The reading was to be something "delightful and easy, such as stories of sea voyages, descriptions of foreign countries, their rise and fall, and illustrated by the particular actions of eminent persons." And in order that these stories might not be forgotten, it was further arranged that notes (or "a summary collection") should be taken of everything worthy of attention, and that these notes should afterwards be transcribed, and put into language fitted to the capacity of the children, who then had, in turn, to recite the stories. This practice brought the boys into a habit of delivering any speech with assurance and good manner, and of expressing themselves in a becoming and elegant style.
They also became thoroughly acquainted with ancient and modern history, and knew and understood the great affairs of life better than many who lived more in the world.
Analogous to this, and no doubt a development of it, were "The maiden-sisters exercises." These were conversations or dialo