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ASTOR, LE: X!
District of Masachusetts District, ro wit; Be it REMEMBerito that on the twenty fev
enth day of September, in the twenty eighth year of the Independence of the United States of America, DANIEL ADAMS of the said District, hath deposited in this office the Title of a Boox, the right whereof he claims as Author in the words following, 10 wit : “ The Understanding Reader, or knowledge before Oratory. Being a new Selection of Leflons, suited to the understandings and the capacities of Youth, and defigned for their improvement,
1. In Reading
tive words.- In a method wholly different
liibed.-By D NIEL ADAMS, M. B. Author of the Scholar's Arithmetic, Thorough Scholar, &c. Iy Conformity to the Act of the CONGRESS of the United States, intitled “ An Ad for the encouragement of Learning, by fecuring the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Auibors and Proprietors of such Cor. ies, during the times therein mentioned.”
N. GOODALE, Clerk of the Dif1 true Copy of Record trid of Massachusetts District, Auch, N. GOODALT, CI.
tween a Learned Reader and an Understanding Reader, as there is between a Learned Pig,* which tells you ihe exact hour and minute of the day, and Pope Gregoryst: XIII. who ascertained the exact number of hours and minutes in a Solar year. The Pig knows nothing of time, nor of those measures [hours and iniqutes] by which we reckon its progreslion; as little do many of our schoolboys, who pass for good readers, know or understand of thore subjects, which they read.
Let it for a moment be made a subject of our inquiry, What are the objects to which our attention should be direcled 113 karning Children to read? In reply to this question some one, perhaps, will answer and say, a just pronunciation of the English Language is and ought to be the great object of our attention in this important branch of education. And that if to this we add caulence, emphasis, together with fritulie modulati,125 of the voice, we shall then have included every thing necessary to be comprehended in learning children to read.
This reply of our respondent is so much in conformity to common practice, that, perhaps any further confid. eration of the subject will be thought altogether unneceffary. What then? Is the art of 'Reading, as it repects youth, to be confidered fimply as an exercise of the facul.. ties of speech? Do you, who are parents, with for nothing more than that you children should acquire an easy volia. bility of their tongues while their heads are left uncultivated as the belis in your Churches? Of wliat use, I would alk, is the faculty of fpeech, together with the finest modulations of the voice, without Underhandling? Wouldit not therefore be proper, to add to what is usually understood by learning children to read, the learning of them to understand? Is no regard to be had to the definition of words ? to the sense of the Writer? to the exercises of re. flection ? to the fixing of the attention ? and to the cultiva.
* It is well known that the Learnesi Pig, when requested, will bring and lay down at the feet of his Mafter, the figures for any hour and mida ute of the day.
+ The Reformer of the Julian Calender, afterwards called the Gre za i rian Calender, or NEW STYLE.
tion of the memory? Certainly these are important confid. erations and worthy of our most serious regard. 'There is no improvement of the mind in reading, but by an attention to these thiogs. Surely then there cannot be a plainer dictate of common lense, than that children should be taught them while young ; that at an early age they be led into inquiries after the meaning of words, the sense of 'the writer, not only generally, as it respects the subject of which he treats, but also particularly, in every phrate and sentence ; and, at a season of life while the mind is most susceptible of impresions, that they be formed to habits of all these various modes of attention, which may grow with their age, and increase with their years.
Judge then how far adapted to these purposes are the generality of those Selections for reading, most common in our Schools. Extracts from the Grecian and Roman Orators, from Orations, the Poets, detached pieces of hiflory, together with disquisitions on many of the finer cperations of the mind, are the subjects with which, in a great. measure, they are filled. Previous to reading these subjects with any tolerable degree of understanding, or advantage, it is neceffary a person thould be pofleired of a large fund of civil biftory ; that he should have an extenfive acquaintance with mankind, with geography, with the different nations that inhabit this globe, their customs and manners ; and in order to comprehend the force of Those allusions to other things, with which these species of composition abound, he must have ao acquaintance with Nature, and the various objets of Nature and Artthings which children have not seen, nor iheir ears haard, nor havethey entered into ibeir minds to conceive. Then it is that “Ourboys,” to use the wordsof Franklin,“ofbew reard, as Parrots peak, knowing little or nothing of the meaning." The coníe. quence is, their books to them become a talk ; they contract a difike to reading ; and deriving neither satisfaction nor information from their jooks, they fall into hab. its of carelessness and inattention, which perhaps they may never have the fortitude to overcome thro life.
Another article not sufficiently attended to in our Schools, is that of Spelling, No person can become a correct speller by the Spelling-Book alone, even should hc ommit to memory the whole contents of its pages.
rivative words, such as denied, happier, &c. of which we have many in our language, as also many compound words, are almost wholly excluded from the Spelling-Book. The primitive word, in the formation of the derivative or compound word, oftentimes either doubles, drops, or exchanges certain letters in the prinitive word, for others in the derivative or compound word, so that the rules* for, fpelling these words ought to be particularly attended to and pract sed upon in all places where the Learner is put to read.
Now if these objects are thought worthy of regard - if the definition of words, attention to the sense in reading, exercises of reflection, and the spelling correctiy of all words, are objects to engage the attention of youth, then it is presumed the present undertaking will not be thought untimely or improper.
To answer these several intentions, and to accommodate this book to the convenience of both Plaster and Scholar, The UNDERSTANDING READER presents in the margin of each page, a column of words in italic characters, lingled out from the lesson. Those words with a period after them are particularly designed for being spelt--those with a note of in errogation, for being defined. Let the Student be taught, while studying his leffon, ever to have his Diction. ary within reach of mim. By the help of this “ Sure Guide” let him establish, in his own mind, już sentiments of the force and meaning of those words, let apart for being defined. After having read his lesson, let him be called upon to define these words, and if the Teacher please, to spell them, together with the other words set apart for that purpose. The Master, however, will make such deviations from these intentions, as the years and under itanding of his pupil, under all circumitances, may seem to require.
The advantages to be derived froin accuit-ming youth to give definitions of words, are more than simply tha: of becoming acquainted with the meaning of them.
1. Their minds will be excited to inquiry. they will arrive to an understanding of many ideas of the Writer, which otherwise would have been wholly lost to thic).
In this way
2. It will enlange their acquaintance with language,not only by a knowledge of those particular words which they would define, but alto by bringing many new words to their vicni
3. It will help them to a readiness and facility of preiling their ideas. There is nothing in which frequent isc and practice do more for a man, than in this one
If a man has never been accustomed to express hirtelf on any subject or thing, he will be much put to it and appear exceedingly awkward at first, however well he may understand the subject on which he would speak.
4. It will inspire them with a confidence in themselves, and their own understandings, which will go further and be of more use to them on any public or private occasion, than whole months, or even years, declamation on the stage.
In this Selection a atriz regard has been paid to the hoice of picces. Nothing has been admitted but what was thought to be fuitd to the capacity of the Scholar. Extracts from Natural Hutory are not unfrequent-a subfed exceedingly well adapted to the minds of youth : morality, ainulrg and indructing císays, stories, descriptive glectry and pleating anccdotes make up its contents.
It would ive highly proper and exceedingly useful, that the Scholar, after reading his letion, theuld be questioned, hy his Maller, on the roles of it. As examples of what it nouid bi propes thoud be done at all tiines, will be tuud ai tlic conclufion of fome of the pieces, QUESTIONS ca'sing up to rich the principal ideas and events which harebeci reiter. Małcs, I think, would come to Juride the hopenih korpuris in all their kurs, luthis wrtey votiid ready for them to tout not neceila: v bude of READING WITH ATTINTION,
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