« PreviousContinue »
Arise, as in that elder time,
In order that one may adequately express what he is reading, the vocal organs must be trained. These organs, like all the other organs of the body, require exercise to impart to them the highest efficiency. Every class should, therefore, have a daily exercise in vocal gymnastics. For the strengthening of the voice, the exercises on the preceding pages are admirably adapted. But in order to be efficient they must be engaged in earnestly, vigorously, and persistently. The voice must be tasked to its utmost, for a short time, every day. Only thus
be increased. During this exercise the lungs should be kept filled with pure
air. Indeed, a part of the exercise should consist in vigorous
breathing. Sound is made of air or breath, and there should be a large supply of the material kept constantly on hand.
But undue and sudden violence should be carefully avoided, and those exercises requiring the highest force should be practiced only a little while at a time.
The vocal organs are often permanently injured by too severe a strain upon their power, caused either by entering too suddenly upon violent exercise, or continuing it too long. Great vocal power can not be suddenly acquired.
THE USE OF BOOKS FOR REFERENCE.
Among the things in which every pupil in our schools ougut to be instructed is the use of books of reference. Of these, the unabridged dictionary is the first in rank. Every child should become acquainted with the notation of Webster and Worcester, and be able to consult either of them intelligently.
Pupils need also to acquire a power over books,-the ability to select from them whatever is requisite to the purpose in hand. Independence of thought is promoted by the habit of consulting books as the information they contain is wanted. To read a treatise on any topic, even if it is understood, is only to follow out another's thought; but to gather up the facts contained in books, and to put them into new relations, is to think for one's self.
This Reader, if properly used, will require much practice in consulting books on history, language, and science. Of course, such work, like all other, should be done thoroughly and understandingly. At first, the teacher should indicate the topics on which the pupil is to inform himself in this way. But the latter ought soon to acquire the power of determining for himself the points that need to be cleared up, and of selecting the material for that purpose.
In the notes appended to this book will be found much valuable information, very much more than is usually acquired in connection with reading lessons. But thorough teachers will wish to give their pupils a more extended knowledge of men and things than is there presented. For the use of such the following books are recommended. Many others might be justly named, but the few here given are of sterling character and quite sufficient for the wants of most schools.
Webster's Dictionary, new illustrated edition.
of the Nineteenth Century.
Cleveland's Compendium of American Literature. Barnard's American Journal of Education. Harper's Monthly, from the beginning, also contains much useful information on practical matters.
* Abridged editions of Gibbon and Hume have been prepared, under the names of “The Student's Gibbon,” and “The Student's Hume.” For ordinary schools these would be more convenient than the full histories; and they are much cheaper.
EDWARDS'S SIXTH READER.
1.-THE GRAY OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN.
At the Franconia Notch, in the White Mountains, in New Hampshire, there is a group of rocks at the top of one of the precipices, so placeıl that, when viewed froin a certain point, they present the appearance of a human face iu profilo. All the surrounding scenery is romantic and impressive. The face has a grave and thoughtful aspect. Every year the scene is visited by multitudes of curious travelers.
1. Where a tall post beside the road displays
2. And full and plain those features are displayed,
3. Most wondrous vision ! the broad earth hath not,
4. And curious travelers have descried the trace
ANALYSIS OF THE GRAY OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN.
Is this prose or poetry? What is the difference between these? [Two kinds of difference, - a difference in thought, and a difference in form. A composition full of poetry in thought, may have the form of prose.] Thoughts of what kind are poetical? prosaic ? [To show the difference in form, let the teacher read, correctly and naturally, a few lines of blank verse, and a few lines of prose, and let the pupil, not the teacher, observe and point out the difference. One will be measured off to the ear, the other will not.] Poems may be comic, serious, lively, joyous, sad, heroic, pathetic, descriptive, didactic, sublime, &c. Which and how many of these characteristics belong to this piece? Has it any other traits? Is any piece of poetry just alike in all its parts in this respect? How great are the differences in this piece? Is this a highly imaginative selection ? Is the scene described