As our young children learn to read, we often find ourselves scampering about for material that is easy enough for them to read, but at the same time is interesting, will hold their attention and isn’t twaddle! Reading-Literature: The Primer by Harriette Treadwell and Margaret Free (The Treadwell Primer) fits this bill nicely.
Reading is not, primarily, word study or word recognition. Even the simplest kind of reading means getting thought and feeling from written or printed characters.
Reading-Literature: The Primer
This is very similar to the sentiment expressed by Ruth Beechick regarding reading:
That’s what reading was for – meaning. When a child was analyzing a word, he should make sure it fit into the sentence. There was no separation of learning to “read” first and learning to comprehend later. Reading was comprehension…. Meaning is uppermost. That is what reading is all about.
It is this joy of reading that spurs the growth in reading. Often our children “finally learn to read” after connecting the discipline their mothers are trying to instill in them with the exciting story in their book.
The Treadwell Primer includes such old favorites as The Little Red Hen, The Gingerboy, The Old Woman and the Pig, Chicken Little, Three Billy Goats Gruff and several others – all in early reading language and brightly illustrated.
There is a teacher’s manual available. From the publisher’s preface to Primary reading and literature : a manual for teachers to accompany the primer, first and second readers of the reading-literature series:
In the beginning the publishers had prepared a brief teachers’ manual to accompany the Primer. Beyond that it was then thought and is yet believed that any good [method] may be successfully used with these books.
Since the books have become very extensively used it has been found that, owing to widely different degrees and kinds of preparation, many need, or think they need, more help than was provided in the original manual.
If you feel you need instruction, then here is a source of instruction. However, if we remember that we are not teaching our children to understand phonics – we are teaching our children to comprehend and enjoy the printed word – then we will be pleased with their progress. Some further help from Dr. Beechick:
The power and efficiency of tutoring is that the parent follows the child’s ability and interest rather than following a curriculum plan with its formula for learning skills in a certain order. When teaching phonics in context like this, there is no need for drill and kills. Even when drills are dressed up as songs and games, they become boring in time, but stories do not become boring. The parent should spend only a moment or two on any problem word or phonics pattern. If a child does not understand or remember, it will come up again later on. Use other cues besides just phonics and sounding out a word. The word must make sense in the sentence. In picture books, the picture can often help with figuring out the text.
To this end, the phonics series is listed on pages 66-76 of the teacher’s manual.
The “Free and Treadwell Readers” aim first, last, and all of the time to secure and hold the child’s interest. They were compiled, in the schoolroom, from child literature that has held the interest of children through generations that are gone and that will be read with equal interest by millions in the years to come.
Reading-Literature: The Primer
Reading-Literature is in the public domain and available as a free download. Enjoy!
Primary reading and literature : a manual for teachers to accompany the primer, first and second readers of the reading-literature series