Gateway to the Classics: Primary Reading and Literature by
Primary Reading and Literature by 

Section I

Pupils Use the Primer from the First

The Little Red Hen

The teacher tells the children the story, as a whole. She uses good English, vivid description, simple natural dialogue, but does not confine herself to the text of the "Primer." She lets the children talk about the story, draw pictures, and dramatize the incidents told. This precedes the reading lesson which comes at a later time during the day.

First Reading Lesson

The teacher recalls the story by means of a question or two, and writes, as plain as print, The Little Red Hen, upon the board. She tells the children the whole group of words, not trying to separate it in their minds into words nor to drill upon it at all—merely to let the children know she has written the name of the story. Later, when she wishes to use these words in her conversation, she takes care to point to the whole group on the blackboard as she speaks it. She opens a primer before the pupils, teaches them how to hold a book and turn the leaves. Then, pointing to the group of words on the board, she says, "I'll show you a picture of the little red hen," and turns to page 1. She then gives a book to each pupil. Each is to keep his book closed until told otherwise. When all are ready, the teachers points again to the board, and says, "Find a picture of the little red hen  on the outside of the primer." When all have done as directed, she suggests, "Find a picture of this  inside your book," writing instead of speaking the name, The Little Red Hen. "Find the very first  picture of this," pointing again to the name. "Show me her name on the page." "What does it say?" The name of the story may be written three or four times, in different colors.

This may be followed by writing on the board the name of the child the teacher wishes to gather and put away the books. Then she writes the word, Rise, if she wishes the pupils to go to their seats; at first speaking the word each time she refers to the board, later pointing to the word instead of speaking it.

Second Lesson

The teacher steps to the board and writes, The Little Red Hen. "This is the story I'm thinking about," pointing instead of speaking the name. The children will probably read the name of the story. If they do not, the teacher may show the tiniest glimpse of the picture on page 1 in the "Primer." The teacher commends those who know the story she had in mind and then erases the words. "Now  I'm thinking about this  story," she says, as if she meant another one, and writes the same title on the board. She remembers that often repeated experiences are necessary to impress images of words upon the minds of little children learning to read. Some children can tell at once. But for others, she writes again in another place on the board, The Little Red Hen, and says, "What does this make you  think of?" She gives the slower ones a chance to tell. The teacher then holds up a strip of paper on which she has written, The little red hen found a seed. "This tells what she found, " she says, and several children read it. The teacher then writes the same sentence on the board. "Can you read this?" she asks. Some child probably can do so, but not every one in the class. "See what this  says"—and she writes the same sentence under the first. She writes this same thing perhaps half a dozen times on the board, in such a way that like words come one under another—and until the class see the likenesses. Then, when all are expecting the same sentence to appear once more, she writes a different one, "It was a wheat seed," and looking expectantly toward the class asks, "Who can read this?" Some will at once respond, "The little red hen found a seed!" The teacher leads them to see the joke she played on them when they wee not expecting it. "I wrote something different this time. See how it begins—not at all like The little"—pointing to these words as she speaks them. "I said 'It was a wheat seed.' You see the last part is  just the same. That is the word seed. Here it is again where we said 'The little red hen found a seed.' Can you see it anywhere else on the board?"

Then she closes the lesson by asking various children to erase certain sentences from the board, pupils at seats clapping if the child at the board touches and erases the correct sentence.

Third Lesson

Before class time the teacher has written on the board,

          The little red hen found a seed.
          The little red hen found a seed.
          The little red hen found a seed.
          It was a wheat seed.
          It was a wheat seed.
          seed      seed      seed      little      little     
          found      found      found a seed     

The arrangement of these sentences and of the words for drill should be varied.

"Find some words that look alike to you," she directs some child. She shows what she means by a word, by pointing not to the center nor to the beginning of the group of letters, but by moving the pointer under the whole word, or by putting her two hands around the word.

After the children have pointed to various groups of similar words (not naming  them, for they are not expected to recognize isolated words yet) the teacher says, "If I should tell you one word, you could know whenever I was writing about that thing. here is seed. Where else was I thinking seed?  Here is all I said that time," pointing to the sentence written first, and reading aloud, "The little red hen found a seed." "Did you hear that word seed  as I spoke? It was the last one I said—and the last one I wrote. Can you find which part of the sentence says red? little?" Carry this device as far as seems advisable.

Do not teach the words the  and a  as isolated words. Directions like this should be given: Find "a seed," or find "The little red hen." Which word is red?  Which is hen?  Which is little? 

It is unnecessary to separate a, the, and an  from the names, for these words recur so often they practically teach themselves, if just slipped in by the teacher when necessary, as a seed, the little red hen.  There is much danger of too great importance and stress being placed upon these words, thereby spoiling the expression in oral reading.

This is not meant for a drill, and the teacher must not expect pupils to remember the words. It is merely a voyage of discovery in which the children who have so far thought in sentences now discover that a sentence can be separated into words.

The class is dismissed by allowing the pupils to take turns in reading a sentence as the teacher erases it from the board, thus saving their time and hers.

Fourth Lesson

Before class time the teacher has printed on strips of manila paper, by use of a sign printer, or in some other way, the two sentences used in writing the day before, and also the separate word seed, and the title, "The Little Red Hen." This last she holds up and asks the children to find in the book where it says, "The Little Red Hen," pointing to her printed words as she speaks. "Point to the next place where it says,—" and she does not speak the phrase as she holds up the paper. "I see a little seed, (holding up word) in the picture. This is the name. You may touch the picture. Find the word seed  under your picture. It looks like word, only smaller. . . . Find the word seed  in another place." During this time the teacher moves about among the children, showing them several words like hers.

Holding up her first printed slip she says, "Find in your books a sentence that looks like this. It says, 'The little red hen found a seed.' Find another line just like it. . . . What does that  say?" asks the teacher of several children. Then she treats the other lines on the page in a similar way. As a summary of the lesson, she stands behind the class, where she can see as many individuals as possible, and reads a sentence at a time, seeing that they show where their books say what she speaks.

Fifth Lesson, Page 3

"Play you are the little red hen, Anne," says the teacher, pointing, as she speaks them, to the underlined words which she has written on the board. A few grains of what have been scattered about on the floor before the class, and Anne hunts about and finds one, saying, "Who will plant the seed?" "What did she find, Isabel?" asks the teacher. "I'll write it here on the board, "The little red hen found a seed"—she writes. "Read this sentence, Miriam—Russel—Ruth."

"What kind of seed was it, Little Red Hen? she asks, turning to Anne.

"It was a wheat seed," the child answers. "I'll write that on the board," says the teacher, as she begins.

"Read this sentence, James—Russel—Helen."

"Read both these sentences, Edwin."

"What did 'The Little Red Hen' say, Katherine?" asks the teacher, pointing to the sentences as she speaks it. Children answer, and teacher writes, "The little red hen said, 'Who will plant the seed?' " Different children read and re-read the various sentences on the board, and when the class turns to go to their seats, each child points to some word or sentence or phrase on the board as he goes by—the teacher giving a hint as she gives her directions, by saying, "I don't know what word you'll choose to touch and tell. Perhaps you'll point to seed  (doing so herself as she speaks), or perhaps you'll choose plant  (pointing to the word), or it may be you'll point to 'The little red hen'—you see I don't know. You are to decide." Then children in turn march past the board and back to their seats, touching and pronouncing "their words" as they go.

Sixth Lesson, Page 3

The teacher has prepared by the use of a sign printer, or with a supply of the large printed words furnished by the publishers of "The Primer," the printed sentences used on page 3. She holds up the first and asks some child to read it. Possibly he cannot, or attempts and guesses wrong. The teacher reads it correctly, saying, perhaps, "Now, next time you'll know. See this beginning part—Thelittlered hen. And here is this last word seed. Don't forget. What does this say?" Then, laying down the printed slip with the others—and seeming to pick up another she asks, "Read what this  says, Alice," showing the same sentence. This device is often used, until pupils recognize likenesses and can tell every time when the teacher makes this kind of test. After using all the sentences on the page in this way, with large printed slips, the teacher asks the pupils to open their books at page 3 and read the same sentences from the book. While one child reads, the others show where it says the same thing in their books. The notion that there is value in having one child tell  the others a sentence whose content is already perfectly familiar—while they sit with closed books and assume an interest they do not feel—is an exploded idea. It is only the form on page 3 that is new, and this form must appeal to the eye, not the ear; therefore the children ought to be using their eyes while they are listening to one child read.

Seventh Lesson, Preparing for Page 4

The teacher stands at the board before the class and says—writing italicized words neatly but quickly as she speaks them—"To-day we shall plant  some wheat seeds as the little hen did—only ours must be in these little boxes" (one for each child). (See suggestions for hand work on page 38.) "Here is the seed. Who will plant the seed?  Play you are the cat, Anne. Play you are the pig, Kate. Play you are the dog, Vera. This is what each one said when the hen asked, 'Who will plant the seed?' . . . 'Not I,' 'Not I,' 'Not I.' " 

"Play you are the The Little Red Hen, Frances. Ask your friends 'Who will plant the seed?' "  Children answer as teacher points, or point and answer—"Not I." "The little red hen said, 'I will,' "  writes the teacher as Frances answers her friends. "You may plant the seed  in your box, Frances." Frances plants several seeds. Then other children play they are the different animals mentioned and as the lesson proceeds, different ones point to their names or to their conversation on the board as this little incident in the story is acted and re-acted, and various "little red hens" plant the seeds in their boxes. If time is short, the teacher may say the parts for the pig, the cat, and the dog, writing or pointing as she speaks, while all who are left may play they are a whole flock of "little red hens" and answer all at once as they plant the wheat.

Eighth Lesson, Page 4

Let the memory of the story help the children enjoy this page. It will be partly guessing and partly reading. The teacher must lead the pupils to guess correctly  at this stage of reading. You may rest assured that the work in phonics, if well taught, will do a way with any need for guessing a little later in the term.

Each child opens his book to the page. "Let us tell the story from the picture first. Who talked first? . . . What did she say? . . . I'll show you where the reading on the page tells that very thing!" Then she turns her book to show the pupils the very thing they have told from the picture.

"Here is the fellow who spoke next," she says, pointing to the picture of the pig. "What did he say?" She may need to re-word the child's answer to fit the wording of the next sentence—"Yes, the pig said, 'Not I.' . . . Here is where the book tells about it," and she points to the sentence... "Who spoke next? Show me her picture. What did she say? Here it tells that very thing. Let's all say it. Show me where it is in your book. Now read what the dog said. . . . I'll  read the last line on the page."

Then the teacher goes about behind the different members of the class and asks them to show her where it says "Not I, Not I, Not I," on the page. She directs them to find the same thing on page 5, saying, "That tells the next part of the story when the little red hen asked them to do some other work for her.

Ninth Lesson, Review

Children use books, "reading" page 1, looking at the first line on page 2, and then telling it. The teacher may stop here and ask pupils to point out the words seed, little,  and wheat  using perception cards to show the words to all while she does so.

By questioning, lead the pupils to look through each sentence on the page and then read it aloud. Then without questions, let some pupil read the whole page, telling him at once the sentences he does not know. Of course, just here, pupils can sometimes "read the story" quite as well without the book, but that does not matter. The point is, can he show where, on the page, the familiar thought stands? Treat the next two pages in the same way, and see to it that each child has a chance to read aloud in the recitation many times, occasionally in concert—but usually alone.

Tenth Lesson, Page 5

Caution.—Do not hurry to drill on separate words. Do not try to teach these lessons as you yourself were taught to read, unless you are sure  it was the best way.

The teacher begins, "Look at the picture. This wheat is taller than that we planted. What does the hen want the pig to do now? Books are laid aside and attention given to blackboard lesson at this point."

"I'll tell you what she said"—(writing) The little red hen—(stops to ask—"Who is this?") said, "Who will cut the wheat?"  This is who spoke next.

The pig. . . .  (Who is this?)

The cat. . . .

The dog. . . . 

"Tell me the names of these three animals. Point to The cat. The dog. The pig. . . . Shut your eyes while I write something." . . . The teacher writes these groups of words in different places on the board. Then the children open their eyes and she directs—"Find another place where I wrote The cat. Where does it say The pig?" pointing to words as she speaks, so that pupils have some thing by which to test their search. Their own mental images of the words may be too confused and indistinct. The teacher will save time if she finds excuses for telling  these words over and over again in an interesting way, and seeing that the children strengthen and deepen the correct image of word, phrase, or sentence. If she expects to tell once, and then test memory on the strength of that one impression, she will meet disappointments, and will lose the confidence of her pupils, who feel she has led them into deep water and left them helpless.

To finish the first story

For the following pages of the story let the pictures help tell the new thought—"Who will thresh the wheat?" "Who will grind the wheat?"  etc., and let a varied repetition in script and print gradually make the child sure of these and the other often repeated sentences from page 1 to page 10.

If a child does not recognize familiar words in new positions on new pages, turn to review pages which he knows thoroughly and show him where it says the very same thing. Tell  him only so much as is really necessary. Let him stretch his effort to the utmost, but be sure  he succeeds in the end.

When the children can read a story well, they may be allowed to take their books home to read to Mother and Father or to other children. This will give much practice in oral reading with a genuine motive.

The same order of work, as outlined with the first story may be followed, in a general way, with each of the Primer stories. After pupils have a sufficient sight vocabulary, the teacher should not tell the story. Let the children have the pleasure of getting its thought by their own effort. The general order, however, should be as follows:

1. Teacher tells the story.

2. Reproduction by the children.

3. Dramatization.

4. Reading sentences from the board and finally, the story.

5. Drill with perception cards on Primer stories, as they are taught: This drill should be thorough, that it will not be required after the Primer is completed. Meantime, the child's growing knowledge of phonics should enable him to master most new words as they appear in the lessons.

6. Drill with phonic cards. This work should begin with the second story and these cards should be used for drill until pupils are thoroughly familiar with all consonant elements.

Preparation, Page 15

Let the first presentation here be from the blackboard. Italicized words are written on board—others spoken.

"I'll tell you more about The Gingerbread Boy.  The gingerbread boy met a cat. 

He told the cat who he was. He said—

'I am a gingerbread boy. I am. I am. I am.' 

Play you are the gingerbread boy. Tell us who you are" (pointing to sentence while child repeats).

"What did you do?" Writes as child says—

"I ran away. I ran away from the little old woman. I ran away from the little old man. I ran away. I ran away. I ran away." 

"This is what he told the cat"—(teacher reads as she writes—)

"I can run away from you. I can, I can, I can. 

"Find where it says, I can.

I can run away from you." 

Teacher reads and writes—

"And he ran, and he ran, and he ran." 

She then goes back over the lesson on the board, hinting at how easy it will seem, now that they know what is there. She questions just enough to keep the children reading intelligently—not holding them for a knowledge of many separate words, but knowing that frequent repetition, if interesting, will do the work, and children will be reading before they know it.

Further Preparation, Pages 15 and 16

The teacher prints the sentences with a sign printer on strips of paper five inches wide and a yard or more long, uses the "Perception Cards" or the blackboard. She questions carefully, and shows a sentence suggested by the question for all the class to see. After it is ready by several it is put aside, to be picked up in a moment, and again shown to the class, while the image is fresh in their minds. Again and again the same sentence is shown—until the children know it promptly at sight.

Then the book is opened and the children have the fun of finding themselves able to "read the story."

Similar preparation should be given for pages 17-24. No page in the book should be attempted until there has been:

1. Careful introduction to the thought, usually with blackboard, because here class and teacher come nearer to each other.

2. Enough word-drill so that the recognition of sentences in the book is a pleasurable experience.

3. Enough imagination stimulated through the pictures, the dramatization, the dialogue, to keep the story alive.

While the children are reading the second story, teach consonant elements as follows:

r in r ed h in h en p in p ig

The child knows these words at sight. When red is placed on the board as r ed, he may not recognize it; but if a line be made to connect the parts, he will, in most cases, readily say the word. This connecting line will not be needed after a very few words are studied in this way.

The Old Woman and the Pig

This story should be told to the children and re-told by them, at the story hour or language period, before the reading begins, because there are several words and phrases not in the speaking vocabulary of the ordinary child. Drawing pictures and playing parts of the story add interest on the part of the children, and give the teacher greater opportunity to correct wrong images the child may have formed through hearing the spoken words.

When this has been done, the preparation needed on the form side is much lessened. The preliminary blackboard work may not be shortened to merely a word-drill—as in the lessons previously outlined. A list of words already learned should be kept on the board and children should be drilled on this list as well as with the perception cards.

Devices for conducting this word-drill: 

The teacher tells the children to find the first word.

She has some child find the word in another place.

Tell the children to find the second word.

Then ask another child to tell all the words he knows from the board. The drill may be thus extended, or the teacher may give occasional concert drills as follows:

1. She touches a word with the pointer, and waits until all see. Children keep silent but alert. As soon as she removes the pointer, all  speak with great promptness.  Concert drills thus conducted give slower members of the class a fair chance, and promote self-control in the quicker members who want to tell everything.

2. She points to a word with her eraser. All look and keep silent. When the eraser moves over the word, all speak.

When the children are ready to read page 26, the teacher has at hand the list of words printed in large type two inches high and just before the children read each sentence she shows for a second one or two of the key words of that sentence—thus giving a hint of what it is to tell them.

At the end of the lesson the teacher should give short, quick drills on these words, and perhaps lend them to some child to take home and tell his mother. "Be sure to tell her it is not a spelling lesson!" she warns him—for most well-meaning mothers are strong on teaching spelling, before it is wanted or needed.

After a page has been worked out sentence by sentence, it should not be dropped and forgotten. It should be re-read as a whole by several children, and gone back to in subsequent lessons to be read "just for fun," and "to make it sound like a story."

But if every lesson there should be some new work; either words and thoughts not given before, or so differently arranged that they seem new to the children. It is only by pushing forward  that the teaching of reading is accomplished.

As indicated, drill in the phonic series should begin with the third story and should develop as indicated in various suggestions that follow.

The phonic drills beginning with the third story will be on n  in not, d  in day, y  in you  and ccat. Give frequent drills, also on the first four phonic series while the pupils are reading this story.


1. Do not re-arrange sentences so that they are contradictory to the facts in the story, merely for the sake of word drill. For example, such sentences as these should not be given: The little red hen did not find a see,  or The little red hen said, "Not I." 

2. Above all, do not measure your success by the number of words your pupils know, nor judge the work of the first year by the number of books read, but by the ease with which the pupils attack new material.

The Boy and the Goat

Some teachers prefer not to tell this story before reading it. The pictures, the words already fairly familiar, and the rapidly growing desire and ability on the part of the pupils to find out new words and sentences for themselves by means of phonics, will more and more do away with the need for blackboard preparation for each page, and for oral introductions. The teacher must come less and less between the child and the book, if reading is taught effectively.

The phonic work to be carried on concurrently with the reading of this story is on m  in m an, s  in s o, b  in b ut, and th  in th en. At the same time take the next four of the phonic series. Remember that in extending the work with these series, there should be constant review of series already taught.

This story of the boy and the goat is an excellent one to play. The dialogue is natural and the action rather funny. Written suggestions, taking words or sentences from the story, may be used to start the play, but if used throughout the lesson are too likely to hamper freedom of action and original expression.

The Pancake

By this time the children should have considerable power to recognize words. It should not be necessary to tell this story as a whole before reading begins, for then the incentive for discovering thought for themselves is taken away from the pupils.

Through use of the pictures, hint just enough to lead the children into each page. They will partly guess at the reading there, but they must be made to be sure when they are right by verifying or disproving their guesses by sounding the words.

Example: At beginning of the lesson the teacher may say:

"This tells about an old woman and all her children. How many do you suppose she had?" Children probably count and answer "seven." Read the first sentence and see what the book says. Children then read, first silently, then orally. "What word makes you sure how many there were?" Children point to the word seven. 

"What has she on the board?" asks the teacher, referring again to the picture. Guesses are made and then the children are told to find out what the second sentence really tells. The word is the name of the story.

Then after two sentences have been studied through, another child is called upon to read both. Then a third is approached, and so the story grows. After the first three pages have been thus developed sentence by sentence, the rest of the story will need less questioning, for continued repetition will add to the number of words known at sight, and the cumulative thought will make it much easier to infer what is coming next. So questions may tell less, and only direct—for example: "See what happened next," or "what did he say after that?"

This is a well arranged story, as are many of those in the book, for getting good grouping of words. For example, "for the boy, into the word, over the brook,"  etc., should be glanced at as a single word and not  spoken one at a time. With careless teaching, one rather bad habit may be formed. That is, children may learn to drop their voices after the word said  when it introduces someone's conversation. This, however may easily be guarded against if the pupils are trained to read thoughts as wholes.

This grouping of words or "phrasing" is one of the very best aids in securing expression and it should have constant attention.

In fact nothing less than this is reading. The teacher who accepts less is not teaching reading.

The phonic drills with this story are f  in fox, t  in to, g  in get  and k  in kill. Add to this, drills in phonic series nine to twelve, inclusive, with reviews of series already taught.

Chicken Little

This story needs little development beyond the second page, except a naming by the teacher of the characters as they appear in the pictures. The names given in nursery rhymes vary, and a class of children may have quite a variety to suggest if left to guess. Teachers must remember that one "right-telling" is not enough to make up for three or four "wrong-tellings" on the part of classmates.

In using the review stories, for example, page 76, after a study lesson with the teacher, in which questions, word drills, and phonics help the children to find out what the page says, the teacher may profitably plan a seat lesson in silent reading something as follows:

Each child is supplied with a piece of drawing paper and a soft pencil.

The teacher goes about from seat to seat, encouraging and teaching the individuals, whose different conceptions of the story will be amazing and interesting.

Each child is directed to read a little, until something reminds him of a good picture to draw. Then he is to stop and make the picture—read again, draw another and so on. The pictures will tell whether pupils have really read, and how they interpreted their reading.

This may be varied by having pupils cut the pictures from paper, free hand, instead of drawing them. This is desirable in such a story as "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," where the bridge, the hill, the troll, and the goats are easily distinguishable forms. A child likes to have his cuttings recognized.

The phonic drill with the sixth story, "Chicken Little," will be cr  in cry, wh  in why, and qu  in quench. Add phonic series thirteen to sixteen, inclusive, and review all series  already taught.

The phonic drills with the seventh story, "The Billy Goats Gruff," will be with ch  in chicken, sn  in snout, and sk  in sky.  Add to these a thorough review drill in all the phonic series already taught.

Little Tuppens and Little Spider's First Web

By this time pupils should be accustomed to attempting new words without much help from the teacher. However, it is advisable to teach the new words which appear in these stories before attempting the reading, for when the stumbling blocks are removed the appreciation of the story is greater, the pupils enjoy the story, and hence they read better. In teaching the new words, a pupil should never be told the word if he can possibly get it for himself. Though it takes more time, it pays to let the child use his own powers in this work.

While reading the eighth and ninth stories, the consonant drills will be with gr  in gruff, th  in thank, and tr  in trip. Also complete phonic series seventeen to twenty, inclusive. Review all phonic series including series one to twenty.

Silent Reading

Silent reading can only be of value when pupils know the words of a story at sight, or can find them out without audible effort. Silent reading is a thing to be taught with care, and with much persistence. It should begin the first days of school and continue throughout the grades. Whispering, or using lips is not silent reading.  After sentences, paragraphs, or pages have been worked through for thought, with the teacher's help, there should be thorough drill in glancing through the material. Drills of various sorts should increase the speed with which this can be done. Single sentences on cards or strips of paper are of value here, since they can be held quiet for a second, then removed from view. Finding the place on a page is another good kind of drill.

Seat Work Suggested for the Children

I. Work Based on Handwork

1. Draw pictures that will tell parts of the story. The pupils should do this, not by copying someone else's ideas, but by each one showing how he thinks it might have been. Encourage originality here.

Mediums—Charcoal, crayola, soft pencils, or chalk.

2. Cut or tear from drawing paper or ordinary wrapping paper figures showing parts of stories. Mount on suitable background.

3. Color outline pictures the teacher has copied on hectograph or mimeograph.

4. After a lesson with the teacher on the needed folds and pastings, let children make small paper boxes for holding a little earth in which wheat seeds may be planted. These germinate very quickly, and after they are a few days old, may be carried home in triumph by the "little red hens" who planted them.

5. Children may make of clay various things suggested by the different stories. For example, in connection with "The Gingerbread Boy" they make make:

The gingerbread boy. The bowl in which the old woman made him. Her rolling pin. The little old woman.

6. The sand-table is a very helpful medium for fixing the scenes of the stories and promoting freedom and originality of expression.

Little Red Hen Story

The sand-table is converted into a barnyard.

a. Cardboard barn made by the pupils is placed in the barnyard.

b. A fence can be made by folding an oblong paper several times and cutting so as to show posts and horizontal boards.

c. The figures in the story can be modeled in clay or cut out of paper. If made from paper, they should be cut free-hand and suitably colored. Make two of each figure, paste together with a wooden paste-splint or strip of stiff cardboard between, protruding an inch so as to make a stem to be stuck into the sand and hold the figures in an upright position.

Gingerbread Boy

Figures cut from paper, either by pattern or free-hand, of the gingerbread boy, old woman, old man, cat, dog, fox, etc., can be treated like those of the preceding story.

The sooner the pupils get to the free-hand cutting, the sooner will their powers of free expression grow. This work may be very crude in the beginning but it is astonishing how their ability to express grows and the sand-table, giving the practical use for these cuttings, encourages the pupils greatly. 

The Old Woman and Her Pig

A stile is not within the experience of many of the children. Here is a splendid chance to build either a cardboard stile or a wooden one on the sand-table. The scene where "the old woman got home that night" works out well on the sand-table. Her old house, the stile and the old woman leading the pig down the road make a good scene.

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Make a cardboard bridge and cuttings of the three goats. Water can be represented by placing a glass over blue paper. Sand will make a very good irregular coast-line to the river. The hill may be of sand piled up and covered with sawdust dyed green. The goats might be modeled of clay. The bridge then should be modeled of clay to represent a stone bridge. These suggestions are sufficient to show the possibilities of the sand-table, with which every primary room should be supplied.

II. Work Based on Word-Forms

1. The teacher may duplicate the sentences on a certain page of the "Primer," using each sentence several times. If she has a mimeograph at hand this is not hard. These pages are given to the children, at first as a reading lesson in class. Then they take them to their seats and cut the sentences so they stand on separate strips. Each child then places all that are alike in one group, like words one under another. Not only does this care in grouping the sentences and words aid the pupils in distinguishing like words but the teacher can easily inspect the work after it is done.

2. These same strips may be placed in envelopes and a few days later, when the child has had more drill on those sentences, he is asked as seat work to look them over, put all he knows in one pile and all he does not know in another.

3. He may be directed to lay them in order, to make a story like the one on the board.

4. He may lay them in order, so as to build a small story of his own—or from memory.

5. Pupils may be tested on the ready recognition of the words of a story studied by referring to the list at the back of the book.

Exercises 1 and 3 may be done when the child does not know a single word at sight, if he can recognize words that are alike; 2 and 4 imply a knowledge of at least part of the words and so are to be later treatments of the same material.

These following devices may be used later with lists of words, either the well-printed ones provided by the publisher of the "Primer" on convenient sheets of paper, or lists based on the lesson of the week, mimeographed by the teacher so they can be cut apart.

1. Finding words alike.

2. Separating known words from unknown.

3. Building sentences when model is given.

4. Building original sentences.


If this work is worth doing at all, it is worth inspection on the part of the teacher after it is done. The teacher should pass up and down the aisles, commenting upon the neatness and exactness of the work, also teasing the pupils as to the thought they have put upon it, by questioning in this manner. What do these sentences say? What are these words?

III. Work Based on Silent Reading

This should be deferred until the latter part of the first year. Use a review story. Let children read until they find a sentence which suggests a good picture, then stop to make a picture, read a little more, make another picture, etc.

Do not ask children to do much writing for seat work.

Suggestions of General Interest

Let the children plant wheat seeds as suggested above.

Ask them to bring ripened stalks of wheat to school. Show what happens when wheat is threshed.

Grind some grain of wheat between two stones. Sift bran and flour. Show several good pictures of the animals mentioned in the stories as you talk about them, especially if you are teaching where children have little opportunity to know animals well.

Use cuttings of these animals, the best views you can get, for a border along the top of your blackboard, adding to the procession as fast as each new friend comes into the stories. This is well suggested by the grouping of animals on the outside of the "Primer," and the blackboard parade can be made a real help in holding the interest of the children in the slow growing ability to read about those friends.

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