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THE FIFTH READER
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.
The cultivation of this habit should begin with the primer. From the first page the child should go to the book to get thought, not merely exercise in word calling. The succeeding books should gradually develop a high and catholic taste, and foster this taste by establishing early the custom of reading standard books at home.
Child Classics have been prepared with these principles in view. In addition to providing a definite and 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 school-room 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.
Special attention has been given to the biographies of authors in the desire to make them interesting as well as instructive. As great men truly furnish the “very marrow of the world's history,” a vivid personal impression, especially glimpses of their childhood when ideals were forming, outvalues many dates and other encyclopedic details.
Lists of books for home reading edited for this series by Hamilton Wright Mabie are included in the Third, Fourth and Fifth Readers, not only for the direction of the child and the guidance of the teacher, but also to obtain the coöperation of parents in fixing in habit the taste for good literature created by the text books themselves. The notes appended for study have been prepared, not only to