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A series intended to create and foster a taste

for good reading

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GENERAL PREFACE

CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER once said, “ When a child is taught how to read but not what to read, he is placed in a position of great danger.” Of the truth of this statement there can be no possible doubt, and it is one that is only just beginning to be recognized in school work. High schools are now very generally attempting to meet this by courses in reading and literature; but the great majority of pupils never reach the high school, and those who do have generally formed a taste for some kind of reading before that time, and too often a taste for a kind of reading that is very far from being the best, and often decidedly bad, so that the work of the high school becomes that of reformation, instead of formation,

a difficult work and one that need not be necessary.

To some extent, desultory work is being done in the primary and grammar grades, by means of supplementary reading ; but this cannot prove very effective in forming a taste for good reading, though something will be accomplished, because the expense necessary to provied a sufficient quantity of books, and a variety to meet the needs of different ages, and to present specimens of different classes of literature, will be so great that very few schools can meet it, and still fewer will do it. Again, too often

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the supplementary readers used are intended merely to furnish information, and are not fitted to do much toward forming a taste for good reading. Those supplementary readers that do make some attempt to create and nourish a taste for good reading, in the main do it in a very haphazard kind of way. There is no clearly defined plan, no definite end aimed at. The literature training in the primary and grammar schools, when there has been any at all, has been of the same kind, almost of necessity, for want of suitable text books. The compiler of this series has attempted to meet this want. So far as he knows, no such attempt has before been made. Much has been done in a desultory way, but nothing with a well defined plan.'

The selections in this series are carefully made and graded. They are those suited to the grade of the pupils for whom they are intended, and all are good of their kind. It is believed that the selection of trashy matter on the one hand, or matter beyond the comprehension of the pupils on the other, has been avoided. Each volume of the series is made with a definite purpose in view, and a brief statement regarding the selections made and the end aimed at is given. There will be such notes and explanations as seem to be necessary. It should be borne in mind that the primary purpose of this series is not to teach pupils how to read, but what to read ; to create and foster a taste for good literature. Therefore many selections for which there will not be found room in this series will be suggested, so as to guide the out of school reading of the pupils so far as this can be done. It is expected that the teachers will encourage the forma

tion of little libraries by the pupils, and many suggestions will be given to this end.

The copyrighted matter in this volume is used by arrangement with and permission of Houghton, Mifflin & Co., to whom thanks are extended for use of selections from Hawthorne and Whittier, and to G. P. Putnam's Sons for extracts from Irving.

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