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When a community takes upon itself the responsibility of teaching its children to read it should assume at the same time that greater responsibility of teaching them what to read. A series of school readers designed to teach the art of reading should therefore carry in its pages that which will train in the choice of reading.
Child Classics have been prepared with these principles in view. In addition to providing a definite and yet flexible method for teaching beginners to read, effort has been made to include only material that may justly be called classic. The selections chosen have borne the repeated test of schoolroom trial both as to interest and careful grading. Care has also been taken to present a variety of appeal through the heroic, the imaginative, the humorous, the ethical and the realistic.
Good illustrations are a most important element in enlisting the sympathetic interest of children. Those in Child Classics are by the best artists and have a distinct value as examples of good drawing and composition. Care has been taken to keep the pictures in The First Reader free from the confusing details that a child can not readily understand. They tell simply and directly the stories told by the words and are a definite element in unfolding to the child the thought which the lessons contain. Acknowledgment is gratefully made to Sarah Stillwell Weber for the excellent illustrations in this book.
It is a pleasure to thank Miss Nebraska Cropsey, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Indianapolis, for suggestions concerning the teaching of reading covering a period of twenty years; Miss Alice Louise Harris, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Worcester, Massachusetts, for her helpful suggestions during the preparation of the manuscript and her critical examination of it in its completed form; and the many teachers who have tested the book in their classes.
It is the hope of the author that the book may bring happiness to the child and the teacher in whose hands it finds place.