The Novel and the Common School

The Novel and the Common School

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The Novel and the Common School by Charles Dudley Warner

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1890

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The Novel and the Common School

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Book Excerpt

chers, even if they possess it themselves. The business is to teach the pupils to read; how they shall use the art of reading is little considered. If we examine the reading-books from the lowest grade to the highest, we shall find that their object is to teach words, not literature. The lower-grade books are commonly inane (I will not say childish, for that is a libel on the open minds of children) beyond description. There is an impression that advanced readers have improved much in quality within a few years, and doubtless some of them do contain specimens of better literature than their predecessors. But they are on the old plan, which must be radically modified or entirely cast aside, and doubtless will be when the new method is comprehended, and teachers are well enough furnished to cut loose from the machine. We may say that to learn how to read, and not what to read, is confessedly the object of these books; but even this object is not attained. There is an endeavor to teach how to call the words of a

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