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in nature, the simple and the truthful in actual life, have been sought for by us, as the only healthy food for the growing mind. With these views, we have tried to exclude the flat, unprofitable pieces, too generally selected for the class of readers for whom this book is designed; as if a reading lesson, to be simple and easy, must necessarily be unmeaning and silly. How far we have accomplished these desirable ends, must be left to the discernment of school committees and teachers to decide.
Grammatically, much labor has been expended in trying to remove all obscurity arising from looseness of expression, and the many inaccuracies that too often abound in writings intended for the young.
A few lessons are given in articulation, to aid teachers in removing the more prominent faults of those pupils who have never been regularly trained to distinctness of utterance by the Exercises in the Gradual Reader.
The simple explanations, with tables and illustrative examples, of inflection, emphasis, &c., are commended to the notice of teachers, not for their instruction, but that they may have at hand suitable exercises for drilling pupils on any one of those points, should their deficiency render it
PARK STREET, Boston,
To attain the vocal requisites of good reading, the voice must be constantly subjected to gymnastic exercises, and its powers developed by elementary training.
The daily practice of the vocal artist is not upon tunes to thrill an audience, but upon the scales and exercises designed to develop and maintain purity, strength, and compass of voice.
When thousands hung in breathless ecstasy on the magic tones of a Jenny Lind, little dreamed they of the hours and years of incessant toil to produce and control such powers- toil, where each day's exercise was but a repetition of the preceding, so intense, that it is no wonder even her devotion and enthusiasm sometimes faltered.
Many, gifted in intellect, and of superior cultivation, have deeply felt the power of Shakspeare's mighty mind; but how few, like a Kemble, have so cultivated the vocal powers that they could convey those emotions of the soul, in all their grandeur and thrilling beauty, to another's heart.
Mighty, that the human mind can so portray the passions of the human soul, that the wise and the ignorant may equally recognize the picture! Mightier, that the human voice can so personify them, that the learned and the unlearned will stand in breathless waiting, to see them start from the canvas!
Few messengers of the Bible, pleading the great truths of divine wisdom and love, ever so convinced the intellect and moved the heart as Whitefield. Yet the best that has come down to us from him, will but ill compare with the written sermons of our preachers of to-day. By the vocal power of eloquence he overcame the determined will of Franklin, and led captive even his judgment.
Knowledge may be power; but the human voice, trained by art, is the lever by which this power must be applied to move the great living
Purity of tone and exact pronunciation are the most essential vocal requisites of good reading.
The pupil, then, must be subjected to a continued drill in suitable exercises upon the vowels to give him purity of tone, and upon the consonants and their combinations to give him a correct and distinct articulation.
Such exercises are found in the preceding Readers of this series, especially in the Gradual Reader; and the learner is now supposed to be somewhat ▾ proficient in their utterance.
Still, to retain facility and grace of utterance, these exercises should never be laid aside during his school days; therefore they have been published without the reading lessons, that every pupil may have them by him for daily drill.
With reference of articulation to the other Readers, a few examples will here be given, for drilling the pupil in the correct utterance of only unaccented elements and combinations, which are liable to imperfect or wrong pronunciation.