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WITH NOTES, QUESTIONS, ETC.
for Jiome and School Use.
HOMER B. SPRAGUE, PH.D.,
M. E. SCATES.
BOSTON, U.S.A. :
The compilers of this book, desiring to give practical help to teachers and pupils in beginning the study of English Literature, feel warranted by long experience in the schoolroom in offering certain suggestions.
The writer studied should become a friend, a companion ; "for indeed there is something of companionship between the author and the reader." The main facts of his life should be given; but the students should collect additional ones, and by means of them and of familiar talks by their teacher, there should be presented simply, but vividly, the man and the author.
The general intent and the particular meaning of the writer in the extracts studied should be made very clear : pupils should be encouraged to make criticisms, and to ask questions ; they should be made to reproduce passages in fresh words, and to write out the story or tell it orally as briefly as possible. Words ought to be defined, sentences analyzed, obscure expressions simplified, and numerous questions asked to lead pupils to use the knowledge they already possess, and to search for other items that will make interesting the pieces selected for study.
Reading aloud will, of course, form a part of many exercises, and it is a most valuable test of a scholar's comprehension of any selection. The recitation of the finest passages will afford a pleasant variety in the work. (See page 119.)
Too much is often expected of young students, and often too little may seem to be accomplished; but the habits formed will be of practical value in most other studies in school or college. To get the general meaning, to understand in detail, and to be able to present clearly to another mind what we have mastered, are always important as a discipline, and constitute a sure test of success.
To the liberal and enterprising publishing house (G. P. Putnam's Sons) whose name has been most honorably connected with the publication of Irving's works during the past thirty years, warm thanks are due for the courtesy with which they have accorded the privilege of issuing in the present form these six delightful Sketches. Every student should possess the complete volume containing Irving's thirty-two sketches by the same publishers.
Boston, September 1, 1878.