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and in some cases exceedingly good, keep children from literature that they should know. The magazines certainly have supplied a want; but the harm comes when the reader so habituates himself to reading everything in the magazines, almost all of it transitory in its interest and its value, that he finds no time for those stories that are world-wide in their interest and permanent in value.

Why Direction Sometimes Fails

Teachers and parents often resort to the most unwise means in order to break up mischievous reading, or that which brings little or no good. Mere advice, threats, and punishment alone are rarely effective. Something must be substituted, something that will be welcomed and that will effectively replace the other in the reader's interest and affections.

Recommendations of good reading often fail because parents and teachers consult their own adult tastes, or, what is in some cases even worse, manuals of standard, classic literature. George Eliot's “Romola” is undoubtedly a most enjoyable book to an adult who likes to read carefully and to think, and it doubtless is listed in most manuals of literature as a great book; but it would be most unwise to send an eager youngster of the fifth grade to it for his reading. A brother once, in his ignorance, offered his thirteen-year-old sister ten dollars if she would read Blackstone's Commentaries !

Three Requisites for Wise Direction One giving advice must find out first of all what lines the child's interest follows; then he must know what books will satisfy or direct that interest; and finally he must learn how to accomplish the substitution with some tact.

The first information, that concerning the child's interest, is gained, of course, largely from a knowledge of the individual child. Informal, apparently accidental conversations with him, both about books and about what he is doing or wishes to do, often give us the information; sometimes a source is what another boy or girl says. But, allowing for all individual differences, there are a great many interests that are held in common by most boys and others by most girls at certain ages.

What Children Like

Stories of adventure, for example, are attractive to boys (and to girls, too, for that matter) from the early grades up through the high school, this interest being highest from the sixth to the ninth grade. Boys like war stories, too, in about the same years; girls have less interest in war stories, though enough to make a recommendation in this field fairly safe. Detective stories attract boys most from the sixth grade to the ninth; girls, very rarely. Stories of travel are likewise more attractive to boys than to girls, having a maximum interest in the upper grades and early high school course. Stories of great men and great women are attractive to boys and girls respectively at about the same time. Many girls will be interested in stories of great men, while few boys will even try to read a book about a great woman. Interest in history may begin as early as the fourth grade and increase throughout the school; but here, even more than elsewhere, much depends on the material read. The interest in love stories begins about the sixth grade, usually earlier for girls than for boys; the latter, too, are less frank in confessing this interest.*

“Through the teens

books were chosen * because recommended, and later because of some special interest. Girls relied on recommendations more than boys. The latter were more guided by reason and the former by sentiment. Nearly three times as many boys in the early teens chose books because they were exciting or venturesome. Girls chose books more than four times as often because of children in them, and more often because they were funny. Boys care very little for style, but must have incidents and heroes.

Girls prefer domestic stories and those with characters like themselves and scenes more like those with which they are familiar.”+

The Selection of Books

The second information, what books will feed and direct the various interests, can be gained satisfactorily only by good taste and wide reading. Much help can be had, however, from library and reading circle lists. These should not be followed as if they were the laws of the Medes and Persians; they should merely be suggestive, naming books from which those who know the children may select. Naturally, after a child has begun to read steadily in good literature, he needs less careful though no less wise directing

*These data are taken partly from R. W. Bullock:

"Observations on Children's Reading,' Proceedings of the National Edus cational Association, 1897, pp. 1015-1021.

#Miss Vostrovsky, quoted by Hall: Adolescence, II. 467.


The Substitution

One need not expect to substitute “Vanity Fair" at once for the “nickel thriller.” At the same time, it is not necessary to take too many steps in getting out of the bottom lands of taste. A teacher or parent should be pretty certain of at least the first books that he recommends; afterwards he may take some risks. The book recommended first largely determines the child's confidence in one's ability to suggest what is good for him. It should be interesting, even exciting, full of red blood or broad emotions. It may not be of the highest literary value, but it should be wholesome enough and nearly enough true to life for even the child to see the difference between it and what he has been reading.

Sometimes the loan of a book, with some such remark as, “Here is a book that John likes first rate,” or “that I enjoyed when I was a boy;" or the mere request that it be read; or the suggestion that it will throw light on some period of history, some sport, some pursuit, some part of the world in which the boy is interested; or the reading aloud to the school of a stirring incident from the book, something like the incident of “the man in the red sweater,” in “The Call of the Wild"-sometimes any one of these means will be sufficient. But the teacher must know the child that he wishes to guide, and adapt his advice accordingly. The fact that the

. recommendation of a book by a schoolmate often weighs more than the advice of a teacher may occasionally be utilized by having some pupil tell of a. book that he has enjoyed.

The Recitation on Outside Reading To encourage the outside private reading of books, the teacher may devote a class period occasionally, say once a fortnight or oftener, to an oral reading of some interesting passage chosen by the child. He is told that on a certain day he may have ten or fifteen minutes in which to read to the class some very interesting incident from his book; that first he must tell, very briefly, so much as the class need to know of the story and its characters to understand the passage read, and that after the reading he may, if he choose, tell how the story concludes. A private rehearsal will add greatly to the value of the exercise at first.

Of course each child cannot be called on in this exercise very frequently--indeed, it is from the best pupils that the most gratifying results will be obtained, so far as oral reading is concerned, and also

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