South Carolina. State Dept. of Education.

Teachers' manual for the elementary schools of South Carolina .. online

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Under no circumstances should more than the eighth grade be
offered. Most counties in South Carolina are able to develop a
rural high school such as is contemplated by the High School Act
within walking or riding distance of all ninth grade pupils. Such
pupils should be encouraged to attend these high schools where
they can receive attention without detriment to the pupils of the
elementary schools.



Suggested Program for a Two-Teacher School,
Primary Grades.



Hour.


Time.


Grade.


Subject.


8:45- 9:00 ,


15


min.


All


Opening.


9:00- 9-15


15


min.


1


Primer.


9:15- 9:30


15


min.


1


First Reader.


9:30- 9:45


15


min.


2


Second Reader.


9:45-10:00


15


min.


3


Third Reader.


10:00-10:15


15


min.


1


Number Work.


10:15-10:30


15


min.


2


Arithmetic.


10:30-10:45


15


min.


All


Recess.


10:45-11:00


15


min.


3


Arithmetic.


11:00-11:15


15


min.


All


Stories and Conversa-
tion.


11:15-11:30


15


min.


All


Writing.


11:30-11:45


15


min.


2-3


SiDelling and Dictation.


11:45-12:00


15


min.


1


Primer.


12:00- 1:00


60


min.


All


Recess, play, school
gardening.


1:00- 1:15


15


min.


1


First Reader.


1:15- 1:30


15


min.


2


Second Reader.


1:30- 1:45


15


min.


2«&3


Language Work.


1:45- 2:00


15


min.


All


Stories and oral read-
ing by pupils.


2:00- 2:15


15


min.


All


Drawing.



39



Hour.


Time.


Grade.


Subject.


2:15- 2:30


15 min.


All


Eecess.


2:30- 2:45


15 min.


3


Eeading.


2:45- 3:15


30 min.


All


Nature study and man-
ual work correlating
with Reading, Num-
ber Work and Draw-
ing.


3:15- 3:30


15 min.


All


Hygiene.


3:30- 3:45
3:45


15 min.


All


Singing and Memory

Gems.
Dismissal.



At intervals between recitations teacher should direct the seat
work of pupils.

Advanced Grades.



Hour.


Time.


Grade.


Subject.


8:45- 9:00


15


min.


All


Opening.


9:00- 9:20


20


min.


4


Reading.


9:20- 9:40


20


min.


5


Reading.


9:40-10:00


20


min.


6«&7


Reading.


10:00-10:15


15


min.


4&5


Spelling.


10:15-10:30


15


min.


6&7


Spelling.


10:30-10:45


15


min.


All


Receys.


10:45-11:10


25


min.


4&5


Arithmetic.


11:10-11:35


25


min.


6&7


Arithmetic.


11 :35-ll :45


10


min.


4


Hygiene.


11 :45-12 :00


15


min.


All


Nature Study and Ag-
riculture.


12:00- 1:00


60


min.


All


Recess for dinner, play,
manual work, school
gardening and cook-
ing.


1:00- 1:15


15


min.


4


Language.


1:15- 1:30


15


min.


5


Language.


1:30- 1:45


15


min.


6


Grammar, Language.


1:45- 2:00


15


min.


7


Grammar, Language.


2:00- 2:15


15


min.


All


Writing and Drawing.


2:15- 2:30


15


min.


All


Recess.



40
Hour. Time. Grade. Subject.



2:30- 2:45


15 min.


6


Hygiene.


2:45- 3:00


15 min.


4


Geography.


3:00- 3-15


15 min.


5


Geography.


3:15- 3:30


15 min.


6&7


Geography.


3:30- 3:45


15 min.


5&6


History.


3:45- 4:00


15 min.


7


History and Civics.



If high school work is attempted in a two-teacher school, it
will shorten the recitation periods indicated above. The making
of a schedule for a school with three or more teachers is a
relatively simple matter. If a school employs three or more
teachers, it should usually teach two years of the high school
work unless another high school is situated near enough to
accommodate the pupils who have finished the elementary
grades. Under the State High School Law, a rural school with
fifteen pupils above the seventh grade and employing three teach-
ers, one of whom gives all his time to the high school work, may
receive State aid in an amount not to exceed $300.00. Rural trus-
tees should endeavor to take advantage of this Act whenever it
is possible.



41



Directions and Suggestions for Teaching the Course of Study

READING.

The ultimate basis of all knowledge is the personal experience
of the individual. In the acquisition of this basal element every
child born into the world must begin civilization anew. In terms
of this experience he must interpret the universe and the com-
pleteness of his interpretation will depend on the vitality and
richness of the fundamental concepts obtained through his own
senses by personal contact with nature and society. Since healthy
intellectual development demands that his mental images should
possess the definiteness and concreteness which alone come from
vital personal experience, the first and greatest task of the parent
and teacher is to bring the child into living touch with the sig-
nificant elements in his environment.

It is manifestly impossible for any individual by his own un-
aided experience to rediscover more than the merest rudiments
of the great fund of knowledge. Man has developed a spoken
and written language, and through this the knowledge acquired
by one generation is transmitted to successive generations, and
each of us becomes the potential heir to all that has been before
us. Reading is the key to these storehouses of knowledge and
rightly ranks first in importance among the studies of the ele-
mentary schools. With its two accompaniments, spelling and
writing, it is the most serious task of the first four school years.
No matter how crowded the daily program, nothing should be
allowed to trespass on the reading period. The elementary
schools of South Carolina would in most cases gain time and
efficiency by doubling the reading period, even though this
should make necessary the elimination or postponement of some
other subject. We should face frankly the fact that most of our
pupils are poor readers. Not only are they unable to stand up
before the class and read distinctly and with expression the
selections found in their readers, but a few questions will usually
develop the fact that the apprehension of the thought is even
more hazy than its expression. The process of getting the
thought from the printed page is frequently labored, even among
the pupils of the upper grades of the elementary schools. It is



42

no unusual thing to find pupils struggling with problems in
arithmetic in which the mathematics is easy enough, but in
which the inability of the learner to understand the language
of the statement has interposed an almost insurmountable diffi-
culty. Much of the lack of interest and most of the poor work
in other school subjects may be traced to the same source — the
failure of the pupils to translate the unfamiliar words of the
book into clear-cut ideas.

Yet, how often have we seen conscientious teachers slight a
reading lesson and hurry into some other subject under the false
notion that it was more important, when the truth is that the
inability of the pupils to read was making her efforts in the
other subject almost fruitless.

The reading lesson is especially important to the country child.
His intimate contact with a simple environment has given him a
rather definite stock of basal ideas. His vocabulary, however, is
usually much m.ore limited than that of the city child, and he
frequently fails to make connection between ideas perfectly
familiar to him and the words which the book uses to designate
these ideas. Recently I visited a school in which an intelligent
fourth grade was reading an account of the wanderings of
Ulysses. In the story some of the companions of the hero had
visited the home of Circe the Enchantress, and had been turned
into hogs. Ulysses himself set out to find his men and had also
reached the door of Circe's house when he was met by Mercury,
who admonished him of his danger and said : "Stop. Dost
thou not know that this is the house of Circe the Enchantress,
who has changed thy companions into filthy swine, and hast shut
them up in a loathsome sty?" Inquiry developed the fact that
not one of the class knew the meaning of either "swine" or "sty,"
although the ideas pig and pig-pen were perfectly familiar to
them. The true teacher of reading who deliberately sets about
to enlarge the working vocabulary of her pupils will be surprised
at the number of common words which are meaningless to them.
A pupil will sometimes develop admirable facility in the pro-
nunciation of words which have for him absolutely no signifi-
cance. We should not be deceived by this. It is said that when
Milton became blind, he was accustomed to have his daughter
read to him from the books which he loved. Much of his reading
was in Latin, and the daughter learned to call the Latin words
perfectly without in the slightest degree being able to under-



43

stand their significance. To Milton himself the language con-
veyed a lucid meaning. Can we not find many a parallel case in
the school rooms of South Carolina ?

When a pupil has truly learned to read, that is, when he has
acquired the ability in many subjects quickly and surely to
translate the printed page into definite concrete mental images,
he has a solid basis for an education. The storing of the facts
in the memory is a mere detail. Having acquired this ability,
many a man has through his own unaided efforts obtained a
well-rounded education. Let us make South Carolina schools
famous for their good reading.

What is Keading?

For many years, perhaps centuries, after the development of
language the spoken word was the principal means by which
thought was communicated. The spoken symbols representing
the ideas of the speaker awaken similar ideas associated with
the same sounds in the mind of the hearer. It is evident that
each must interpret the symbols in the terms of his own experi-
ence. These, however, are similar enough to insure at least a
measure of understanding. For the child, as well as the prim-
itive race, the tongue and the ear are the principal means of
communicating thought. As Dr. Harris expressed it, "Children
and uneducated people are 'ear-minded.' "

With the development of a written language the process of
communication becomes radically different. The eye and not
the ear becomes the important sense. Certain arbitrary written
symbols now stand for the spoken word and the mental image
back of it. These symbols awaken similar ideas in the mind of
the reader, and thought is communicated as perfectly as the
varjnng experiences of the two individuals will permit. In the
process the hand and the eye take the place of the tongue and
the ear. We tend to become "eye-minded." In English and the
other occidental languages the written symbol stands both for the
.spoken word and the idea it represents. In silent reading we
translate the visible written symbols directly into the ideas
which they signify. In every day life this silent thought-getting
from the printed page constitutes 99 per cent, of all our read-
ing. Ease and facility in doing it are necessary to the enjoy-
ment of reading itself and to success in other studies. To develop



44

this ability in the greatest measure should at all times be the
conscious aim of the teacher.

In true oral reading we translate the printed symbols into
thought, and at the same time into vocal expression. Oral read-
ing in school is a necessary step in the training for silent read-
ing, is also one of the surest means of stimulating interest
in school studies, and throughout life is a constant source of
pleasure. To teach the pupils to read aloud with ease, with
distinctness, and with proper expression of the thought should
be a second conscious aim of the teacher.

We have already referred to the dead frocess sojrietimes
called oral reading^ in which the printed word is pronounced
aloud but without any apprehension of the idea for which it
stands. This is not true reading, and the pupil derives from
it the same benefit that Milton's daughter obtained from reading
the Latin aloud to her father without any knowledge of the
language. The teacher should consciously aim to avoid this
worthless and harmful exercise which is found so frequently in
our schools.

Training in Silent Reading.

An extended observation of the South Carolina schools con-
vinces me that we are doing very little to train our pupils in
silent reading. In many school rooms the pupils seem to be
unable to study without moving their lips and whispering the
words as they read. This is the natural result of the usual
method of teaching reading. In nine-tenths of the classes which
I have observed the command of the teacher to read has meant
that the pupil should look at the words, move his lips, and pro-
nounce them aloud. Eeading has to him no other meaning.
When I have said to a pupil. "Look at the sentence and tell me
what it says," he is either helpless or will begin the whispering
process described above.

Many teachers have the bad habit of calling up the first
reader class, one at a time, and of pointing out the words with a
pencil as the pupil is expected to call them. This process, if long
continued, is absolutely prohibitive of progress in true reading.
After reading a page in this way, the pupil is usually unable
to state a single thought which has been obtained from it.
Moreover, he is forming the very bad habit of using words with-
out thought, and this should be discouraged even with the young.



45

Of course there is a word-learning stage in ever}^ lesson in which
there is little reading. To insure true reading the teacher will
keep up a constant review of the pages on which the words are
familiar. She will let the little reader step out of line, face the
class, read the line silently, then look up and tell the class what
it says. When one pupil has read a page in this way, another
will take his place till the review is completed. This method
not only cultivates the ability to get the thought by silent read-
ing, but gives the natural expression for which many teachers
struggle in vain. The teacher who has never tried this kind
of work will be surprised at the immediate response by the
pupils.

In the second and third grades, merely to read the paragraph
in the usual way, however well this maj' be done, will not neces-
sarily develop the ability to read silentl}'. Let the class turn
to some review lesson, have them read a paragraph silently, then
tell the substance of it. When one has told all he got from the
reading, let another supplement as long as anything can be
added. If a material point has been omitted, let the class re-read
and discover it. In the beginning of this w^ork it will frequently
be necessary for the teacher to ask questions in order to ascertain
what the pupil has found in the paragraph. After a little train-
ing the class should be allowed to read longer selections, or even
whole stories, and to give the thought in their own language.
Pupils should be encouraged to read special selections from the
school library and to tell the story to the class. The skilful
teacher can make this exercise take on all the interest of a good
game. Its value in language training is too obvious to need
special mention. If work of this kind be continued throughout
the first four school years, we will have little whisper study left
in our schools, and there will be a marked increase in the ability
of our pupils to master the other subjects which are now giving
us so much trouble.

Training in Oral Reading.

The primary purpose in oral reading is to convey to others
who are listening the full, clear meaning of the printed page.
Most of the oral reading which we see (the word "see" is used
intentionally), seems to have for its object the mere testing of
the child's ability to call words. Little attention is given to



46

his breathing, his enunciation, his expression, the carrying
power of his voice, or his ability to hold the attention of his
hearers. Most of the characteristics of good oral reading are
usually absent. The very nature of the recitation usually mili-
tates against the object to be attained. The pupils, especially
in the country school, are brought close to the teacher. They
read to her and not to the class. All the members of the class
have their books open at the selection to be read, thus making
good reading unnecessary to their understanding of the story.
The pupil who is reading realizes perfectly that his voice can
give nothing which his classmates do not already possess, and
he is thus left without a lively incentive to make himself under-
stood. The participation of the class in the recitation is usually
confined to the picking out of words which he has mispro-
nounced. To be sure, some work of this kind must be done by
the teacher as a training in silent reading, but she should care-
fully distinguish between this and true oral reading for expres-
sion. Expressive reading should be the last step in the study of
a lesson and should frequently be conducted with selections for
review. The reader should already have mastered the thought
and should be free to give his full attention to its expression.
He should be far enough removed from the listening section of
the class to insure an incentive to develop carrying power in his
voice. The other members of the class should close their books,
and their work should consist in indicating by a pre-arranged
signal when the voice becomes indistinct or the meaning hazy.
Special stories from the library or from supplementary readers
should be assigned to the pupils, who should study them care-
fully and read them to the other members of the class.

At somewhat longer intervals this exercise in oral reading
should include the whole school. If the teachers of South Caro-
lina will persist in this kind of training, the readings and reci-
tations which make up our school closing exercises will cease to
be the mere pantomime which is often found at present.

Enlarging the Child's Vocabulary.

When the' child starts to school he already possesses a limited
spoken vocabulary which he uses with considerable accuracy and
effectiveness. His first task is to learn to recognize quickly the
written symbols for these words. Before he progresses far, how-



47 .

ever, he Avill meet with other words which he does not habitually
use and of whose meaning he is either in complete ignorance, or
of which he possesses an incomplete idea. New facts in nature,
science, the industries, history, civics, and social relations, will
be hidden away in the words of his reader. Occasionally there
will be a new word for a familiar idea. To put meaning into
these words and make them a part of the child's using vocabulary
is an important function of the reading lesson.

It is through reading that we normally enlarge our vocabulary.
The dictionary serves merely as a check on the inferences which
we draw from the context of the word as we meet it repeatedly
in our reading. Through explanations, use in sentences, by
synonjnns, and by definition, the new word should be made
familiar at the time when its meaning will be most easily made
clear in the context, and when it is necessary to the full compre-
hension of the thought. A good reading lesson is necessarily a
lesson in nature study, history, civics, geography, agriculture,
mythology, or in any other subject whose vocabulary occurs in
the selection to be read. If the words "caterpillar" and "butter-
fly" occur in the first reader, an explanation or observation
showing the relation between these two forms of insect life 12
not merely an interesting diversion, but is necessary to the full
meaning of the words. On page IT of the Wheeler Second
Reader, we find the little three stanza selection,

"In the heart of a seed,

Buried deep, so deep,

A dear little plant

Lay fast asleep."
The word "seed" forms a part of the vocabulary of most children.
The idea involved, however, is in most cases imperfect. If
the teacher in connection with this lesson and the preceding one
will have the children examine a seed, find the little plant asleep
in it, wake up the plant by placing it between moist blotters, the
word would be much richer in meaning to the child. I once heard
a class reading a very interesting story of the defense of Bunker
Hill. In the selection the words "fortify" and "fortification"
occurred frequently. Inquiry developed the fact that not a
member of the class understood what it meant to "fortify" the
hill. The word should at least call up the mental image of a
line of men with picks and shovels digging a ditch and throw-
ing the dirt up into a wall behind which they might be pro-



, 48

tected from the bullets of an enemy. Sometimes a single sen-
tence might demand the attention of a class for an entire reci-
tation period. Let the teacher who doubts this statement
endeavor in less time to develop a concrete imagery for the
Revolutionary slogan, "Taxation without representation is
tyranny." We have taught nothing until the words "taxation,"
"representation," and "tyranny" each calls up a clear mental
picture. Each word contains an important lesson in civics. Fre-
quently in the study of a lesson the leacher should stop the
reading and ask the pupil to describe the picture called up by a
word or group of words. It will be discovered that the brightest
children think most concretely, that is, their mental pictures
are most clear-cut. Ordinarily we do not stop the train of thought
long enough to translate each word into its mental image, but
clear and confident thinking demands that we should be sure of
our ability to do this when we wish.

We can not hope to do any considerable part of the child's
reading during the regular recitation period. If we awaken his
interest and give him a method and motive for his individual
reading, and then supply him through the school library with
good books adapted to extensive reading, Ave may rest confident
in the final result.

We can not depend on the study of the dictionary to enlarge
the using vocabulary to any considerable extent. This has a
very definite place in determining pronunciation, in discrim-
inating between the finer shades of meaning in familiar words,
and in the definiti'on of words wholly unfamiliar. The pupil
should be taught definitely how to use the dictionary. A copy
of the pamphlet entitled, "How to use the Dictionary," published
for free distribution by G. & C. Merriam, Springfield, Mass.,
should be in the hands of every teacher.

Reading when properly taught, with due attention to the
word content, will give the pupil an introduction to the subject
matter of the other school studies, and those sudden and terrify-
ing plunges into unknown depths which now characterize our
school work will no longer be necessary.

Supplementary Reading.

The reading of the children should by no means be confined
to the adopted Readers. The pupils should not be required to
purchase unauthorized books, but the school library should be



49

supplied with books suited to all grades, and by special assign-
ment and otherwise the children should be encouraged to read
books adapted to their interest and understanding. In every
school library there should be one or more sets of supplementary
readers which may be placed in the hands of the class to develop
ability in sight reading, and to add variety to the work. These
sets of supplementary readers may be obtained as one of the
annual additions now provided for by the State Library Law.
When the regular readers have become hard for the class, it will
awaken new interest and give fresh courage to them to turn to
easier portions of the supplementary readers and enjoy the sto-
ries.

Suggested Supplementary Reading for the Elementary

Grades.

Third Grade.

Baldwin: Fifty Famous Stories Retold.

Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (abridged and simplified form).

Dopp: The Early Cave Men.

Dopp: The Tree Dwellers.

Eggleston : Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans.

Scudder: Verse and Prose for Beginners.

Shaw : Big People and Little People of Other Lands.

Fourth Grade.

Grimm's Tales.

Kipling: Just So Stories.

Scudder : Fables and Folk Stories.

Sewell: Black Beauty.

Wyss: Swiss Family Robinson.

Fifth Grade.

Arabian Nights.

Baldwin: American Book of Golden Deeds.

Brown : In the Days of Giants.

Harris: Uncle Remus.

Page: Two Little Confederates.

Scudder : Book of Legends.

Stevenson : Child's Garden of Verses.

4-T. M.



50

Sixth Grade.

Defoe: Eobinson Crusoe. (Larger Edition.)

Hawthorne : Wonderbook.


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Online LibrarySouth Carolina. State Dept. of EducationTeachers' manual for the elementary schools of South Carolina .. → online text (page 4 of 14)