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pensive editions. A demand, therefore, arose for a book which should contain all of the poems recommended, and the collection of this material into this volume was undertaken by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., as they are the authorized publishers of more than half of the poems recommended. In this they were assisted by other publishers and by authors who kindly granted permission for the use of poems controlled by them.
Acknowledgment is due to Charles Scribner's Sons for the use of The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, taken from The Toiling of Felix and Other Poems, by Henry van Dyke, and for Nightfall in Dordrecht, taken from Second Book of Verse, by Eugene Field; to Little, Brown and Company for October's Bright Blue Weather, Down to Sleep, and September, by Helen Hunt Jackson; to J. B. Lippincott Company for Sheridan's Ride, by Thomas Buchanan Read; to E. P. Dutton and Company for Christmas Everywhere, by Phillips Brooks; to Fleming H. Revell Company for Our Flag, taken from Lyrics of Love, by Margaret Sangster.
Thanks are also due to the following authors for courteous permission to use the poems mentioned: to Mrs. Lydia Avery Coonley Ward for Why do Bells for Christmas Ring; to Eben E. Rexford for The Bluebird; to Richard Burton for Christmas Tide.
The value of this book has been greatly enhanced by an introduction by Miss Gowdy, who, as author of the course, is especially qualified to offer suggestions for the study of the recommended poems. The biography of Lowell was also written by Miss Gowdy. It is to be hoped that this book will prove useful to many teachers not only in Illinois but also in other States where the course is followed.
SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY
Literature in a Language Course.
Language work in our elementary schools should deal chiefly with the art of speech. Only when pupils have reached the last years of their common-school course are they ready for any study of the science of language. But long before this time they should begin to acquire power in selfexpression. Such language training should be provided as will tend to give some measure of clearness, freedom, and virility, as well as formal correctness of speech.
The outline for language work in the Illinois State Course of Study was prepared in the belief that wealth of thought and power in expression must develop together. In the series of composition exercises suggested in the course of study, the natural interests of the child are recognized, the interests that grow out of his home life, the life of the community, and the character of the surrounding country. To write acceptably he must write about subjects of which he has knowledge. But any series of language lessons that does not tend to make his own life and the world of which he is a part more interesting to him, more full of things to write about and talk about, is likely to fail of large language results. To help broaden and deepen the interests of the pupils, as well as to provide high ideals of expression, one or two poems for study are named each month in addition to the composition exercises and the more formal work of the Nearly a hundred poems are included in the six years' work outlined. They are all brought together for the first time in this volume.
Poems to be Studied Primarily as Literature.
The wise teacher will ask about each poem first of all, how it may be made to give pleasure and awaken thought. She will see in it a piece of literature, not merely material for a language lesson. The chief aim in teaching a descriptive poem should be to make the pictures in the poem more vivid, and thus to awaken the imagination or to kindle an appreciation of kindred beauties in the pupil's immediate environment. In teaching a narrative poem the sequence of events must first be made clear. After that is accomplished, the aim should be to give fuller meaning to the story by bringing out clearly the causes, motives, and results of acts.
The younger pupils will enjoy the poems without any thought of why they like them, but unconsciously their thought and speech will be moulded by the study. In the higher classes effective expressions and passages should be pointed out, and the means of producing effects should
Language Values in the Work.
But while the poems are to be studied primarily as literature, the teacher should be keenly conscious of the possibilities for language training connected with the work.
The study of literature more than any other subject demands leisurely work, time for thought to ripen and to find fitting expression. The true literature class is a conversation class, a class in which each pupil is led to interpret the author, and to express his own thoughts without selfconsciousness. It is of necessity a class in the art of expression.
Studying and memorizing the poems must enlarge the reading vocabularies of the pupils. The teacher should see that the work is made to enrich their writing and their speaking vocabularies as well. Children are too often satisfied with a slender list of words representing very general
ideas. One word is made to serve for a variety of special uses, the hearer being trusted to interpret it according to the circumstances under which it is used. In the talk about the poem the teacher should use the new and more definite words of the poet, thus leading his pupils to do the same. Professor George Herbert Palmer says, "Let any one who wants to see himself grow, resolve to adopt two new words each week. It will not be long before the endless and enchanting variety of the world will begin to reflect itself in his speech and in his mind as well." Does not this suggest an ideal which every language teacher should have for his pupils, and which he should strive to impart to them before their school lives end?
A few special word exercises may be suggested:
1. Make a list of descriptive words in the poem. What does each describe? Use it to describe something else. 2. Make a list of words that you never use. should you have used in the place of each if you had tried to express its meaning? Which word is better, yours or the author's? Why?
3. Give as many synonyms as you can for the following words (these to be selected by the teacher from the poem). Did the author make a good choice in each case?
Relation of Study to Composition Exercises.
Compositions should not often be based directly upon the poems. Pupils must be able to tell or write the story presented by a narrative poem, but no paraphrasing of descriptive passages should be called for. The conversations of the class hour will, however, often suggest subjects for compositions; and the general character of a poem studied in a given month has often determined the character of a composition suggested for the month. For example, a descriptive poem is often accompanied by a descriptive composition; and a narrative poem by a narrative composition.
Method of Presentation.
With younger children every poem should be studied first in class. After a few words of introduction fitted to arouse the interest of the children or to remove any bar between them and the poet, the teacher should read the poem as well as she can, not stopping for comment unless it seem necessary to do so in order to hold the interest of the children. After this first reading, the poem should be read again part by part. This is the time for question, explanation, and discussion. If time permit, the teacher should now read the poem a third time, that the final impression may be left by the author's own words. The whole or a part of the poem should now be memorized. Children will in this way learn with delight poems which they could not read by themselves with understanding or pleasure. Miss Dexheimer has used with children in the first grade many of the poems named in the third and the fourth year work.
With older pupils the amount of help given by the teacher should depend upon the character of the special poem to be studied. In the seventh month of the sixth year A Legend of the Northland and The Voice of Spring are the poems named. The former is a simple narrative poem, involving no difficulties in meaning or phraseology. It may be studied from the book with no help from the teacher but a simple statement of the character of the preparation to be made. When class time comes, the pupils may be expected to tell the story clearly and to explain allusions. They may be trusted to see the moral with no help from the teacher. The last stanzas may well be ignored, as the incidental moral lesson is more effective with young people than the sermon. No poem should be memorized until it has been read in class.
The Voice of Spring is a descriptive poem, dependent for its charm upon the music of the rhythm and its appropriateness to the joyous progress described by the poem, and upon the pictures presented, many of which are unfamiliar to Illinois children. The teacher's success here depends