« PreviousContinue »
Good expression in reading is the product of sympathy and understanding, and therefore, the child who likes to read is quite sure to take first rank as a good reader. The controlling purpose of Classics, Old and New is to inspire in children a love for reading, and thus, without their being conscious of the fact, induce in them the reading habit. This is about the best and safest of all habits. If we contrive to teach young people the mechanical art of reading, and fail, at the same time, to breed in them the impulse and desire to continue their education throughout life by reading, we have cheated them out of the best thing to be obtained by going to school.
Good literature is an expression for the best of the world's activity, and the power latent in such literature to lift and enlighten the mind and spirit is greater than any other power, save, perhaps, the influences of home. The formal education of
many of the children that will use this series of readers will cease with the elementary schools. This fact makes the preparation of the readers a very serious task, especially to one who knows children well enough to realize how difficult it is to know them at all.
When a child enters the Fourth Reader, he has practically mastered what may be called the mechanics of reading. New words, as words, no longer have any terror for him. He knows how to read, we say. He is, therefore, at a critical moment in his mental life in so far as that life touches literary culture. Let us hope that his imagination is not dulled, and that he has learned, as the earlier readers of this series are planned to teach him, to have a feeling for the good as distinguished from the