I am very excited to share with you about these four little readers. And the best way I can do that is to just read a selection out for you.
“Nearly a hundred and fifty years ago William Homes McGuffey, gathered his own writings, and clippings, and selections from standard work. and he wrote the first four McGuffey Readers. Covering the areas of family life, farming, science, history, biography, secular and biblical literature, he presented his readers with a wide range of interests, and an even wider range than than which is found in today’s typical reading books. Since 1920 McGuffey readers have continued to sell, and have been used by schools and parents concerned about the content of children’s reading books.”
You might have found as a parent that it’s hard to go into the library or book store and find books that are at the right reading level for your children. What is wonderful about these McGuffey books is that they are very practical, in that they start at lesson one which is literally a sentence per line. The words are big and there’s good spacing between each word, making it comfortable for the beginner reader. Slowly as the stories go on, they start to introduce more complex vocabulary, which takes the reader progressively one small step at a time.
There are fifty to sixty short stories in each book. By the end of the book, the reader is doing multipart stories which are longer, broken into two, three or four parts. With each McGuffey reader the print decreases in size and the stories progress in length and difficulty. New vocal words used in the story are listed at the end of the story, giving the parent opportunity to discuss these new words with the reader. Comprehension questions are also included with the progression. By the time the reader reaches the fourth McGuffey book, they are reading literature at a university level.
I would like to close with a personal testimony about the McGuffey Readers. Each day I would ask my children to read their next story to me from their little McGuffey book. I would then be able to determine where they were struggling and help them along. I would remind them that as soon as they finished reading their McGuffey to me, I would read it back to them. So we made it a very comfortable, enjoyable and special time of bonding and experiencing the whole process of reading. Reading was not something to be afraid of and there were no negative connotations around it. We have been really blessed by these McGuffey books and hope you will be too!
In the Third Reader McGuffey continues his emphasis on lessons designed to build character. Nearly all the adventure stories, historical reports, biblical excerpts, nature articles and poetry include instruction and admonition to encourage a child in personal piety, social responsibility, patriotism and industriousness. Questions and a “Spell-and-Define” word list follow each lesson. All new questions, intended to aid in oral discussion or to provide written assignments, were written from the understanding and viewpoint of today’s child. The “Spell-and-Define” lists suggest words for spelling and vocabulary development. The numbers before each word refer to the paragraph or stanza where they are found.
The biblical selections of this reader are primarily from the poetry of the Old Testament – Psalms and Isaiah – and from the words of Jesus in the New Testament – ‘The Sermon on the Mount’. The nature lessons “focus upon the role that nature plays in helping us understand God and His ways.”