It is now nearly three quarters of a century since the appearance
of the first edition of McGuffey's Readers, compiled by Dr.
William H. McGuffey. Revisions have since been made from time to
time as the advancement in educational theories and the changes
in methods of teaching seemed to demand. No other school text-
books have retained the popular favor so long or have exerted so
general and so wholesome an influence as has this series of Readers.
In preparing the present revision the aim of this compiler has
been to introduce such new matter and methods as the experience
and judgment of the best teachers have found most commendable and
desirable. He has at the same time endeavored to preserve those
essential features which have always distinguished the McGuffey
Readers and have so largely contributed to their success. While
the majority of the selections are new to the series, care has
been taken to maintain the same high literary and ethical
standard that has hitherto so distinctly characterized these
books. Lessons inculcating kindness, courage, obedience,
industry, thrift, true manliness, patriotism, and other duties
and obligations form no small portion of the contents. Selections
from the masterpieces of English literature include both the
older classical productions, without which no school can be
complete, and also choice extracts from many of the latest and
most popular writers.
The Elocutionary Introduction, by Professor F. Townsend
Southwick, presents in brief scope the most important rules for
oral reading and those principles of the art that are most
necessary for the pupils to master. The teacher should, at the
very onset, become thoroughly familiar with the subjects here
presented, and the pupils should be referred to this discussion
of elocutionary principles as often as occasion may require.
The more difficult words are defined, and their pronunciation is
indicated by diacritical marks. The object of this is to aid the
pupil in the ready preparation of the reading lesson, and not to
supply merely an exercise in the study of words. Short
explanatory notes are given wherever required for a full
understanding of the text. It is assumed, however, that the
pupils have already a general knowledge of most of the subjects
alluded to, or that they have ready access to the more common
books of reference, and therefore only occasional notes of this
character are necessary.
An alphabetical list of the authors of the various selections,
together with the brief biographical and critical notes, is given
as an appendix to the volume.
Acknowledgments are due to Messrs. Little, Brown & Co., Charles
Scribner's Sons, the Century Company, and other publishers who
generously permitted the use, in this series, of selections from
their copyrighted works.
The selections from Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, Emerson, and
Lucy Larcom are used by special arrangement with and permission
of Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., the authorized publishers of
the writings of these authors.
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New McGuffey Fourth Reader