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tell pupils to be ready to answer questions and give the teacher

them. When sufficient time has answers when she asks for them,

passed, walk through the aisles Ask the teacher questions if

asking questions quietly here and any point is not clear,
there. Do not confine yourself to
the written questions.



What was the buried treasure?

What made the sons go to work?

When did Antonius rest?

When did the monks rest?

When ought the sons to have
begun working in the olive or-

Was the father wise? the sons?
the monks?

What picture in the story do Some answers to this last ques-
you like best? tion may be given for the benefit

of all, and may close the lesson.

Plan for a long story to be given as a dramatic


A little steam engine had a long train of cars to

She went along very well till she came to a steep
hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she
could not move the long train of cars.

She pulled, and she pulled. She puffed, and she
puffed. She backed and started off again. Chool
Choo ! Choo ! Choo ! —

But no! the cars would not go up the hill.

At last she left the train and started up the track
alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No,
indeed! She was going for help.

"Surely I can find some one to help me," she

1 From The Riverside Second Reader. Copyright, ion, by
Houghton Mifflin Company. A specimen page from the Reader
is inserted at page 98.



Over the hill and up the track went the little steam
engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo,
choo ! —

Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on
a side track. He looked very big and strong. Run-
ning alongside, she looked up and said, —

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of
cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it

The big steam engine looked down at the little
steam engine. Then he said, —

" Don't you see that I am through my day's work?
I have been all rubbed and scoured ready for my
next run. No, I cannot help you."

The little steam engine was sorry, but she went on.
Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! —

Soon she came to a second big steam engine stand-
ing on a side track. He was puffing and puffing, as if
he were tired.

" He may help me," thought the little steam engine.
She ran alongside and asked, —

"Will you help me bring my train of cars over the
hill? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it

The second big steam engine answered, —

"I have just come in from a long, long run. Don't
you see how tired I am? Can't you get some other
engine to help you this time?"

"I'll try," said the little steam engine; and off she
went. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo,
choo ! —



After a while she came to a little steam engine just
like herself. She ran alongside and said, —

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of
cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it

"Yes, indeed!" said the second little steam engine.
"I'll be glad to help you, if I can."

So the little steam engines started back to where
the train of cars had been standing all this time. One
little steam engine went to the head of the train, and
the other to the end of it.

Puff, puff! Chug, chug! Choo, choo! — Off they

Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they
climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little
steam engine began to sing: —

"I — think — I — can! I — think — I — can! I

— think — I — can! I — think — I — can! I —
think — I — can! I — think — I — can! I — think

— I — can! I — think — I — can! I think I can —
I think I can — I think I can I think I can — "

And they did! Very soon, they were over the hill
and going down the other side.

Now they were on the plain again; and the little
steam engine could pull her train, herself. So she
thanked the little engine who had come to help her,
and said good-bye.

And as she went merrily on her way, she sang to
herself, —

"I — thought — I — could ! I — thought — I —













— .



— <
















could! I — thought — I — could! I — thought — I
— could! I thought I could — I thought I could —
I thought I could — I thought I could — I thought I
could I thought I could — "

Teacher's aims —

To help pupils to enjoy the story.
To train them to read it orally, especially the
most expressive parts, so as to give pleasure.

Pupils' aim —
To read the story so that others will like it.

The teacher's part
This little steam engine acts
like a person. She has several ad-
ventures. Let us find what hap-
pens to her first to make her

Show how the engine acted in
this part.

The chili's part
Finds the sentences which tell
that she could not move the cars
up the hill.

Went along very well.

Came to hill, could not move

Pulled and pulled.

Puffed and puffed.
Backed and started off again.

Choo! Choo! Choo! Choo!

Read the sentence which shows "But no! the cars would not
she could not move the cars after go up the hill."

Read silently all the part that
tells about her going for help and
how the first big steam engine
treated her. One may be the lit-
tle steam engine, one the big

"Surely I can find some one to
help me."



steam engine, and act this part, "Choo, choo! Choo, choo!
reading the needed conversation. Choo, choo! Choo, choo!"

"Will you help me?" etc.

"Don't you see?" etc.

"Choo, choo! Choo, choo!
Choo, choo! Choo, choo!"

Treat the adventure with the
second big engine in the same

There are two parts to the
adventure with the little steam
engine, — (i) the little engine
agrees to help and they go back
together; (2) together they pull
the cars up the hill.

How fast do the engines sing "I — think — I — can! I —
at first? Sing the first part of think — I — can!
their song. (This should sound
like an engine's "Choo, choo!")

How fast do they sing at the "I think I can! I think I can!"
last? Show us. Several children give the entire

song changing from slow to fast
and to faster rates.

Where does this part end?

How is the second song of the
engine like her first song? Sing
this one.

"and said good-bye."

It begins slowly and grows
faster and faster.

Several children give this song,
changing their rate of speed as
the song progresses.

Assign each part to a pupil to Children decide whether they
read. Be sure that each knows can see the engines under the
where his part begins and where varying conditions and whether

it ends.

Work for contrast in the voices
when different conditions are

the speeches are well given.
"She puffed and she puffed."
"He was puffing and puffing, as

if he were tired."
"Puff, puffl"



Plan for a poem of child life to be given as an
appreciation lesson


Teacher's aim —

To picture the child sailing his boats and give
his thoughts about them.

Pupils' aim —

To hear a poem about a little boy sailing boats.

This poem is about a little boy who lived near
a river. One of his favorite plays was sailing
boats on the river. First he gives us a picture of
the river.

" Dark brown is the river,

Golden is the sand.

It flows along for ever

With trees on either hand."

As he puts his boats into the stream, he sees
other things floating, green leaves and water bub-

" Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating — "



and then he wonders —

" Where will all come home ? "

He watches and watches as they sail, asking
himself that question —

" Where will all come home?"

He sees the river moving steadily on —

" On goes the river

And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill."

Then he thinks that other children like to sail
boats on the river. He imagines that some chil-
dren a long way off may watch the river, and
may find the boats he is sending out on the river.

"Away down the river,

A hundred miles or more,

Other little children

Shall bring my boats ashore."

Would you like to find his boats?
The teacher reads the poem a second time with-
out comment.


Variety during the reading period
The thinking which the pupil does in response to
the printed page is the test of the value of his
work. In part his thinking is determined by his
motive in reading, in part by his own efforts at
interpretation. There is also a cooperative phase.
Through hearing the interpretations of his mates
and his teacher, and by presenting to them his
point of view, his own motives become clearer
and his thinking becomes richer. The purpose of
the reading recitation is to provide an atmos-
phere conducive to rich thinking.

We are beginning to realize that the responsi-
bility for the recitation must be placed more and
more upon the pupils themselves. This includes
the machinery of the recitation as well as its con-
tent. A few concrete cases will indicate the vari-
ous ways in which the children may assume a
larger share of work. A fourth-grade class, with
a leader of its own selection, discusses the lesson,


finding the significant parts and commenting
upon the characters. The members of a fifth
grade, with little suggestion from the teacher,
call on one another for opinions, ask for those
sentences or paragraphs which prove a given
point, and compare characters by reading the
descriptions given of each or the remarks by
which each character shows his views. The pupils
of a third-grade class have prepared questions on
the text which they now ask one another, the an-
swers being given by reading from the lesson. A
second grade has divided the lesson into parts.
A child names a part and reads the amount
which he considers that his title covers. Again,
drawings have been made as seatwork of some
pictures or events in the story. A drawing is
shown, and the children search for the sentence
or paragraph which it illustrates. A group of chil-
dren arrange a pantomime to illustrate some
part of the story, or each child illustrates some
action in the story. In either case the one who
guesses reads to the class the part which he thinks

The teacher's place
There is always a place for the teacher in a
recitation, even when the pupils are trained to


assume large responsibility. Her wider experience
makes it possible for her to ask questions and
offer comments which are stimulating to the
class. She may need to interrupt so as to prevent
the discussion from wandering off into triviali-
ties, to give the timid child a chance, and to prod
the lazy. At times the whole recitation must re-
main largely in her hands. The more she trains
her class into habits of assuming responsibility
and of exercising initiative, the larger will be the
return in thinking which is worth while. More-
over, by careful observation she will discover the
phases of reading in which her pupils need special
training. Are they bothered by word forms?
Drills may be necessary. Do they have trouble
in discovering essentials? Study recitations will
remedy this. Is their reading slipshod? Appre-
ciation lessons^may set new ideals.

What not to do
A certain group of trivial errors have at times
been given undue prominence in the minds of
teachers, causing unnecessary nervousness and
irritability because their origin is not understood.
When the pupil is reading orally he frequently
omits unessential words and substitutes syno-
nyms for the words of the text. Both of these



practices are perfectly natural, and in general
should cause little concern. Huey says, "If he
grasps, approximately, the total meaning of the
sentence in which the new word stands, he has
read the sentence. ... If the child substitutes
words of his own for some that are on the page,
provided that these express the meaning, it is an
encouraging sign that the reading has been real." 1
So, too, wrong habits of enunciation and pronun-
ciation cannot be thrown off in a moment. The
teacher who struggles too long over a single pu-
pil's mispronunciation might better make a vig-
orous attack in a private lesson. She needs to
be sure she understands the laws of habit forma-
tion. Class difficulties of this type should be met
in drill periods. Later it will be wise to commend
the correct use of a word which has been drilled
upon in this way. So growth is tested and en-

Linking the recitation to the assignment

Many reading recitations suggest questions

which can be answered only by further study,

comparisons which call for review of material

previously read, activities which are a natural

outgrowth of the thinking done in class, and

r Huey, op. cit., p. 349.



thoughts which call for reflection. Thus the class
helps in making the assignment for the study
period. The study recitation bridges the gap be-
tween the recitation and the study period. Grad-
ually the pupil learns to go from his class to his
study with definite plans for carrying further the
thinking of the reading recitation.

The study period

Concentration upon the work to be done, rea-
sonable speed in accomplishing it, results which
prove to be a real contribution to the class reci-
tation, — these are obvious characteristics of the
study period. Pupils should be trained to go to
work promptly. The conditions which interrupt
their study should be remedied. The assignment
should be clear, definite, and of reasonable length.
Like the seat work of little children, the study
problems of older pupils may alternate between
problems of thought and those of form. Their
study may deal with a lesson already given or
with a new one.

Whatever task is assigned for the study period
should first have been worked out in a study reci-
tation. A lesson is given in finding the important
characters in a story, in learning what kind of
people they are. Pupils verify their judgments


by reading passages which show what the charac-
ters said and did, what others said to them or
about them, and what the author definitely said
they were. A form for indicating these passages
needs to be taught. 1 When another story is taken,
the pupils may be assigned such work at their
seats. Perhaps separate characters may be as-
signed to different groups of pupils.

There should be definite growth in power to
study intelligently. Some problem, method of
analysis, or added enjoyment should give zest to
each study period. Each year's work should add
to the pupil's ability to read silently at a more
rapid rate and with a better degree of understand-
ing. It should assist him to get the book's mes-
sage with greater economy of time and effort, and
to be more certain of recalling what he has gained
from it. 2

Seat work related to reading

Little of the seat work which is used has much

educational value. The teacher needs to be

watchful that assigned seatwork does not become

routine in character. If it does it will fail to chal-

1 See page 16.

2 See Keith's Elementary Education, pp. 179-82; McMurry's
How to Study; Earhart's Teaching Children to Study.



lenge the child's ability as a problem worthy of
his time and thought and energy. Activity, bod-
ily movement should be utilized in far greater
degree than is usually done, but should be di-
rected toward worthy ends.

A group of children, one of whom is made
leader, may well spend a study period in drama-
tizing a story in hall or cloakroom, or in work-
ing out on the sand-table a representation of the
scenes in the story. When pupils work at their
seats, as in copying with letter cards or in draw-
ing a picture, it is necessary to have some pupils
read what they have copied or tell what they
have drawn. This acts as a check, showing that
the work is the child's own, not copied from his
neighbor. It also adds to his feeling of its worth.

Leading to thought mastery
Pictures in the story

Draw on paper or at blackboard, cut, lay with
sticks or lentils.

Copy with letter cards a sentence which gives a

People in the story

Draw, cut, lay with sticks.

Copy names with letter cards, copy one thing each
said, one thing each did.



Find and lay with letter cards, words or word
groups which give color, sound, movement, time,

When children have gained some independence in
reading, they can find in the story answers to ques-
tions. What does the wind sing ? What do the birds
sing ? What do the bees sing ?

In second grade they may draw a picture from the
story, the class to guess and read the sentence or
paragraph illustrated.

Leading to word mastery
Associating idea with word

Material — pictures of common objects, names of
objects on small cards.

Children place names beside pictures they

Associating isolated word with word in sentence

Material — words of lesson on small cards.

Children arrange words to make sentences of

Emphasizing phonic elements

Material — letter cards.

Children find and copy with letter cards rhyming
words in lesson; words whose sounds they enjoy
giving; words beginning with a certain sound;
words containing a certain phonogram,


Emphasizing dominant letters or syllables

Material — letter cards.

Teacher writes words on board, erasing lower
half of each word; children find words in reader
and lay with letter cards. Teacher writes dominant
letters or syllables of words, using dashes for letters
omitted; children find words in readers and lay
with letter cards.

Emphasizing known words

Material — advertisements in good print on good

Children cut out words which they know, past-
ing them in booklets. Each page may represent
one letter of the alphabet.

Help from the home

The home can make its best contribution
through companionship in the joys of reading.
When parents and children share charming
stories, beautiful poems, and stimulating in-
formation, the pupil has a larger contribution
to make to the recitation, and finds added op-
portunity for using the ideas gained in the reci-

Again the home carries a large responsibility
in the choice and amount of reading material at
the children's disposal. To supply a child with


his own library of books and magazines, to en-
courage his browsing in the home library, to
introduce him in due time to the children's
department of the public library, — these are
the duties and opportunities of parents. Perhaps
greater care in the choice of material is more
essential at present than emphasis on a greater
amount. This is especially true of books placed
in the hands of six- and seven-year-olds. These
are too often both crude and unchildlike. Teach-
ers and librarians can help parents who wish
direction in the choice of books.

Some children are greatly benefited by reading
aloud to parents or other members of the family.
A child who gains a rapid reading rate early may
need to be questioned regarding the thought of
his books. Practice is important, and the school
may not be able to furnish enough. By consulting
with the teacher, the parent may discover whether
a child needs more practice in oral reading or
more practice in reflecting upon what he reads.
By visiting the class, the parent may learn how
his child's reading compares with that of the

The home can also help by seeing that all de-
fects of teeth, eyes, ears, nose, and throat are
remedied so far as possible; that baby talk is


never permitted to become habitual; that correct
enunciation and pronunciation are established
in daily conversation; and, finally, that sweet,
clear voices are developed by habitual usage.



The need for standard tests in reading
The reading ability of a child may be measured
by comparison with that of adults, or with that
of his mates, or with his own past effort. The
reading ability of a class may be measured in the
same ways, due allowance always being made for
individual differences. Teachers are developing
the various phases of reading ability from day to
day; they need to be able to give fair tests to dis-
cover the attainments of the children. Supervis-
ors, too, have need for testing, although their
largest problem is to lead teachers to appreciate
the larger viewpoints in the work. The develop-
ment of standard tests in reading is a problem
solution of which has begun.

Thorndike names four types of ability in read-
ing which need measurement: " (i) a pupil's abil-
ity to pronounce words and sentences seen; (2) a
pupil's ability to understand the meaning of
words and sentences seen; (3) a pupil's ability to
appreciate and enjoy what we roughly call ' good
literature,' and (4) a pupil's ability to read orally,


clearly and effectively." 1 He offers a first rough
scale for measuring (i) and gives detailed studies
for measuring (2), with the promise that other
standards will be developed.

The problem of the new class
Upon receiving a new class, a teacher is likely
to underestimate their reading ability. A com-
mon practice is to spend some time in review ; the
better way is to begin at once with new material,
reviewing when the class has had experiences in
common with the new teacher. One teacher will
rejoice over the words and phonic elements which
the children rememrTer, inspiring them to recall
others; another will dwell upon those they have
forgotten, discouraging them from the start. Suc-
cess is too valuable a tonic for us to invite defeat
by fault-finding. Children should be happy in
their reading work even if the teacher does feel
discouraged. By working bravely even with a
slow class, and there are many such classes,
steady growth may be secured.

Reading in relation to promotion

Under ordinary conditions a child should pass

regularly from grade to grade, except when ill-

1 Thorndike's "The Measurement of Ability in Reading,"
Teachers College Record, September, 1914.



ness, a period of slow mental growth, or other
exceptional condition warrants retention in the
grade. A certain skill in reading may be expected,
within limits, upon the completion of each grade.

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Online LibraryFrances JenkinsReading in the primary grades → online text (page 6 of 7)