The object of the Christian Brothers in issuing a new series of Readers is to place in the hands of the teachers and pupils of our Catholic schools a set of books embodying the matter and methods best suited to their needs. The matter has been written or chosen with a view to interest and instruct, to cultivate a taste for the best literature, to build up a strong moral character and to imbue our children with an intelligent love of Faith and Country. The methods are those approved by the most experienced and progressive teachers of reading in Europe and America.
These Readers have also been specially designed to elicit thought and facilitate literary composition. In furtherance of this idea, class talks, word study, the structure of sentences, drills on certain correct forms of expression, the proper arrangement of ideas, explanation of phrases and literary expressions, oral and written reproductions of narrations and descriptions, and exercises in original composition, all receive the attention which their importance demands. Thus will the pupils, while learning to read and from their earliest years, acquire that readiness in grasping the thoughts of others and that fluency in expressing their own, which are so essential to a good English education.
In teaching the art of Reading as well as that of Composition, the principle of order should in a great measure determine the value of the methods to be employed. In the acquisition of knowledge, the child instinctively follows the order of nature. This order is first, observation; second, thought; third, expression. It becomes the duty of the teacher, consequently, to lead the child to observe accurately, to think clearly, and to express his thoughts correctly. And text-books are useful only in so far as they supply the teacher with the material and the system best calculated to accomplish such results.
It is therefore hoped that the present new series of Readers, having been planned in accordance with the principle just enunciated, will prove a valuable adjunct in our Catholic schools.
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In this Fifth Reader of the De La Salle Series the plan of the preceding numbers has been continued. The pupil has now mastered the mechanical difficulties of learning to read, and has acquired a fairly good working vocabulary. Hence he is prepared to read intelligently and with some degree of fluency and pleasure. Now is the time to lead him to acquire a taste for good reading. The selections have been drawn mainly from authors whose writings are distinguished for their moral and literary value, and whose style is sure to excite a lasting interest.
In addition to giving the pupil practice in reading and forming a basis for oral and written composition work, these selections will raise his ideas of right living, will quicken his imagination, will give him his first knowledge of many things, stimulate his powers of observation, enlarge his vocabulary, and correct and refine his mode of expression. A wholesome reading habit, so important to-day, will thus be easily, pleasantly and unconsciously formed.