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Some books on Canadian Education

We start this section with 5 books on Canadian Readers which teach children to read and to that we add a handbook for teachers to guide them through these five readers.

Reader 1
The First Primer is based upon two principles: 1. That the Alphabet is best taught in Words; 2. That Words are best taught in and through Pictures. The picture and then the symbol—that is the key-note to this little book. But the words and the lessons have been selected and drawn up with a view to leave room for the Teacher to employ the method he considers best in teaching the letters and their forces. Those who prefer the Alphabetic Method will find the lessons arranged so as to suit them admirably. The presentation of the picture, and from that leading to the word sign, is the best way of teaching by the Word Method. The fact that only one power of single letters is used in the lessons contained in the early part of the book, from page 7 to page 19 inclusive, adapts this series perfectly to the Phonic Method, or the combined Word and Phonic Method. will then find a new set of pictures and new symbols. The single letters, in one and only one of their powers, are first taught; then the double letters — double vowels and double consonants, initial and final. It is earnestly recommended that the names of the letters be not taught until a need for their names has arisen in the pupil’s mind. The alphabet is given at the beginning for reference. Stories are introduced as soon as possible, so that there may be some mental movement at an early stage. Teachers are advised to let their pupils begin to write and read script from the beginning.

Reader 2
The Second Primer uses all the elements and words which were learned in the First. It gives, in general, words no longer than two syllables, and these of the most regular kind — as father, mother, dinner, etc. If it here and there gives a word of three syllables, like another, it is of the simplest form. The pictures here play a new part. While, in the First Primer, they were attached to words, in this Primer they are attached chiefly to subjects; and they do not lead on to the symbol, hut are inserted to supply motive and interest to the child to interpret the symbol given. They have been selected regardless of cost, and must prove a great attraction to the little people. The aim has been to make them value their primer on account of the beauty of its illustrations. The sense attached to each picture is intended to he, as nearly as possible, what a child would say about it, if he were questioned on each part of the picture.

Reader 3
The Third Book contains longer lessons than the Second Book, more difficult words, and more literary phrases. But care has been taken that the style should at the same time be so clear, that the sentences may be read without strain. For this reason, also, the sentences are in general short; and the sense of them may be caught at once without too great effort. The lessons have been selected and prepared first to interest and attract, second to instruct and elevate. A vast fimd of practical, general information is contained in the book, but it is given in such a style as to make the reading-hour one of the most pleasant of the day to the pupils. In a book of this kind there must always be a necessity for matter which naturally promotes lively reading. This necessity has been recognized and amply provided for in this Third Book. For this and other reasons, it will be found that children who have been judiciously carried through this book will have acquired good habits of expressive reading. Special attention is directed to the illustrations, and to the articles relating to Canadian History and progress. The Exercises, which have been carefully thought out, are so contrived as to give the pupils views of the functions of nouns, verbs, and adjectives from different stand-points; and explanations of literary phrases have not been forgotten.

Reader 4
In preparing the present volume, the object chiefly aimed at has been to supply a series of literary selections combining instruction with entertainment, and exhibiting the most characteristic features of some of the leading authors of England and America. Many pupils leave school without advancing beyond the Fourth Book, and it is of importance that their interest in literary subjects be awakened before they enter upon the active duties of life. Facilities are here afforded to teachers for arousing such an interest, as well as for imparting the just method of gaining an insight into an author's style, and of arriving at the true significance of his most salient passages. As a basis for preliminary examinations in literature, this volume will be found to be a decided advance upon any previously issued. Where it has been thought necessary, full notes explanatory of difficult words or peculiar phrases, have been inserted at the end of the lessons. Lessons on Temperance have also been introduced. Intemperance is one of the most formidable and widespread of vices, — a great and permanent source of crime and want, — and the editors are of opinion that if this manifold evil is ever to be successfully encountered, it is in the school, and in the minds of the young, that the base of operations must be laid. The lessons on Hygiene, in connection with those in Books III. and V., supply a want long and widely felt. "Without adding to the number of the pupil's studies or the cost of his text-books, he is, by the aid of these lessons, taught the leading rules for preserving his health, and is directed as to the best means for saving life and avoiding unnecessary pain in case of accidents. Canada receives special prominence in this book. The leading Canadian authors have been laid under tribute, and an opportunity is thus afforded for the pupils to become familiar with the names and styles of their literary compatriots. Most of the selections made from the works of these authors refer to Canada or to some phase of our social life. Canadian History has been briefly sketched, and it is confidently hoped that the sketch, in the hands of teachers thoroughly acquainted with the subject, will become the means of creating more general interest in matters so important to the youth of Canada. The Appendices will be found most useful to both teacher and pupil. Brief sketches of the leading authors from whom selections have been made are given in the first; the second contains the chief elements that form our language; the third contains a brief but comprehensive statement of the principles of elocution; and the fourth completes the work begun in Book III., by giving an additional list of the words commonly mispronounced. The teacher should, in order to bring out the full meaning of the text, ask very many more questions than those appended to the lessons. A full knowledge of the meaning of the text is essential in every reading-lesson ; the appended questions are intended only as samples, not as complete sets. The teacher will also observe that the sentences referred to for parsing and analysis are likewise merely samples; others must be given, but in order of difficulty, — a new difficulty or construction should not be introduced till the preceding one is mastered. In the composition exercises the teacher must examine the work of each pupil, not only for the purpose of ascertaining if the matter is correct, but also for the purpose of pointing out any wrong constructions, or errors in grammar, in order that the pupil may remove them. Some of these errors, if of a common character, may be written out on the blackboard, and criticised by the pupils themselves. Our thanks are due to the illustrious American poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier, for kindly forwarding us autograph selections; also to Messrs. Dawson Bros., Montreal; the Methodist Publishing House, Toronto, and others, who have kindly permitted us to reprint extracts from their copyright works. We are also indebted to the following Canadian artists for the skill and promptitude with which they have assisted in the work of illustration: Mr. Sandham, late of Notman & Sandham, Montreal; Mrs. Schreiber, and Messrs. Martin and Cruickshank of Toronto; Mr. F. M. Bell-Smith, of Toronto and of Alma College, St. Thomas; Messrs. Notman and Fraser, of Toronto; and the Toronto Engraving Company.

Reader 5
This selection is the last poem in Puck of Pook’s Hill, published in 1906. W. Arthur Young in A Dictionary of the Characters and Scenes in the Stories and Poems of Rudyard Kipling, '1886-1911 (Routledge) says: “Puck of Pook’s Hill contains ten stories with sixteen poems and songs interspersed. Two children, Dan and Una, living on the Sussex countryside play a home-made version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Midsummer Eve. There enters Puck himself, who allows them to take from him ownership of all Old England. This is the beginning of meetings and adventures, in which the past, with its many heroes, is introduced to the children. The series is continued in Rewards and Fairies.” The poem itself is a prayer for help and guidance, so that the children may be best able to devote all their energies to the service of their country.

An interesting selection from the French of Emile Souvestre might be read to the pupils in this connection:

“When I was fifteen years of age,” said a French veteran, “I began to visit an old uncle who had lost a leg in the wars, and who was now pensioned off.

“One day I found him looking very grave. ‘Jerome,’ he said, ‘knowest thou what goes on at the frontier?’ ‘No, uncle,’ I answered.

“‘Well then,’ he went on very solemnly, ‘the fatherland is in peril.’

“Then seeing that I did not quite understand, he laid his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Thou hast never thought, perhaps, what the fatherland means. It means everything that surrounds thee, everything that has reared and nourished thee, everything thou hast loved.

“‘That green country thou seest, those trees, those young girls passing and laughing yonder—that is the fatherland!

“‘The laws which protect thee, the bread that pays thee for thy work, the words thou exchangest, the joy and the sadness which come to thee from the people and things amongst which thou livest—that is the fatherland!

“‘The little room where thou used to see thy mother, the memories she has left behind her, the ground in which she rests—that is the fatherland!

“'Thou seest it, thou breathest it everywhere! Picture to thyself thy rights and thy duties, thy affections and thy needs, thy recollections and thy gratitude; join all these under a single name, and that name will be the fatherland!’”

Reader Handbook

The material contained in the Handbook to The Canadian Readers is intended for the use of teachers and aims to provide all information necessary for the thorough understanding of the selections in the texts.

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