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SUGGESTIONS FOR SILENT AND ORAL READING

Silent Reading. This book includes abundant material for both silent and oral reading. Some stories and poems must be read thoughtfully in order to gain the author's full meaning; such reading cannot be done rapidly. In other selections the meaning can be grasped easily, and the reading can be rapid; in such cases you read mainly for the central thought, for the story-element.

Ability in silent reading is of great importance for two reasons. First, you read silently much more often than you read aloud to others. Second, investigations prove that pupils who have learned to read silently with speed generally gain and retain from their reading more facts than the slow readers do. You should, therefore, train yourself in rapid silent reading, concentrating your mind on the thought of the selection. You will soon discover that as you give closer attention to a story you will not only understand it better but you will also remember more of it. In the early grades your training in silent reading has enabled you to gather facts from individual paragraphs and to hold in mind the thread of the narrative in shorter selections. But you are to extend this power steadily until you can gather facts and follow the unfolding plot in selections of considerable length. A number of stories in this book are long enough to train you to read with intelligence a newspaper, a magazine article, or a book. And this is precisely the ability you most need, not only in preparing lessons in history and other school subjects, but in all your reading throughout life. As you train yourself to grasp swiftly and accurately the meaning of a page, you increase your capacity to enjoy books—one of the most pleasurable things in life. Theodore Roosevelt trained himself to be such a rapid reader that he was able to grasp the central thought of a page almost as quickly as he could turn the leaves of the book.

You read silently both for the story-element and for fact-gathering. In preparing lessons in geography and history and in the use of geographical and historical stories, you have the best possible opportunity to increase your ability to gather facts quickly from the printed page. These informational studies, however, do not take the place of the reading lesson in literature.

Some selections, such as Audubon's "The Mocking Bird,” are informational, and you read them mainly for the facts they contain. In others, such as "Coaly-Bay, the Outlaw Horse," the story-element is the important thing, and fact-gathering is subordinate. Still others, such as “You Are the Hope of the World,” have inspirational value, and you read them for their stimulating influence on your life.

Notice that you read more rapidly when you are looking for the answer to some particular question, or looking for a certain passage than you do when you read merely to follow the thread of the story. Moving your lips or pointing to the words with your finger retards your speed.

In the selections in this book suggested for silent reading you may test your ability in thought-getting in any of the following ways:

1. By using a list of questions covering the most important ideas of the selection (for example, see “Questions for Testing Silent Reading," p. 38).

2. By telling the story from a given outline (for example, see “Outline for Testing Silent Reading,” p. 39).

3. By making a list of questions yourself for some classmate to use in testing his thought-getting ability, while you make similar use of questions that he has prepared.

4. By telling the story from an outline that you have made. Telling the substance of the story from your own outline is an excellent kind of test because you test not only your understanding of the story, but also your memory and your power to express the thought of what you have read.

In testing for comprehension, the plan followed should be suited to the kind of selection to which the test is applied. In testing for facts, questions that bring out the main thoughts should be used. In testing for plot-structure the outline is particularly helpful, though questions that deal with the steps in the development of the narrative may be equally effective.

In all your reading, both at home and at school, you should read as rapidly as you can, but not so fast that you fail to gain the thought.

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In preparing your lessons on selections in this book, test your comprehension by seeing how many of the questions under "Discussion,” that develop the most important thoughts of the story, you can answer after one reading. You may have to read parts of the story more than once in order to gain the full meaning. If you record your reading speed and your thought-getting ability, comparing your standing with that of your classmates and with the standard for eighth-grade pupils, you will be able to see whether or not you are making satisfactory progress. The standard for eighth-grade boys and girls is 280 words per minute, with the ability to reproduce after one reading 50% of the ideas in a 400-word passage.

The following forms will suggest a way to record your results:

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You may wish occasionally, perhaps once a term, to find out your rating in a more accurate and scientific way by the use of one of the many standardized silent-reading tests. Such a test will give you an opportunity to compare your ability with that of boys and girls of similar grade throughout the country.

Oral Reading. In the prose selections suggested for silent reading, you will wish to read aloud certain passages because of their beauty, their dramatic quality, or the forceful way in which the author has expressed his thoughts. In these prose selections, Class Readings are suggested for this purpose. Sometimes these readings are intended for individual pupils; sometimes, particularly in dialogue, they are intended for groups. Class Reading includes also supplementary poems and stories suggested for oral presentation.

Narrative poems such as "Evangeline” and “The Building of the Ship,” together with poems consisting of descriptive scenes such as "Snow-Bound," may well be treated as silent reading, provided adequate provision is made for reading aloud those units that are conspicuous for their beauty of thought or expression.

In general, however, poetry should be read aloud, for much of the beauty of poetry lies in its rhythm. The voice, with its infinite possibilities of change, is an important factor in interpreting a poem. As you listen to your teacher or some other good reader, you will appreciate how much pleasure one who has learned the art of reading aloud is able to give others. Through oral reading the ear of the listener becomes sensitive to a pleasing voice, to correct pronunciation, and to distinct articulation. The sympathetic reading of many of the poems in this book will reveal to you the beauty of the language that we speak. Longfellow says, "Of equal honor with him who writes a grand poem is he who reads it grandly."

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Reading, as you have already come to know, brings you a threefold joy. First, it gives you the joy of sharing in the adventures of men in bygone times and in far-distant lands. Already, in your imagination, you have been comrades in the enchanting lives of Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver and Hiawatha. You have lived again in the magic realm where ruled the King of the Golden River and in that other land of romance where good King Arthur held his knightly court. This book that you hold in your hand will lead you still further in quest of stirring deeds, making you the companion of rollicking old John Gilpin and of Evangeline in her romantic wanderings and of many others. Always, whether in school years or in later life, there will be this joy of reading that can transport you to other times and places full of mystery and adventure.

Second, reading brings you the joy of gaining your full portion of the wisdom that mankind has stored up through the ages. Through literature you have already shared some of the shrewd advice of Franklin and Lincoln on the subject of

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