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Elementary Literature

In the early 1900s, Harriet Treadwell and Margaret Free published an excellent series of elementary literature readers for young children.  In the Classical Liberal Arts Academy, these readers provide the content for our Elementary Literature courses.

With these books, besides merely learning to read, the child has the joy of reading the best in the language, and he is forming his taste for all subsequent reading. This development of taste should be recognized and encouraged. From time to time the children should be asked to choose what they would like to reread as a class, or individuals who read well aloud may be asked to select something already studied to read to the others. This kind of work gives the teacher opportunity to find out what is in a selection that the children like, and to commend what seems to her best.

The fact that some children voluntarily memorize a story or a poem should have hearty approval. It shows abiding interest and enjoyment, and it is likely to give, for the young child at least, the maximum of literary saturation.

Elementary Literature Primer

The Primer contains nine of the best folk tales, true to the original, and yet written in such a simple style that children can begin reading the real story during the first week in school.

Elementary Literature 1

The First Reader contains thirteen similar stories, of gradually increasing difficulty, and thirty-three of the best rhymes and jingles suitable for young children. This constitutes a course in literature, twenty-two stories and thirty-three child poems, as well adapted to first-grade children as are the selections for college entrance requirements to high-school students.

Elementary Literature 2

The Second Reader introduces fables and fairy stories and continues folk tales and simple poems. Others have used some of the same material in readers, but in a quite different way. Their purpose seems to have been to mix thoroughly.” We have organized the material: a group of fables, several groups of folk and fairy stories, a group of Mother Goose, of Rossetti, of Stevenson, and so on; so that the child may get a body, not a mere bit, of one kind of material before passing to another. Thus from the first he is trained to associate related literature and to organize what he reads.

Elementary Literature 3

The transition to the Third Reader will be found ea«y and to accord with the normal interests of the children. In prose the folk and fairy story is retained, but is merged into the wonder tale, which becomes a dominant note, while the fable gives place to more extended and more modern animal stories. The poetry begins with the group from Stevenson, whom the children have already learned to enjoy. Then follow selections from Lydia Maria Child, Lucy Larcom, Eugene Field, and a score of others dealing mainly with children’s interests in animals and other forms of nature.

Elementary Literature 4

The Fourth reader has been made essentially the book of myths and legends, because it is believed that these stories represent the next step in the development of the child’s interests in nature literature. In this year’s work the child studies eighteen of the best myths and legends, including some from Greek, Norse, German, Austrian, and American sources. The poetry is selected with the same care as in the earlier
books, with special reference to the child’s feeling for rhythm, love of animated nature, and enjoyment of fun.

Elementary Literature 5

Elementary Literature 6

Elementary Literature 7

Elementary Literature 8


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