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This FOURTH READER is designed to pass the pupil from the comparatively easy ground occupied by the THIRD to the more difficult course embraced in THE UNION FIFTH READER, which is the highest in the series. It is, therefore, carefully graded to this intermediate position.
In one sense, however, it is the most important in the set; since the great mass of pupils, in our common schools, are drawn away from scholastic pursuits long before the proper time for entering upon any course of reading more advanced than that which is here presented. This consideration has had its full weight in the preparation of the following pages.
Every exercise will be found to bear the impress of that special adaptation to the purposes of teaching, without which no book of this kind can fully perform the office which it assumes. The labor expended in this direction, though all unseen by the casuai observer, has been neither light nor brief. It can be duly appreciated by none but the experienced teacher.
All words in the exercises, requiring explanation, have been arranged, as regular lessons in spelling and definition. In these definitions, however, it must be kept in mind, that no attempt has been made to give all the meanings of which a word is susceptible, but that only which it bears in the particular place in the exercise where it is found. There is special educational advantage in thus leading the mind of the pupil definitely to fix upon the precise, import of a word, in some particular use or application of it.
All proper names, occurring in the text, and at all likely to embarrass the learner, have been explained in brief, comprehensive notes. These notes involve many matters, Geographical, Bio
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ġrapltical; and Historical, which are not a little interesting in themselves, aside from the special purpose subserved by them in the present connection.
All this has been done, and more, in order to secure that kind of interest in the exercises which comes of reading what is clearly understood; and because no perfect reading is possible, where the reader himself fails to perceive the meaning of what he reads.
In the selection and adaptation of the pieces, the highest aim has been to make and to leave the best moral impression ; and this, not by dull and formal teachings, but by the pleasanter, and, therefore, more powerful, means of incidental and unexpected suggestion. Admonition is then most likely to be heeded, when it comes through the channel of events and circumstances.
The direct and ostensible aim of the book, however, has been kept steadily in view ; which is to furnish the best possible exercises for practice in Rhetorical reading. To this end, the grcatest variety of style and sentiment has been sought. There is scarcely a tone or modulation, of which the human voice is capable, that finds not here some piece adapted precisely to its best expression. There is not an inflection, however delicate, not an emphasis, however slight, however strong, that does not here meet with something fitted well for its amplest illustration. No tenderness of pathos, no earnestness of thought, no play of wit, no burst of passion, is there, perhaps, of which the accomplished teacher of Elocution may not find the proper style of expression in these pages, and, consequently, the best examples for the illustration of his art.
The book, thus briefly described, is, therefore, given to the public with the same confidence that has hitherto inspired the author in similar efforts, and with the hope that it may reach even a higher measure of usefulness, than that attained by any of its predecessors, in the long line of works which he has pre,
, pared for the use of schools.
..Mrs. E. Oakes Smith, 58