baby.
  Wash its face.
  Comb its hair.
  Feed it bread and milk.
  Take it for a walk.

At the direction, "Sing the baby to sleep," the children sing very

  "Rock-a-bye Baby,"--or some other lullaby.

The bed is the chair on which the child is sitting. All stand and turn
about together to put the babies to bed. They go through the movements
only of washing the face and hands and combing the hair, and of feeding
bread and milk. They perform these acts in unison.


_Material._--Large bows of tissue paper with streamers, of the various
colors mentioned.

  Eva may be a yellow fairy.
  Roy may be a blue fairy.
  Edith may be a green fairy.
  Louise may be a red fairy.
  Lloyd may be an orange fairy.
  Sadie may be a violet fairy.
  The others may be trees.
  Join hands, fairies.
  Dance about the trees.

As the first direction is given Eva steps to the table and takes a
yellow bow which is pinned to her left shoulder: the others follow as
called upon.


_Material._--A leaf of one of several colors pinned on each child. The
wind calls:--

  Come yellow leaf.
  Come red leaf.
  Come green leaves, etc.
  Dance in the wind.

At the last direction the children fly over a small area, hither and
thither; some one way, some another, passing and repassing one another,
simulating the leaves in a storm.


All the children are little birds.

  Fly to the fields.
  Pick up seeds.
  Take a drink.
  Bathe in the creek.
  Preen your feathers.
  Fly home.
  Perch on a twig.


They sing:--

  "We are little birdies,
    Happy we, happy we.
  We are little birdies
    Singing in a tree."


_Material._--Colored pictures of birds common to the locality in which
the game is used.

  Find a robin, Rudolph.
  Find a bluebird, Gregory, etc.

The child indicated finds the picture of the bird called for and places
it on the blackboard ledge which serves as a picture gallery.


is a game similar to the above.


  Frederick may be a pony.
  Louise may be a kitty, etc.

(Of the other children--one may be a boy; another, a bird; another, a
horse; another, a fish; another, a girl, etc.)

  Trot, pony.
  Run, dog.
  Skip, boy, etc.

They perform singly, and also in a body.


_Material._--Trays or box-covers of sand, and a toy set of garden tools
for each pupil.

  Take the spade.
  Spade the earth.
  Take the hoe.
  Hoe the ground.
  Take the rake.
  Smooth the ground.
  Make holes (or rows).
  Plant corn (or sow the seed).
  Cover the seed.
  Water the garden.


For this game the children are all seated in chairs except one for whom
no chair is provided. Each child seated takes the name of some animal on
the farm, _e.g._, a dog, cat, horse, chicken, duck, or cow. The one
standing is the farm-hand and says, _e.g._, "My master wants his dog."
The dog must jump up and turn around. If he fails to do so, he steps to
one side taking his chair with him. If when he is again called upon he
answers correctly, he resumes his seat in the circle. Occasionally the
farm-hand says, "My master wants all of his pets." When all rise and
change seats quietly. The farm-hand tries to get a seat, leaving another
child to be the farm-hand. In changing seats they change names as a
single name belongs to each chair.

       *       *       *       *       *

(II) _Literature as a Basis for the Reading._ The stories in the form
indicated below are given after the children have become thoroughly
familiar with them through oral presentation, after, too, the children
have gained some facility in reading, through the use of the games, and
the directions, etc., used in the general management of the school.
Before the board work is presented the children dramatize the story
which they are to read. They look to the board to find out what to say
that they may impersonate the character in the story. Each mimics in
tone and action the one whose part he takes. As no two mimic in the same
way there is no lack of variety and interest. If the children are
thoughtful they will know every time into whose mouth to put each
sentence. They need to be alert, however. The names of the speakers,
given in the margin, are for the benefit of the readers of this article.
They are not put on the board. The children do not need them.



  _The old woman._ I was sweeping my house.
  I found this dime.
  What shall I buy?
  I know; I will buy a pig.
  Where is my sunbonnet?
  Where is my cane?
  Here I go.
  Tramp! tramp! tramp!


  _Old woman._ Tap, tap, tap!

  _The farmer._ Come in.
  Good morning, old woman.

  _Old woman._ Good morning, sir.
  I want to buy a pig.

  _Farmer._ All right; I have some.
  Will you look at them?
  Here they are.

  _Old woman._ I like this one.
  I will take it.
  Good morning.

  _Farmer._ Good morning.


  _Old woman._ Go on, pig.
  That fence is low,
  You can jump over.

  _Pig._ Grunt! grunt!

  _Old woman._ What shall I do?
  I must have help.
  I will go back.


  _Old woman._ Dog, dog, bite pig.

  _Dog._ No, no. (_Shaking his head._)


  _Old woman._ Stick, stick, whip dog.

  _Stick._ No, no. (_Shaking head as before._)

VI-XII. _Similar to two above._


  _Old woman._ Cat, cat, kill rat.

  _Cat._ I will if you will give me some milk.

  _Old woman._ I will go to the cow.


  _Old woman._ Cow, cow, give me some milk.

  _Cow._ I will if you will give me some hay.

  _Old woman._ All right.
  Tramp! tramp! tramp!
  Here is the hay, cow.

  _Cow._ Chew, chew, chew, chew.
  Now you may have some milk.

  _Old woman._ Thank you, cow.


  _Old woman._ Come, kitty, kitty, kitty.
  Here is some milk for you.

  _Cat._ Lap, lap, lap, lap.

  _Old woman._ Now catch the rat.

  _Cat._ Patter, patter, patter. (_Given softly--it is the cat running
        after the rat._)



  _The papa bear._ That soup is hot.
  It must cool.
  We will take a walk.


  _Silver-Hair._ Tap! tap! tap!
  No one at home.
  I will go in.
  What is that on the table?
  It is three bowls of soup.
  I am hungry.
  (_Tasting of the soup in the big bowl._)
  That is too hot.
  (_Tasting of soup in middle-sized bowl._)
  That is too cold.
  (_Tasting of soup in little bowl._)
  That is just right.
  It is good.
  I will eat a little.


  I am tired.
  Here are three chairs.
  That is too high.
  That is too wide.
  This is just right.
  I will rest here.
  Oh, it broke!


  I am sleepy.
  I will go upstairs.
  Here are three beds.
  That is too hard.
  That is too soft.
  This is just right.
  I will sleep here.



  _Mamma bear._ _Somebody has been tasting my soup._

  _Baby bear._ Somebody has been tasting my soup.
  It is all gone.



  _Mamma bear._ _Somebody has been sitting in my chair._

  _Baby bear._ Somebody has been sitting in my chair.
  It is all broken.



  _Mamma bear._ _Somebody has been lying on my bed._

  _Baby bear._ Somebody has been lying on my bed.
  Why, here she is!

  _Silver-Hair._ Oh, my!
  I will jump.
  Now I will run.



  I am a little fir tree.
  I want to be tall.
  I hate rabbits.
  They jump over me.


  I am three years old.
  The rabbit cannot jump over me now.
  It runs around me.
  I wish I were taller.
  I hate to be so little.


  Now I am six years old.
  Here come the woodchoppers.
  They will take me away.
  Here I go.
  Thump! thump! thump!


  What a fine house.
  How beautiful this moss is.
  What are these people going to give me?
  I am so happy!


  Here are the children.
  How they like me!
  See them dance about me.
  _Everybody looks at me._
  Do not take away my beautiful dress.
  Do not put out the lights.


  Here come the servants.
  They will give me my beautiful dress.
  Oh, oh, oh!
  Don't put me up there.
  It is dark.
  I want to be planted.


  I wish I were at home.
  I want to see the rabbit.
  It may jump over me.
  I will not care.
  I want to see the other trees.
  The rats come. I do not like rats.


  Out again!
  I like the air.
  Now I shall be planted.
  I am glad to see the flowers.
  I am glad to hear the birds.
  Now I shall live.


  That boy called me ugly.
  He took my beautiful star.
  I wish I were in the woods.
  I shall never be happy again.
  Pop! pop! pop! pop!



  _The donkey._ I am very old.
  I am very weak.
  I can work no more.
  My master will not keep me.
  I will run away.
  I will go to the city.
  I can make music.
  I will join a band.
  Trot! trot! trot!


  What is that in the road?
  It is an old dog.
  What is the matter?

  _Dog._ I am very old.
  I am very weak.
  I cannot hunt.
  My master will not keep me.
  How can I live?

  _Donkey._ Come with me.
  You can play the bass drum.
  Join a band.

  _Dog._ Good! good! good!
  I will go.

  _Dog and donkey._ Trot! trot! trot!


  _Donkey._ What is that in the road?
  It is an old cat.
  What is the matter, old whiskers?

  _Cat._ I am very old.
  I am very weak.
  I cannot catch mice.
  My mistress will not keep me.
  How can I live?

  _Donkey._ Come with us.
  You can sing.
  Join a band.

  _Cat._ Good! good! good!
  I will go.

  _All three._ Trot! trot! trot!


  _Donkey._ What is that on the gate?
  It is a rooster.
  What is the matter?

  _Rooster._ The cook will kill me.

  _Donkey._ Come with us.
  You can sing.
  Join a band.

  _Rooster._ Good! good! good!
  I will go.

  _All four._ Trot! trot! trot!



  I am a little pine tree.
  I do not like to be a pine tree.
  My leaves are needles.
  Needles are not pretty.
  I wish I had gold leaves.


  _In the morning._ Why do the trees look at me?
  What has happened?
  Gold leaves! Gold leaves!
  Just what I wanted!
  Good! good! good!


  _To the robber._ Do not take my leaves.
  I want them.
  They are beautiful.
  Give them back.
  No leaves! No leaves!
  I wish I had glass leaves.


  _In the morning._ Oh, how beautiful!
  Glass leaves! Glass leaves!
  No robber will take them.
  I can keep them.
  I am so happy!


  Cloud, do not come.
  Wind, do not blow.
  Keep still, keep still.
  A leaf is broken.
  Another! Another!
  All gone! All gone!
  No beautiful leaves.
  I wish I had bright green leaves.


  _In the morning._ Oh, my pretty green leaves!
  No one will steal them.
  Nothing will break them.
  I shall not need to keep still.
  I will dance.
  Dance! dance! dance!


  Goat, do not come here.
  These are my leaves.
  I want them.
  They are pretty.
  Oh, oh, oh!
  All my pretty leaves are gone.
  What shall I do?
  I wish I had my needles.


  Oh, mother, mother, see!
  I have my old leaves.
  I like them.
  They are best of all.
  No one will steal them.
  Nothing will break them.
  Nothing will eat them.
  I can keep them.
  My dear old leaves!

       *       *       *       *       *

(III) _Nature Study as a Basis for the Reading._ The subjects in which
the pupils are most interested are made the basis for the reading

Sometimes there is a guessing game like the following: The teacher,
holding a flower in her closed hand, writes:--

  Guess what I have.
  It is a flower.
  It is white.
  _It has a yellow centre._

(The children answer--a daisy.) Or--

  Guess what I have.
  It is a leaf.
  It is yellow.
  It is long.
  It is narrow.

(The children answer--the willow.)

After the pupils have made a careful study of a few birds or flowers,
the reading lesson describes one of these, and the pupils are expected
to name it from the description. If a child gives the wrong name, one of
those who know better points out the line or lines barring out this
object, and reads to the one making the mistake as proof of his error.

  I live in the woods.
  I am not a bird.
  I am not a flower.
  I am not a tree.
  I run up trees.
  I eat nuts.
  I have a bushy tail.
  What is my name? (_Squirrel._)
  I am a little bird.
  My back is brown.
  My breast is white.
  My bill is curved.
  I go up a tree trunk.
  I fly to another tree.
  I like insects.
  What is my name? (_The brown creeper._)
  This is a big bird.
  It is blue.
  It has black bands on its tail and wings.
  It has a crest.
  Its bill is black.
  It scolds.
  What is its name? (_The blue jay._)

The children sometimes play a game like the following: All but one
personify red-headed woodpeckers. The _one_ questions from the board.
If a red-headed woodpecker fails to answer the question put to him, he
takes the place of the interlocutor. It is an honor to be able to answer
all the questions put:--

  What color is your head?
  What color is your throat?
  What color is your breast?
  What colors on your wings?
  What color is your bill?
  What do you do?
  Where do you make your nest?

To a set of questions like the following, the children give the answers,
after reading the questions silently:--

  What bird did you first see this spring?
  What have you seen a robin do?
  What flower did you see first?
  What yellow flowers have you seen this spring?
  What white flowers?
  What blue flowers?
  What bird builds a nest in a tree trunk?
  What bird builds a nest on the ground?


I saw two robins on the ground.

One was a mamma robin.

The other was a baby robin.

The baby robin was as big as its mother.

Its breast was spotted.

Its mother gave it an earthworm.

At first it dropped it, but its mother picked it up and gave it to her
baby again.

This time it got a better hold. By several gulps it swallowed the worm.

The mother looked proud of her baby. (This is the teacher's experience
which she tells the children from the board. Sometimes she writes the
observations which one of the children have made.)

As no two teachers will have the same material for Nature Study, the
reading material will not be multiplied here.

Gradually, as the pupils can stand it, the sentences are lengthened a
little as necessary, and massed into paragraphs.

The use of the "Mother Goose Rhymes" as a means of enlivening the first
year reading lessons is also treated as follows by Mrs. Lida McMurry.
(Taken from _School and Home Education_ for October, 1902.)

Many of the children on entering school are well versed in Nursery
Rhymes. They enjoy repeating them. Other children may not know them so
well, but soon learn them from their classmates. Teachers and pupils may
have a happy time together with Mother Goose, and at the same time the
pupils are learning to read without realizing that what they are doing
is something that they are not accustomed to.

I will suggest a few ways in which these rhymes may be made the basis
for reading lessons:--

Take this rhyme--

 1. Dance, Thumbkin, dance,
    Dance, ye merrymen, every one;
    For Thumbkin he can dance alone,
    Thumbkin he can dance alone.

The second, third, fourth, and fifth stanzas are like the first, only
Foreman, Longman, Ringman, and Littleman are in turn substituted for

The children first learn to act out each stanza as they recite it
together. The thumb is held up and moved about as if dancing, as the
first line is given. All the fingers dance as the second line is
recited. The thumb dances alone as the third and fourth lines are

The teacher then repeats the stanza alone, and the children's fingers
accompany her.

Later, when the children have learned to act out the story well, as the
teacher repeats it, the teacher writes the first line at the board, and,
pointing to it, asks the children to do what the board directs. They
cannot tell what it is, so the teacher says, "The board is talking to
_Thumbkin_," writing the name on the board as she says it. "What do you
think it wants Thumbkin to do?" pointing to _Dance_ in the line on the
board. The next line is written on the board. The children quite likely
will guess rightly what it says, because of its setting. If not, the
teacher will help them as at first. In the same way they connect the
third and fourth lines with the oral expression of the same, and act
them out accordingly. That the children respond readily to the
directions as written is no proof, at first, that they know even most of
the words in the lines. The teacher's test is a part of the play.
To-day, instead of writing the first line, she writes the second. Many
get caught. They will be more alert another time. As they can never tell
which line will appear first, they learn to discriminate by giving
closer attention to the form of the words.

Sometimes the teacher writes the six names--Thumbkin, Foreman, etc., and
Merrymen, on the board. She points to the name or names of the one, or
ones, that should dance. The children do not like to make mistakes in
responding with the fingers.

Sometimes the teacher points to a name on the board, as Foreman, and
writes "dance alone," or "dance every one." The alert children see that
the latter does not apply.

The words are not drilled upon. The game, with variations sometimes, is
played quite frequently, but never so long at a time that the children
weary of it. Three or four plays or games are given at a single
recitation. The interests of the children are studied, and rhymes which
they do not enjoy as reading material are dropped, and others
substituted. The rhymes should often be repeated, just as they occur in
"Mother Goose," that the children may not forget them.

 2. Eye winker.
    Tom tinker.
    Mouth eater.
    Chin chopper.
    Chin chopper.

The children point to the parts of the face as they are named. They
first learn to give the rhyme with its accompanying motion orally, then
they respond to it as written on the board (Tom tinker is the other
eye). When they do this readily the directions are written out of their
order. This tests the children's ability to distinguish one form from
another. No child likes to give the wrong motion in response to a
direction, _e.g._, point to his mouth when Eye winker is called for.

 3. The children, we will suppose, know a number of rhymes, as, _e.g._,

    A diller, a dollar, a ten o'clock scholar.
    A little boy went into a barn.
    Baa, baa, black sheep.
    Rain, rain, go away, etc.

The teacher writes the first line of one of these rhymes on the board
and asks a child to give the rhyme. He cannot at first. Later he will
learn to recognize it; so with all the rhymes he knows. When he can give
any rhyme called for in response to the first line as written at the
board, another line (not the first) is written, and the child asked to
give the rhyme of which it is a part.

 4. Is John Smith within?
    Yes, that he is.
    Can he set a shoe?
    Ay, marry, two.
    Here a nail and there a nail,
    Tick, tack, too.

After the children have learned the above rhyme, acting it out, by
imitating the voices of the two speakers, and by driving the nails, the
two questions are asked at the board, and the children respond orally.
Sometimes the second question, slightly altered, is asked first, _e.g._,
"Can John Smith set a shoe?" Sometimes "Who is within?" appears on the

 5. Old Mother Hubbard.

There are many stanzas to this poem, a few of which the teacher will
wish to omit, as those referring to the visits to the ale-house and the
tavern. The pupils become perfectly familiar with the jingle, so they
can with ease give it orally, then the teacher writes the first line of
a stanza at the board and pointing to it asks a pupil to give the
remainder of the stanza. The mistake is ludicrous if the wrong lines
follow the first, and the pupils wish to avoid such a mistake.

 6. There were two birds sat on a stone,
      Fa, la, la, la, lal, de.
    One flew away and then there was one,
      Fa, la, la, la, lal, de.
    The other flew after and then there was none,
      Fa, la, la, la, lal, de.
    And so the poor stone was left all alone,
      Fa, la, la, la, lal, de.

The children act out this rhyme at first as they say it, later,
silently, as they see what is called for at the board.

Any number may be substituted for _two_ in the first line, but when they
come to the third line the number substituted for one should be such
that only one will remain, _e.g._, There were _eight_ birds sat on a
stone, _Seven_ flew away, etc. The children are sometimes caught by the
wrong number being told to fly. The children should not fly until they
are sure that it is all right.

 7. What are your eyes for?
    What are your ears for?
    What is your nose for?
    What is your tongue for?
    What is your mouth for?
    What is your hand for?
    What are your fingers for?
    What are your teeth for?
    What is your brain for?
    What is your heart for?

These questions are read silently by the children, then answered orally
in complete sentences, one child only answering at one time. The answers
are so absurd when wrong that each child is careful to know what is

These are only a few of the ways in which "Mother Goose" may be used as
reading material. Each teacher will think out for herself ways in which
these rhymes may be profitably and happily employed.

                                                  MRS. LIDA MCMURRY.



The problem of primary reading is one of the most complex and difficult
in the whole range of school instruction. A large proportion of the
finest skill and sympathy of teachers has been expended in efforts to
find the appropriate and natural method of teaching children to read.
All sorts of methods and devices have been employed, from the most
formal and mechanical to the most spirited and realistic.

The first requisite to good reading is something worth reading,
something valuable and interesting to the children, and adapted to their
minds. We must take it for granted in this discussion that the best
literature and the best stories have been selected, and what the teacher
has to do is, first, to appreciate these masterpieces for herself, and
second, to bring the children in the reading lessons to appreciate and
enjoy them. In the primary grades we are not so richly supplied with
available materials from good literature as in intermediate and grammar
grades. This is due not to difficulty in thought, but to the unfamiliar
written and printed forms. The great problem in primary reading is to
master these strange forms as quickly as possible, and find entrance to
the story-land of books. For several years, however, primary teachers
have been selecting and adapting the best stories, and some of the
leading publishers have brought out in choice school-book form books
which are well adapted to the reading of primary grades.

We should like to assume one other advantage. If the children have been
treated orally to "Robinson Crusoe" in the second grade, they will
appreciate and read the story much better in the third grade. If some of
Grimm's stories are told in first grade, they can be read with ease in
the second grade. The teacher's oral presentation of the stories is the
right way to bring them close to the life and interest of children. In
the first grade, as shown in the chapter on oral lessons, it is the only
way, because the children cannot yet read. But even if they could read,
the oral treatment is much better. The oral presentation is more lively,
natural, and realistic. The teacher can adapt the story and the language
to the immediate needs of the class as no author can. She can question,
or suggest lines of thought, or call up ideas from the children's
experience. The oral manner is the true way to let the children delve
into the rich culture-content of stories and to awaken a taste for their
beauty and truth. We could well wish that before children read mythical
stories in fourth grade, they had been stirred up to enjoy them by oral
narration and discussion in the preceding year. In the same way, if the
reading bears on interesting science topics previously studied, it will
be a distinct advantage to the reading lesson. Children like to read
about things that have previously excited their interest, whether in
story or science. The difficulties of formal reading will also be partly
overcome by familiarity with the harder names and words. Our conclusion
is that reading lessons, alone, cannot provide all the conditions
favorable to good reading. Some of these can be well supplied by other
studies or by preliminary lessons which pave the way for the reading
proper. This matter has been so fully discussed in the earlier chapters
on oral work that it requires no further treatment here.


Let it be supposed that a class of first-grade children has learned to
tell a certain story orally. It has interested them and stirred up their

Let them next learn to read the same story in a very simple form. This
will lead to a series of elementary reading lessons in connection with
the story, and the aim should be strictly that of mastering the early
difficulties of reading. The teacher recalls the story, and asks for a
statement from its beginning. If the sentence furnished by the child is
simple and suitable, the teacher writes it on the blackboard in plain
large script. Each child reads it through and points out the words. Let
there be a lively drill upon the sentence till the picture of each word
becomes clear and distinct. During the first lesson, two or three short
sentences can be handled with success. As new words are learned, they
should be mixed up on the board with those learned before, and a quick
and varied drill on the words in sentences or in columns be employed
to establish the forms in memory.[8] Speed, variety in device, and
watchfulness to keep all busy and attentive are necessary to secure good

    [8] First-class primary teachers claim that drills are
    unnecessary if the teacher is skilful in recombining the
    old words in new sentences.

After a few lessons one or two of the simpler words may be taken for
phonetic analysis. The simple sounds are associated with the letters
that represent them. These familiar letters are later met and identified
in new words, and, as soon as a number of sounds with their symbols have
been learned, new words can be constructed and pronounced from these
known elements.

The self-activity of the children in recognizing the elementary sounds,
already met, in new words as fast as they come up, is one of the chief
merits of this early study of words. They thus early learn the power of
self-help and of confident reliance upon themselves in acquiring and
using knowledge. The chief difficulty is in telling which sound to use,
as a letter often has several sounds (as _a_, _e_, _s_, _c_, etc.). But
the children are capable of testing the known sounds of a letter upon a
new word, and in most cases, of deciding which to use. The thoughtless
habit of pronouncing every new word for a child, without effort on his
part, checks and spoils his interest and self-activity. It does not seem
necessary to use an extensive system of diacritical markings to guide
him in these efforts to discriminate sounds. It is better to use the
marks as little as possible and learn to interpret words as they usually
appear in print. Experience has shown decisively that a lively and
vigorous self-activity is manifested by such early efforts in learning
to read. It is one of the most encouraging signs in education to see
little children in their first efforts to master the formal art of
reading, showing this spirited self-reliant energy.

In the same way, they recognize old words in sentences and new or
changed combinations of old forms, and begin to read new sentences which
combine old words in new relations.

In short, the sentence, word, and phonic methods are all used in fitting
alternation, while originality and variety of device are necessary in
the best exercise of teaching power.

The processes of learning to read by such board-script work are partly
analytic and partly synthetic. Children begin with sentences, analyze
them into words, and some of the words into their simple sounds. But
when these sounds begin to grow familiar, they are identified again in
other words, thus combining them into new forms. In the same way, words
once learned by the analytic study of sentences are recognized again in
new sentences, and thus interpreted in new relations.

The short sentences, derived from a familiar story, when ranged together
supply a brief, simple outline of the story. If now this series of
sentences be written on the board or printed on slips of paper, the
whole story may be reviewed by the class from day to day till the word
and sentence forms are well mastered. For making these printed slips,
some teachers use a small printing-press, or a typewriter. Eventually
several stories may be collected and sewed together, so as to form a
little reading-book which is the result of the constructive work of
teacher and pupils.

The reading lessons just described are entirely separate from the oral
treatment and reproduction of the stories; yet the thought and interest
awakened in the oral work are helpful in keeping up a lively effort in
the reading class. The thought material in a good story is itself a
mental stimulus, and produces a wakefulness which is favorable to
imprinting the forms as well as the content of thought. Expression,
also, that is, natural and vivid rendering of the thought, is always
aimed at in reading, and springs spontaneously from interesting thought

Many teachers use the materials furnished by oral lessons in natural
science as a similar introduction to reading in first grade. The science
lessons furnish good thought matter for simple sentences, and there is
good reason why, in learning to read, children should use sentences
drawn both from literature and from natural science.


The oral lessons in good stories, and the later board-use of these
materials in learning the elements of formal reading, are an excellent
preparation for the fuller and more extended reading of similar matter
in the second and third grades.

When the oral work of the first grade has thus kindled the fancy of a
child upon these charming pictures, and the later board-work has
acquainted him with letter and word symbols which express such thought,
the reading of the same and other stories of like character (a year
later) will follow as an easy and natural sequence. As a preliminary to
all good reading exercises, there should be rich and fruitful thought
adapted to the age of children. The realm of classic folk-lore contains
abundant thought material peculiar in its fitness to awaken the interest
and fancy of children in the first two grades. To bring these choice
stories close to the hearts of children should be the aim of much of the
work in both these grades. Such an aim, skilfully carried out, not only
conduces to the joy of children in first grade, but infuses the reading
lessons of second grade with thought and culture of the best quality.

Interest and vigor of thought are certain to help right expression and
reading. Reading, like every other study, should be based upon
realities. When there is real thought and feeling in the children, a
correct expression of them is more easily secured than by formal demands
or by intimidation.

The stories to be read in second or third grade may be fuller and longer
than the brief outline sentences used for board-work in the first grade.
Besides, these tales, being classic and of permanent value, do not lose
their charm by repetition.


By oral reading, we mean the giving of the thought obtained from a
printed page to others through the medium of the voice.

There is first the training of the eye in taking in a number of words at
a glance--a mechanical process; then the interpretation of these groups
of words--a mental process; next the making known of the ideas thus
obtained to others, by means of the voice--also a mechanical process.

The children need special help in each step. We are apt to overdo one at
the expense of the others.

1. Eye-training is the foundation of all good reading. Various devices
are resorted to in obtaining it. We will suggest a few, not new at all,
but useful.

    (_a_) A strip of cardboard, on which is a clause or sentence, is
    held before the class, for a moment only, and then removed. The
    length of the task is increased as the eye becomes trained to
    this kind of work.

    (_b_) The children open their books at a signal from the
    teacher, glance through a line, or part of one, indicated by the
    teacher, close book at once and give the line.

    (_c_) The teacher places on the board clauses or sentences
    bearing on the lesson, and covers with a map. The map is rolled
    up to show one of these, which is almost immediately erased. The
    children are then asked to give it. The map is then rolled up
    higher, exposing another, which also is speedily erased--and so
    on until all have been given to the children and erased.

2. The child needs not only to be able to recognize groups of words, but
he must be able to get thought from them. The following are some devices
to that end:--

    (_a_) Suggestive pictures can be made use of to advantage all
    through the primary grades. If the child reads part of the story
    in the picture, and finds it interesting, he will want to read
    from the printed page the part not given in the picture.

    (_b_) Where there is no picture--or even where there is one--an
    aim may be useful to arouse interest in the thought, _i.e._ a
    thoughtful question may be put by the teacher, which the
    children can answer only by reading the story; _e.g._ in the
    supplementary reader, "Easy Steps for Little Feet," is found the
    story of "The Pin and Needle." There is no picture. The teacher
    says, as the class are seated: "Now we have a story about a big
    quarrel between a pin and a needle over the question, 'Which one
    is the better fellow?' Of what could the needle boast? Of what
    the pin? Let us see which won."

    (_c_) Let all the pupils look through one or more paragraphs,
    reading silently, to get the thought, before any one is called
    upon to read aloud. If a child comes to a word that he does not
    know, during the silent reading, the teacher helps him to get
    it--from the context if possible--if not, by the sounds of the
    letters which compose it.

As each child finishes the task assigned, he raises his eyes from the
book, showing by this act that he is ready to tell what he has just
read. The thought may be given by the child in his own language to
assure the teacher that he has it. Usually, however, in the lower
grades, this is unnecessary, the language of the book being nearly as
simple as his own.

The advantage of having all the pupils kept busy, instead of one alone
who might be called upon to read the paragraph, is evident. Every child
reads silently all of the lesson. Time would not permit that this be
done orally, were it advisable to do so. When the child gets up to read,
he is not likely to stumble, for he has both the thought and the
expression for it, at the start.

While aiming to have the children comprehend the thought, the teacher
should not forget, on the other hand, that this is the reading hour, and
not the time for much oral instruction and reproduction. There are other
recitations in which the child is trained to free oral expression of
thought, as in science and literature. Such offhand oral expression of
his own ideas is not the primary aim of the reading lesson. Its purpose
is to lend life to the recitation.

3. Steps 1 and 2 deal with preparation for the reading. Up to this time,
no oral reading has been done. Now we are ready to begin.

Children will generally express the thought with the proper emphasis if
they not only see its meaning but also feel it. Suppose the children are
interested in the thought of the piece, they still fail, sometimes, to
give the proper emphasis. How can the teacher, by questioning, get them
to realize the more important part of the thought?

    (_a_) The teacher has gone deeper into the meaning than have the
    children. Her questions should be such as to make real to the
    children the more emphatic part of the thought; _e.g._ in the
    Riverside Primer we have, "Poor Bun, good dog, did you think I
    meant to hit you?" John reads, "Do you think I meant to _hit_
    you?" The teacher says, "I will be Bun, John. What is it that
    you do not want Bun to think?" ("That I _meant_ to hit him.")
    "But you did mean to hit something. What was it you did not mean
    to hit? Tell Bun." ("I did not _mean_ to hit _you_.") Now ask
    him if he thought that you did. ("Did you think I _meant_ to hit

    (_b_) When the story is in the form of a dialogue, the children
    may personate the characters in the story. Thus, getting into
    the real spirit of the piece, their emphasis will naturally fall
    where it properly belongs.

    (_c_) Sometimes the teacher will find it necessary to show the
    child how to read a passage properly, by reading it himself. It
    is seldom best to do this--certainly not if the correct
    expression can be reached through questioning.

Many a teacher makes a practice of giving the proper emphasis to the
child, he copying it from her voice. Frequently, children taught in this
way can read one piece after another in their readers with excellent
expression, but, when questioned, show that their minds are a blank as
to the meaning of what they are reading.

In working for expression, a great many teachers waste the time and
energy of the pupils by indefinite directions. The emphasis is not
correctly placed, so the teacher says, "I do not like that; try it
again, May." Now, May has no idea in what particular she has failed, so
she gives it again, very likely as she gave it before, or she may put
the emphasis on some other word, hoping by so doing to please the
teacher. "Why, no, May, you surely can do better than that," says the
teacher. So May makes another fruitless attempt, when the teacher,
disgusted, calls on another pupil to show her how to read. May has
gained no clearer insight into the thought than she started out with, no
power to grapple more successfully with a similar difficulty another
time, and has lost, partly at least, her interest in the piece. She has
been bothered and discouraged, and the class wearied.

Sometimes when the expression is otherwise good, the children pitch
their voices too high or too low. Natural tones must be insisted upon. A
good aid to the children in this respect is the habitual example of
quiet, clear tones in the teacher.

Another fault of otherwise good reading is a failure to enunciate
distinctly. Children are inclined to slight many sounds, especially at
the end of the words, and the teacher is apt to think: "That doesn't
make so very much difference, since they are only children. When they
are older they will see that their pronunciation is babyish, and adopt a
correct form." This is unsound reasoning. Every time the child says
_las_ for _last_ he is establishing more firmly a habit, to overcome
which will give him much difficulty.

In the pronunciation of words as well as in the reading of a sentence,
much time is wasted through failure to point out the exact word, and the
syllable in the word, in which the mistake has been made. The child
cannot improve unless he knows in what particular there is room for

Children in primary grades should be supplied with a good variety of
primers, readers, and simple story books. In the course of their work
they should read through a number of first, second, and third readers.
Much of this reading should be simple and easy, so that they can move
rapidly through a book, and gain confidence and satisfaction from it. In
each grade there should be several sets of readers, which can be turned
to as the occasion may demand. It is much better to read a new reader,
involving in the main the same vocabulary, than to reread an old book.
This use of several books in each grade adds to the interest and reduces
to a minimum the mere drills, which are to be avoided as much as


1. Let children read under the impulse of strong and interesting

    (_a_) The previous oral treatment of the stories now used as
    reading lessons will help this thought impulse.

    (_b_) An aim concretely stated, and touching an interesting
    thought in the lesson, will give impetus to the work.

    (_c_) Let children pass judgment on the truth, worth, or beauty
    of what they read.

    (_d_) Clear mental pictures of people, actions, places, etc.,
    conduce to vigor of thought. To this end the teacher should use
    good pictures, make sketches, and give descriptions or
    explanations. Children should also be allowed to sketch freely
    at the board.

2. Children should be encouraged constantly to help themselves in
interpreting new words and sentences in reading.

    (_a_) By looking through the new sentence and making it out, if
    possible, for themselves before any one reads it aloud.

    (_b_) By analyzing a new word into its sounds, and then
    combining them to get its pronunciation.

    (_c_) By interpreting a new word from its context, or by the
    first sound or syllable.

    (_d_) By using the new powers of the letters as fast as they are
    learned in interpreting new words.

    (_e_) By trying the different sounds of a letter to a new word
    to see which seems to fit best.

    (_f_) By recognizing familiar words in new sentences with a
    different context.

    (_g_) See that every child reads the sentences in the new lesson
    for himself.

3. There should be a gradual introduction to the elementary sounds
(powers of the letters).

The first words analyzed should be simple and phonetic in spelling, as
_dog_, _hen_, _cat_, etc.

New sounds of letters are taught as the children need them in studying
out new words.

Very little attention needs to be given to learning the names of the

There need be little use of diacritical markings in early reading.

4. Many of the new words will occur in connection with the picture at
the head of the lesson. Place these on the board as they come up.

If the teacher will weave these words into her conversation, they will
give the children little future trouble.

5. All the different phases of the phonic, word, and sentence method
should be woven together by a skilful teacher.

6. The close attention of all the members of the class, so that each
reads through the whole lesson, should be an ever-present aim of the

7. Children should be trained to grasp several words at a glance:--

    (_a_) By quick writing and erasure of words and sentences at the

    (_b_) By exposing for an instant sentences covered by a screen.

    (_c_) By the use of phrases or short sentences on cardboard.

    (_d_) By questions for group thought.

These tests should increase in difficulty with growing skill.

8. Spend but little time in the oral reproduction of stories. Practice
in good reading and interpretation is the main thing.

9. Children, from the first, should be encouraged to articulate
distinctly in oral reading. Let the teacher begin at home.

10. Let the teacher cultivate a pleasing tone of voice, not loud or
harsh. This will help the children to the same.

11. Vigorous and forcible expression is secured:--

    (_a_) By having interesting stories.

    (_b_) By apt questions to bring out the emphatic thought.

    (_c_) By dramatizing the scenes of the story.

    (_d_) By occasional examples of lively reading by the teacher.

    (_e_) By definiteness in questioning.



In selecting reading books for primary grades the purpose is to find
those which will give the readiest mastery of the printed forms of

For this purpose books need to be well graded and interesting. Primary
teachers have expended their utmost skill upon such simple, attractive,
and interesting books for children. Pictorial illustration has added to
the clearness and beauty of the books, so that, with the rivalry of many
large publishing houses, we now have a great variety of good primary
books to select from.

The earliest and simplest of these are the primers, which, followed by
the first readers, give the most necessary drills upon the forms of easy
words and sentences. Great care has been taken to give an easy regular
grading so as to let a child help himself as much as possible. But as
soon as children, by blackboard exercises and by means of primers, have
gained a mastery of the simpler words and the powers of the letters, the
Mother Goose rhymes, the fables and fairy tales (already familiar to the
children in oral work) are introduced into their reading books in the
simplest possible forms.

The use of interesting rhymes and stories in this early reading is the
only means of giving it a lively content and of thus securing interest
and concentration of thought. Good primary teachers have been able in
this way to relieve the reading lessons of their tedium, and, what is
equally good, have strengthened the interest of the children in the best
literature of childhood.

Besides the choicest fables and fairy tales, many of the simpler nature
myths and even such longer poems and stories as "Hiawatha," "Robinson
Crusoe," and "Ulysses" have been used with happy results as reading
books in the first three years. There are also certain collections of
children's poems, such as Stevenson's "Child's Garden of Verses,"
Field's "Love-songs of Childhood," Sherman's "Little Folk Lyrics," "Old
Ballads in Prose," "The Listening Child," and others, which may suggest
the beauty and variety of choice literary materials which are now easily
within the reach of teachers and children in primary schools.

There is no longer any doubt that little folk in primary classes may
reap the full benefit of a close acquaintance with these favorite songs,
stories, and poems, and that in the highest educative sense the effect
is admirable.

In the following list the books for each grade are arranged into three

_First._ A series of choicest books and those extensively used and well
adapted for the grade as regular reading exercises.

_Second._ A supplementary list of similar quality and excellence, but
somewhat more difficult.

They may, in some cases, serve as substitutes for those given in the
first group.

_Third._ A collection of books for teachers, partly similar in character
to those mentioned in the two previous groups and partly of a much
wider, professional range in literature, history, and nature. Some books
of child-study, psychology, and pedagogy are also included. The problems
of the primary teacher are no longer limited to the small drills and
exercises in spelling and reading, but comprehend many of the most
interesting and far-reaching questions of education. It is well,
therefore, for the primary teacher to become acquainted not only with
the great works of literature but with the best professional books in



  Cyr's Primer. Ginn & Co.
  Cyr's First Reader. Ginn & Co.
  Riverside Primer and First Reader. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Nature Stories for Young Readers (Plants), D. C. Heath & Co.
  Hiawatha Primer. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Stepping Stones to Literature, Book I. Silver, Burdett, & Co.
  Child Life Primer. The Macmillan Co.
  Taylor's First Reader. Werner School Book Co.
  Arnold's Primer. Silver, Burdett, & Co.
  The Thought Reader. Ginn & Co.
  Sunbonnet Babies. Rand, McNally, & Co.
  Nature's By-ways. The Morse Co.
  Graded Classics, No. I. B. F. Johnson Pub. Co.
  Graded Literature, No. I. Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  First Reader (Hodskins). Ginn & Co.
  Baldwin's Primer (Kirk). American Book Co.


  Six Nursery Classics (O'Shea). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Verse and Prose for Beginners in Reading. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Stories for Children. American Book Co.
  Rhymes and Fables. University Publishing Co.
  The Finch First Reader. Ginn & Co.
  Baldwin's First Reader. American Book Co.
  Heart of Oak, No. 1. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Choice Literature, Book I (Williams). Butler, Sheldon, & Co.
  Child Life, First Book. The Macmillan Co.
  Fables and Rhymes for Beginners. Ginn & Co.


  A Book of Nursery Rhymes (Mother Goose). D. C. Heath & Co.
  The Adventures of a Brownie. Harper & Bros.
  Kindergarten Stories and Morning Talks (Wiltse). Ginn & Co.
  Talks for Kindergarten and Primary Schools (Wiltse). Ginn & Co.
  Hall's How to Teach Reading. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Place of the Story in Early Education (Wiltse). Ginn & Co.
  Methods of Teaching Reading (Branson). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Lowell's Books and Libraries. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Ruskin's Books and Reading. In Sesame and Lilies.
  Lectures to Kindergartners (Peabody). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Mother Goose (Denslow). McClure, Phillips, & Co.
  Boston Collection of Kindergarten Stories. J. L. Hammett & Co.
  The Study of Children and their School Training (Warner).
          The Macmillan Co.
  The Story Hour (Kate Douglas Wiggin). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Trumpet and Drum (Eugene Field). Scribner's Sons.
  A Child's Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson). Scribner's Sons.
  Treetops and Meadows. The Public School Publishing Co., Bloomington,
  Songs from the Nest (Emily Huntington Miller). Kindergarten
          Literature Co.
  The Moral Instruction of Children (Felix Adler). D. Appleton & Co.
  Children's Rights (Kate Douglas Wiggin). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  The Story of Patsy (Wiggin). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  First Book of Birds (Miller). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.


  Nature Stories for Young Readers (continued). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Easy Steps for Little Feet. American Book Co.
  Classic Stories for Little Ones. Public School Publishing Co.,
          Bloomington, Ill.
  Verse and Prose for Beginners. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Cyr's Second Reader. Ginn & Co.
  Stepping Stones to Literature, Book II.
  Pets and Companions (Stickney). Ginn & Co.
  Child Life, Second Book. The Macmillan Co.
  Nature Myths and Stories for Little Ones (Cooke). A. Flanagan & Co.

The preceding books are for second and third grades.

  Around the World, Book I. The Morse Co.
  Graded Classics, No. II. B. F. Johnson Publishing Co.
  Graded Literature, No. II. Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  A Book of Nursery Rhymes (Welsh). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Book of Nature Myths (Holbrook). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.


  Heart of Oak, No. II. D. C. Heath & Co.
  German Fairy Tales (Grimm). Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Fables and Folk Lore (Scudder). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Nature Stories for Young Readers--Animals. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Danish Fairy Tales (Andersen). Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Baldwin's Second Reader. American Book Co.
  Choice Literature, Book II (Williams). Butler, Sheldon, & Co.
  Fairy Tale and Fable (Thompson). The Morse Co.
  Fairy Stories and Fables (Baldwin). American Book Co.
  Plant Babies and Their Cradles. Educational Publishing Co.
  Æsop's Fables. Educational Publishing Co.
  Story Reader. American Book Co.
  Open Sesame, Part I. Ginn & Co.

The above are excellent selections for second, third, and fourth grades.

  Songs and Stories. University Publishing Co.
  Love Songs of Childhood (Field). Scribner's Sons.


  Poetry for Children (Eliot). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  The Story Hour (Wiggin). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Story of Hiawatha. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Round the Year in Myth and Song (Holbrook). American Book Co.
  Old Ballads in Prose (Tappan). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  St. Nicholas Christmas Book. Century Co., New York.
  Asgard Stories (Foster-Cummings). Silver, Burdett, & Co.
  Fairy Tale Plays and How to Act Them (Mrs. Bell). Longmans, Green, &
  Little Folk Lyrics (Sherman). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Readings in Folk Lore (Skinner). American Book Co.
  Nature Pictures by American Poets. The Macmillan Co.
  Squirrels and Other Fur-bearers (Burroughs). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Seven Great American Poets (Hart). Silver, Burdett, & Co.
  Early Training of Children (Malleson). D. C. Heath & Co.
  Comenius's The School of Infancy. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Krüsi's Life of Pestalozzi. American Book Co.
  Development of the Child (Oppenheim). The Macmillan Co.
  The Study of Child Nature (Elizabeth Harrison). Published by Chicago
          Kindergarten College.
  Listening Child (Thatcher). The Macmillan Co.
  History and Literature (Rice). A. Flanagan & Co.


  Robinson Crusoe. Public School Publishing Co.
  Golden Book of Choice Reading. American Book Co.
  Æsop's Fables (Stickney). Ginn & Co.
  Andersen's Fairy Tales, Part I. Ginn & Co.
  Seven Little Sisters. Ginn & Co.
  Heart of Oak, No. II. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Fairy Stories and Fables. American Book Co.
  Child Life, Third Reader. The Macmillan Co.
  Grimm's German Household Tales. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Fables (published as leaflets). C. M. Parker, Taylorville, Ill.
  Around the World, Book II. The Morse Co.
  Graded Classics, No. III. B. F. Johnson Publishing Co.
  Graded Literature, No. III. Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Grimm's Fairy Tales. Educational Publishing Co.
  Grimm's Fairy Tales (Wiltse). Ginn & Co.
  Nature Myths and Stories for Little Ones (Cooke). A. Flanagan & Co.
  Fairy Tales in Verse and Prose (Rolfe). American Book Co.


  Arabian Nights. Houghton, Mifflin. & Co.
  Hans Andersen's Stories. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Fairy Tales in Verse and Prose (Rolfe). Harper & Bros.
  Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children. Ginn & Co.
  Andersen's Fairy Tales, Part II. Ginn & Co.
  Open Sesame, Part I. Ginn & Co.
  Judd's Classic Myths.
  Grimm's Fairy Tales, Part II. Ginn & Co.
  The Eugene Field Book (Burt). Scribner's Sons.
  A Child's Garden of Verses. Rand, McNally, & Co.
  Little Lame Prince (Craik). Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Prose and Verse for Children (Pyle). American Book Co.
  Book of Tales. American Book Co.


  Stories from the History of Rome. The Macmillan Co.
  Friends and Helpers (Eddy). Ginn & Co.
  Little Lucy's Wonderful Globe (Yonge). The Macmillan Co.
  Robinson Crusoe. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Arabian Nights, Aladdin, etc. Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Bird's Christmas Carol (Wiggin). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Uncle Remus (Harris). D. Appleton & Co.
  Fifty Famous Stories Retold (Baldwin). American Book Co.
  Four Great Americans (Baldwin). Werner School Book Co.
  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans (Eggleston).
          American Book Co.
  The Story of Lincoln (Cavens). Public School Publishing Co.
  Among the Farmyard People (Pierson). E. P. Dutton & Co.
  The Howells Story Book (Burt). Scribner's Sons.
  The Jungle Book (Kipling). Century Co., New York.
  Old Norse Stories (Bradish). American Book Co.
  Little Brothers of the Air (Miller). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Hans Brinker (Mary Mapes Dodge). Century Co.
  Black Beauty. University Publishing Co.
  Tanglewood Tales (Hawthorne). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Wonder Book (Hawthorne). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  The Story of the Wagner Opera. Scribner's Sons.
  Thoughts on Education (Locke). The Macmillan Co.
  The Education of Man (Froebel). D. Appleton & Co.
  Childhood in Literature and Art (Scudder). Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.
  Waymarks for Teachers (Arnold). Silver, Burdett, & Co.
  Hailman's History of Pedagogy. American Book Co.


  Child Life. The Macmillan Co.
  Around the World. The Morse Co.
  Baldwin's Readers. American Book Co.
  Graded Classics. B. F. Johnson Publishing Co.
  Graded Literature. Maynard, Merrill, & Co.
  Stepping Stones to Literature. Silver, Burdett, & Co.
  Lights to Literature. Rand, McNally, & Co.
  The Heart of Oak Series. D. C. Heath & Co.
  Choice Literature. Butler, Sheldon, & Co.


    A Series of Educational Books in Two Groups covering the General
    Principles of Method and Its Special Applications to the Common


    _Northern Illinois State Normal School, DeKalb, Illinois_


    F. M. McMURRY


    The three books in this group deal with the fundamental,
    comprehensive principles of Education for the school as a whole,
    and include both instruction and management.


    Each school study is treated in a separate book, and the
    selection and arrangement of material, and the method of
    instruction appropriate to that study throughout its course, are
    fully discussed. Illustrative lessons and extensive lists of
    books of special value as helps to teachers and schools are




    New edition, revised and enlarged. Cloth. 12mo. 331 pp.

    90 cents net, postage 10 cents

    This volume discusses fully the controlling principles of our
    progressive modern education, such as The Aim of Education; The
    Materials and Sources of Moral Training; The Relative Value of
    Studies in the School Course; The Nature and Value of Interest
    as a Vital Element in Instruction; The Correlation of Studies;
    Inductive and Deductive Processes as Fundamental to All
    Thinking; Apperception, its Close and Constant Application to
    the Process of Learning; The Will, its Training and Function and
    its Close Relation to Other Forms of Mental Action.

    The book closes with an account of Herbart and his disciples in
    Germany, and a summary of their pronounced ideas and influence
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    New edition, revised and enlarged


    Cloth. 12mo. 339 pp. 90 cents net, postage 10 cents

    This book, as a whole, is designed to simplify, organize, and
    illustrate the chief principles of class-room method in
    elementary schools. A few important fundamental principles are
    carefully worked out as a basis. The essential steps, in the
    acquisition of knowledge in all studies, are worked out and
    applied to different branches. The developing method of
    instruction so much used in the oral treatment of lessons is
    worked out, and the method of careful and suitable questioning

    Two chapters are given, consisting of Illustrative Lessons
    selected from the different studies and worked out in full, as
    examples of a right method. In these examples, and also in the
    discussions, the application of the principles of apperception,
    interest, induction, and deduction to class-room work are shown.
    The peculiar application of these various principles to
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    Cloth. 12mo. 254 pp. 75 cents, postage 9 cents

    This discusses in a comprehensive way the regular reading
    lessons, the choice of stories, poems, and longer masterpieces,
    adapted to the needs of the various grades from the fourth to
    the eighth school year inclusive; the value for school use of
    the best literature, including complete masterpieces, both long
    and short; method in reading; and principles of class-room work.
    A descriptive list of more than four hundred books forms the
    last chapter. The list has been carefully made, and is designed
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    Cloth. 12mo. 75 cents net, postage 8 cents

    The relation of oral story work to early exercises in primary
    reading is explained at length. A full discussion of oral
    methods in primary grades and a detailed account of primary
    exercises in reading are given. The use of games for incidental
    reading is also fully discussed and illustrated.




    This book contains a course of study in history with a full
    discussion of methods of treating topics. The value, selection,
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    discussed, and illustrative lessons given. The relation of
    history to geography, literature, and other studies is treated,
    and lists of books suitable for each year are supplied.




    The entire course of study is laid out after a careful selection
    of topics. Methods of class instruction are fully discussed, and
    illustrations are given of geographical topics treated in
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    The history of science teaching in elementary schools is given.
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