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INTRODUCTION TO THE ELSON GRAMMAR SCHOOL
Reading holds a commanding position in the school course. It lies at the foundation of all other studies and is fundamental to advancement in them. Whatever makes for good reading makes for progress in all other branches. Because of its importance, reading should have due recognition in the time-schedule of the school and should have fullest preparation at the hands of the teacher. A poor teacher of reading is a poor teacher, whatever else she may do well, while a good teacher of reading has gone a long way toward teaching efficiency. Reading therefore holds first place among elementary school studies.
In the primary school, children learn to read, while in the grammar school they read to learn. In other words, the aim of the primary school is to give children power to read, while that of the grammar school is to use this power to further the ends of education, i. e., to interpret the printed page and gain knowledge from books, to acquire the reading habit, to find beauty and pleasure in the study of literature, and to acquire a discriminating taste. Grammar school reading therefore has a field and purpose of its own.
The Elson Grammar School Readers have a definite purpose. They are not merely "another set of readers.” They aim to supply reading material of a character worthy the high place that reading holds in the school course, and to furnish it in abundance. In addition, this material is carefully selected, well graded, classified, and abundantly provided with "Helps” to aid pupils and teachers in interpreting the thought. The series consists of four books, each containing three divisions. Part One of each book deals with short selections in prose and poetry
from American and British authors, grouped with reference to various criteria, chiefly that of theme. In this part are found some of the fine old pieces long recognized as among the best in literature. Part Two contains some of the great cycle stories that reveal stages of human development;—pure adventure, of which “Aladdin and His Lamp” is typical of the group found in Book One; heroism manifesting itself in love for State, expressed in the Greek and Roman stories found in Book Two; chivalry-shown in the protection of the weak and in the cause of Christianity-exemplified in the stories of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, in Book Three; pure literature, expressed in the works of our great American writers, in Book Four. The importance of these great cycle stories, which have delighted old and young for countless generations, should not be underestimated. Part Three consists of selections from our great American writers, together with biographies of the authors, historical notes, and other helps. These enable the pupils to know and love our great American authors and some of their choicest creations. In Book Four this part is devoted to dramatic and patriotic selections.
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