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CALIFORNIA STATE SERIES
REVISED AND ADOPTED
CALIFORNIA STATE PRINTING DEPARTMENT
In the compilation of this book certain matter from "Seventh Year
A TALK WITH THE TEACHER
OMPETENT educational observers have warned teachers
against the danger of forgetting the goal in the consideration of the tools of education. Unless a clearly-set goal for teaching a subject is held steadfastly in mind, tradition and routine will surely deaden the work. There must be a fixed star for the successful pilot of an educational craft.
This Seventh Year Literature Reader has been prepared with this warning and this advice in mind. To avoid falling into the rut of tradition, the formation of the library habit has been set as the goal. All the materials—literary and pedagogical-have been organized to lead children to a robust liking for worth-while books.
With the library habit as the goal, there will be a clearer understanding of the real function of literature. Nearly all the school subjects lay great stress on information. But literature makes its appeal to the heart as well as to the intellect. Geography and arithmetic fit a pupil for the hours of labor in later life. Literature prepares him for the hours of leisure now and later. Literature makes the pupil a good companion for himself, and removes the appeal of cheap shows and unworthy companions. Literature is essentially noninformational, and finds its glory and its charm in that fact. No Gadgrind, bent on facts, should ever be permitted to teach a class in literature.
When teachers of literature measure their success by the number of good books read appreciatively during a term by their pupils, less time will be given to the prescribed Reader, and more to the quiet reading of many books during periods formerly given to recitations. Then every classroom will be supplied with at least as many library books as there are pupils in the room; and the teacher will prove more highly useful in quietly helping thirty pupils read thirty different books.
If the library habit is to be accepted as the goal in teaching reading in grammar grades, the teacher must be in sympathy with this viewpoint. She must know that the test of any plan in literature is a growing desire for good things to read; that variety and intensification must go hand-in-hand as working principles; that the purpose of oral reading is entertainment, and that if this purpose is to be maintained, new material outside the Readers must be brought continually before the class; that memorizing short, choice productions leads rapidly to increased literary appreciation; that author work should as a rule follow rather than precede the study of a classic; that correlations of certain subjects with literature are helpful, while others are harmful; that the teacher should do much interpretative reading, and little talking; that the recitation may be rendered more interesting by frequent dramatization; that the best possible examination in literature is a pupil's oral reading.
No doubt most of these elements of successful teaching of literature are held in mind more or less by all teachers. But as the most profitable use of these Literature Readers in the schools of California depends upon a firm grasp of all these factors, it is deemed advisable to suggest them definitely one by one. It will probably prove helpful to teachers to turn to “A Talk With the Teacher" in the Sixth Year Literature Reader, wherein all these matters have been carefully considered.