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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1895, by
and ELMER E. BROWN,
State Board of Education
Of the State of California, for the People of the State of California,
C25 1894 Ni4
Thoughtful men and women recognize the formation of character as the ultimate object of all education. Conceiving literature to possess the chief stimulus to human excellence, the author of this book has striven, along one of the main lines of its construction, to develop and enrich this character growth of the child through the medium of the finest thought and best literary expression of all time.
There has been no attempt to make a formal presentation or to give a systematic knowledge of literature. The object of this feature of the work is merely to block, in a large and simple way, the time, and place, and thought of some of the masters of literary art. It is hoped that thus the child may be led to apprehend the characters and expression of classic writing in somewhat of their true perspective; that by the continually suggested relation between the works of great authors, he may be urged to further research and outlook, feeling that books and authors are his friends, and libraries his place of entertainment; and that by the company of noble thought and right feeling he may be developed in his best estate of mind and spirit.
For the sake of the large number of children who leave school before the age of twelve years, knowing how to read but not what to read, selections from the great writers have been made with unusual liberality in a book of this grade, together with a large reference to standard supplementary literature.
It is hoped that the teacher will so emphasize and encourage a continuation of the reading here mapped out and suggested, as to lay the foundation for profitable and pleasurable occupation of leisure hours to take the place of the desultory and idle, if not positively vicious, reading too often the resource of the children turned undirected from school.
It will be seen, also, that, in the “Hero Stories,” a large place is given to biography, and further, that the biography of common and unnoted lives — the lives with which the child will be always most familiar largely represented. The biography of heroism, which brings to the child a direct knowledge of noble men and women, is always full of fine contagion for the youthful mind.
The treatment of nature in this book has been in its larger features, and rather in its ideal aspects than on its scientific side. That this may appeal more readily and forcibly to young readers, our own beautiful environment of mountains and waters and woods, rather than the forests and flowers and fields of other regions, have been represented and idealized.
The author desires to refer, also, to what is said in the Third Reader respecting the attention that should be given to clearness and grace in vocal utterance, and to emphasize it here.
At the outset the principles that underlie good articulation and proper emphasis are set forth, with examples to illustrate them; while throughout the volume brief extracts are occasionally introduced for the purpose of giving special exercise in producing proper and pleasing vocal effects. In addition to the value of these exercises in favorably affecting the manner of reading, it should be remembered that the culture of the voice for reading well gives a charm to the same voice in conversation, and that speech marked by correct expression and a musical quality, is an acquisition of royal value to its possessor.
Grateful acknowledgment is made of the permission, cordially given, by Charles Scribner's Sons, The Century Company, and Roberts Brothers, for the use of valuable selections from standard American authors copyrighted by them.
The extracts from copyrighted publications of Houghton, Mifflin & Co. appear by special arrangement with that house.
SKETCHES OF NATURE-