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MANY selections of excellent matter have lately been made for the
benefit of young persons. Performances of this kind are of so great utility, that fresh productions of them, and new attempts to improve the young mind, will scarcely be deemed superfluous, if the writer make his compilation instructive and interesting, and sufficiently distinct from others.
The present work, as the title expresses, aims at the attainment of three objects: to improve youth in the art of reading; to meliorate their language and senti ments; and to inculcate some of the most important principles of piety and virtue.
The pieces selected, not only give exercise to a great variety of emotions, and the correspondent tones and variations of voice, but contain sentences and mem bers of sentences, which are diversified, proportioned and pointed with accuracy. Exercises of this nature are, it is presumed, well calculated to teach youth to read with propriety and effect. A selection of sentences, in which variety and propor tion, with exact punctuation, have been carefully observed, in all their parts well as with respect to one another will probably have much greater effect properly teaching the art of reading than is commonly imagined. In such structions, every thing is accommodated to the understanding and the voter the common difficulties in learning to read welf are obviated. When the will has acquired a habit of reading such sentences, with justness and facilces mure readily apply that habit, and the improvements he has made, to s complicated and irregular, and of a construction entirely differen
Arefully regar The language of the pieces chosen for this collection, has beggance of diction ed. Purity, propriety, perspicuity, and, in many instances,
distinguish them. They are extracted from the works of th most correct and el der may expect to find them connected and regula sufficiently important From the sources whence the sentimes are drawn, the reaand impressive, and divested of every thing that is either trite or eccentric. The frequent perusal of such composition, naturally tends to infuse a taste re
and of compe ate influ
for this species of excellence; and to produce a habit of the of ex ing, with judgment and accuracy.*
earner. Some rules and That this collection may also serve the however, be found useful, to the Compiler has introduced many extrus modes of utterance; to give the able light; and which recommend af the subject; and to assist him in lence of their nature, and the happy rate mode of delivery. The obser
ting perspicuous and elega
*The learner, in his progress thro make, for these purposes, may be with numerous instances of ce following heads: PROPER LOUDNESS OF English Grammar. FINESS; SLOWNESS; PROPRIETY OF PRONUN ed in the utility of MPHASIS; TONES; PAUSES; and MODE OF RFAll terity.
It is proper read accuraty of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is auxiliarische writings of Dr. Blair, and to the Encyclopedia Britannica. ciples or
are exhibited in a style and manner, which are calculated to arrest the attention of youth; and to make strong and durable impressions on their minds.*
The Compiler has been careful, to avoid every expression and sentiment that might gratify a corrupt mind, or, in the least degree offend the eye or ear of innocence. This he conceives to be peculiarly incumbent on every person who writes for the benefit of youth. It would, indeed, be a great and happy improvement in education, if no writings were allowed to come under their notice, but such as are perfectly innocent; and if, on all proper occasions, they were encouraged to pe ruse those which tend to inspire a due reverence for virtue and an abhorrence of vice, as well as to animate them with sentiments of piety and goodness. Such im. pressions deeply engraven on their minds, and connected with all their attainments, could scarcely fail of attending them through life; and of producing a solidity of principle and character, that would be able to resist the danger arising from future intercourse with the world.
The Author has endeavored to relieve the grave and serious parts of his collec tion, by the occasional admission of pieces which amuse as well as instruct. If, however, any of his readers should think it contains too great a proportion of the former, it may be some apology, to observe that, in the existing publications, designed for the perusal of young persons, the preponderance is greatly on the side of gay and amusing productions. Too much attention may be paid to this medium of improvement. When the imagination, of youth especially, is much entertained, the sober dictates of the understanding are regarded with indifference; and the influence of good affections, is either feeble, or transient. A temperate use of ch entertainment seems therefore requisite, to afford proper scope for the operaof the understanding and the heart.
to yueader will perceive, that the Compiler has been solicitous to recommend work, sersons, the perusal of the sacred Scriptures, by interspersing through his ings. Tof the most beautiful and interesting passages of those invaluable writof so high ime an early taste and veneration for this great rule of life, is a point occasion. ance, as to warrant the attempt to promote it on every proper
To improve the y
duous and important k of education, were the motives which led to this producon. If the Author shou be so successful as to accomplish these ends, even in a all degree, he will think that his time and pains have been well employed; and
mind, and to afford some assistance to tutors, in the ar
1 deem himselfmply rewarded.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.
TO read with propriety is a pleasing and important attainment; productive of improvement both to the understanding and the heart. (It is essential to a complete reader that he minutely perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whose sentiments he professes to repeat for how is it possible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate conceptions of ourselves If there were no other benefits resulting from the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under, of precisely ascertaining the mean ing of what we read; and the habit thence acquired, of doing this with facility, both when reading silently and aloud, they would constitute a sufficient compensation for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings; and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are considerations, which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art. The perfect attainment of it doubtless requires great attention and practice, joined to extraordinary natural powers: but as there are many degrees of excellence in the art, the student whose aims fall short of perfection will find himself amply rewarded for every exertion he may think proper to make.
To give rules for the management of the voice in reading, by which the necessary pauses, emphasis, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not possible. After all the directions that can be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructor: much will be attainable by no other means, than the force of example influencing the imitative powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on these heads will, however, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance; to give the young reader some taste of the subject; and to assist him in acquiring a just and accurate mode of delivery. The observations which we have to make, for these purposes, may be comprised under the following heads: PROPER LOUDNESS OF VOICE; DISTINCTNESS; SLOWNESS; PROPRIETY OF PRONU CIATION; EMPHASIS; TONES; PAUSES; and MODE OF RF All
For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the Author is debted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and to the Encyclopedia Britannica.