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XII. GENERAL READING.
The subject of home reading has received attention in each of the subcommittee reports on literature. It seems desirable, however, to supplement these reports with a general statement, partly because of the importance of general reading and partly because it should be thought of as connected with English composition, history, science, industrial arts, etc., as well as with literature. One of the chief marks of the educated man is his habit of wide and intelligent reading of books and magazines in which are reflected a variety of interests. It is the business of the school to educate young people in this sense. Hence definite provision should be made by all highschool faculties for proper lists, library collections, class conferences, time, and credit. Since the teacher of English is in a special sense a professor of books, he may well be expected to take the lead.
Any who doubt the necessity of special attention to the general reading of their pupils should make such an investigation as was recently carried out in the junior and senior high schools of Decatur, Ill. In a report of this investigation made to the National Council of Teachers of English, at New York City, in July, 1916, Supt. Engleman gave the following facts: Eight hundred students in the senior high school and 225 in the eighth grade were questioned. Onefourth of the high-school pupils reported that they did not read the daily papers, not even during the progress of the European war. One hundred and one pupils read no magazines. The others reported a total of 178 different publications. The 25 most popular of these, with the number of readers of each, were as follows:
The Youth's Companion, read by 182 students; The Ladies' Home Journal, 156; Saturday Evening Post, 93; Popular Mechanics, 78; Woman's Home Companion, 72; Pictorial Review, 72; Collier's, 71; Cosmopolitan, 65; American Boy, 59; The Outlook, 59; Life, 47; McCall's, 46; American Magazine, 44; Ladies' World, 44; Literary Digest, 43; Delineator, 38; Woman's World, 36; Scientific American, 31 ; Everybody's, 30; Puck, 29; Harper's, 28: Good Housekeeping, 28; McClure's, 28; Current Opinion, 27; World's Work, 26.
Three hundred and eighty-three pupils had read no books during the semester not required by the teachers. In the lists of the others appeared 418 different titles, the most popular being “ Eyes of the World,” read by 17 students. Others most popular are:
Girl of the Limberlost, with 15 readers; Pollyanna, 15; Shepherd of the Hills, 14; Freckles, 12; The Virginian, 11; Inside of the Cup, 10; St. Elmo, 9; Crisis, 8; Lavender and Old Lace, 8; The Winning of Barbara Worth, 8; Little Women, 7.
Ben Hur, Bible, Graustark, Rosary, Their Yesterdays, each with 6. Alger Books, Call of the Wild, Laddie, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Tom Sawyer, each with 5. Nearly 807 of the books in the list have but one reader each.
Perhaps the most significant thing is the list of titles which do not appear. Dickens had but 4 voluntary readers; Hawthorne, 2; Scott, 2; Kipling, 1; Bulwer-Lytton, 1; Cooper, 2; Victor Hugo, 2; Barrie, 1; Milton, 1; Tennyson, 1; Kingsley, 1; and Shakespeare (mirabile dictu) 1; Stevenson, none; George Eliot, none.
From these facts Supt. Engleman concludes that so far the methods in use in the schools have not led to further reading of the works of standard authors. He would, nevertheless, continue instruction in the classics, but would attempt to connect the work with the pupils' present day interests.
The answers of the 225 eighth-grade pupils were equally interesting. About one-fourth of the whole number stated that they read no magazine. Twenty per cent preferred The Youth's Companion. Popular Mechanics came next, with the Ladies' Home Journal third. The Pictorial Review followed with 21 readers, Saturday Evening Post with 16, the National Geographic Magazine, Boys' Life, and American Boy, each with 12, and then with slowly diminishing numbers, McCall's, Woman's World, Collier's, Red Book, Literary Digest, St. Nicholas, The American Magazine, Woman's Home Companion, and the Delineator.
Only 22 of the 225 pupils confessed that they did not read a daily paper regularly. Their good showing was doubtless due to the influence of the course in current events which is a part of the eighthgrade history work in the junior high school.
An inquiry asking the grade students to indicate the lines of reading they do with greatest pleasure brought the following information: One hundred and twenty-four like fiction; 86, stories of invention; 84, current events; 81, nature stories; 67, history; 32, poetry; 15, biography.
The first result might well have been anticipated. The small number with a preference for biography was a surprise. Of the 32 expressing an interest in poetry, only 4 are boys. Thus, in that school at least for every 7 girls who like poetry there is but 1 boy. On the other hand, of the 86 who enjoy stories of invention there are but 14 girls and 72 boys.-five times as many boys as girls.
In the light of this information, Supt. Engleman thinks it pertinent to inquire whether the best results can be obtained from teaching mixed classes of boys and girls of this age when we know that for every seven girls who like poetry there will be but one boy equally pleased. If the boys were segregated and a course for them pre
scribed including more literature of a practical sort-adventure, inventions, history, biography, and industry-would results be better in the end?
The Decatur schools have well-arranged home-reading lists of books, an account of which will be found in the Journal of Administration and Supervision for 1916. Credit is given for the reading of the books on the list, and this credit is varied with reference to the value of the particular volume. For example, while but four points are allowed for a reading of Kennedy's “ The Servant in the House” or “ Zangwill's “ The Melting Pot,” seven points are given for "Henry Esmond” or “Pride and Prejudice," and 10 for Hugo's “ Les Miserables." Each student is required to earn a minimum of 10 points by outside reading each semester. The value of this plan is said to consist not merely in the fact that every student must do some independent reading of worth-while books to earn his promotion, but in the added fact that he is made familiar with a list of authors and titles which he may find the inclination to read at his leisure when his course is finished.
It is becoming a somewhat common practice to invite the pupils of the high school to write out briefly their opinions of the books that they read voluntarily. Highly interesting sets of answers have been placed in the hands of the committee by Miss Minnie E. Porter, who gathered material from a group of pupils in a rural district in Kansas; by Mr. C. C. Certain, when in the Central High School of Birmingham, Ala.; by the Department of English in the Manual Training School of Indianapolis, Ind., under the direction of Mr. E. H. K. McComb; by Mr. Max J. Herzberg, of the Central Commercial and Manual Training High School in Newark, N. J.; by Mr. Andrew H. Krug, of the City College of Baltimore, Md.; and by Mr. Allen Abbott, when in the Horace Mann School, Teachers College, Columbia University. These evaluations by pupils are highly illuminating and should be secured from time to time by teachers in all schools. The comment by a girl to the effect that Poe's “ The Gold Bug” is a very weird story and she would advise all young. people to read this book in the daytime—that it gives one a very uncomfortable feeling if read by night-undoubtedly influenced the members of her class much more than anything that could have been said by the teacher.
It will be found advisable to set apart from time to time a recitation period for informal conference and discussion of the general reading of the pupils. Care should be exercised to avoid formality in these exercises. Written reproductions and reviews will be found, as a rule, ineffective. It is far better to invite free exchange of opinion and advice with the idea that each pupil is helping the
others. This will call out genuine expression and will give the class meeting a vital and really social character. Unless the pupils feel free to report what they actually like, the teacher is not in a position either to understand them or to help them. He can easily be too austere in his judgment, forgetful of the fact that he is dealing with immature persons who have not yet formed a mature taste and who must simply be led to like the best they can understand and appreciate at the stage of progress to which they have arrived.
Certainly, every such class should from time to time compare notes as to daily and weekly newspapers and the magazines. So few modern publishers take any responsibility as to the moral influence of their periodicals that it is a most important duty of the teacher to direct the pupils, both in choosing what they are to read and in reading it with proper discrimination. This is especially true in the larger cities, which are now so often cursed with journals more or less yellow and by a bewildering variety of cheap and more or less sensational magazines.?
SOME BOOKS SUGGESTED FOR READINGS ON INDUSTRIAL SUBJECTS.
I. The Woodworking Industries. II. The Metal-working Industries. III. Power (electricity, gas and gasoline, and steam). IV. Books of general industrial interest and others (not falling under the
I. THE WOODWORKING INDUSTRIES.
1. General studies of the industries.
Bassett, S. W. The story of Lumber. l'enn Pub. Co.; Lathrop, Lee & Shepherd.
An interesting story of logging and milling operations, Kimerly, W. L. How to Know Period Styles in Furniture. Grand Rapids Furniture Record Co.
Written for laymen, is non-technical, and profusely illustrated. Mills, A. E. The Story of a Thousand Year Pine. Simons, Constance. English Furniture Designers of the Eighteenth Century.
Brief nontechnical discussions of such schools of furniture design as the Chip
pendales Brothers Adams, Heppelwhite, and Sheraton. Wheeler, F. R. The Boy with the U'. S. Forester.
1 Many schools have found it advisable to put in the hands of each pupil a copy of the home-reading list prepared by a committee of the National Council of Teachers of English. This may be had in quantities at the rate of 60 cents a dozen, carriage prepaid. Address the Secretary of the National Council. Sixth-eighth Street and Stewart Avenue, Chicago, III.
. See The I'ndefended Gate, by Prof. F. N. Scott, in the English Journal, 3:1, January,
2. Technical. Levison, J. J. Studies of Trees. John Wiley & Sons.
Written for beginners-A splendid guide to the recognition of trees and woods
from the standpoint of the industrial worker. Moon, F. F., and Brown, N. C. Elements of Forestry. John Wiley & Sons.
Readable and reliable. Covers growth of the tree-silvics-forest mensuration, lumbering forest products—wood technology-preservation-forest enemies—and
forest areas. Noyes, William. Wood and Forests. Manual Arts Press.
A handbook of woods and forestry written for students. Pinchot, Gifford. Primer of Forestry. Washington, Government Printing Office.
Deals with the life of the tree, trees in the forest, the life of the forest, and
enemies of the forest. Roth, Filbert. A First Book of Forestry. Ginn & Co.
l'pkeep of forests—'se of the forests-Woods and how to distinguish them How to distinguish the common trees.
Burleigh, C. B. All Among the Loggers. Lathrop, Lee & Shepherd.
Adventures of Bobby Orde. Scribner.
II. METAL-WORKING INDUSTRIES.
1. General studies of the industries.
A, B, C. of Iron and Steel. Cleveland, Penton Pub. Co.
Excellent articles on mining, transportation, and reduction of iron ores ; modern commercial steel production; and the organization of steel plants. Well
adapted to high-school uses. Cook, A. O. A Day in an Iron Works. Hodder & Stoughton. (World at.
Work Series.) Samuel, E. I. Story of Iron. Smiles, Samuel. Industrial Biography-Iron Workers and Tool Makers. Houghton Mifflin.
an English publication which traces the early development of the iron industry.
The Machinist. Boston, Vocational Bureau.
The Art of Making Tool Steel. Columbia Tool Steel Works. (Pamphlet.)
Samuel, E. The Story of Gold and Silver.
From prospecting to the making of bullion into money. Interestingly told.