Duration: 1st September – 30th September
Number of books: 7
Hosted by: Crazy Challenge Connection
When I grew up, back-to-school was always the day after Labor Day, so I still associate September with school starting again. In that spirit, let’s take a look at a book that once was, essentially, school – the McGuffey Readers.
1. McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. It is estimated that at least 120 million copies of McGuffey’s Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960, placing its sales in a category with the Bible and Webster’s Dictionary.
✒ Read a book published between 1850-1950 (inclusive) OR read a best selling book (25,000+ GR rating) OR read a book with two of the three numbers, 1-2-0, in its total page count (tell us how many pages).
Veiled Magic by Deborah Blake (280 pages)
2. The editor of the Readers was William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873). McGuffey’s family had emigrated to America from Scotland in 1774, and they had strong opinions on religion and a belief in education. McGuffey became a “roving” teacher at the age of 14, beginning with 48 students in a one-room school in Calcutta, Ohio. The size of the class was just one of several challenges which the young McGuffey faced. In many one-teacher schools, students’ ages varied from six to 21. McGuffey often worked 11 hours a day, six days a week. Students brought their own books, most frequently the Bible, since few textbooks existed.
✒ Read a book where a main character moves permanently from one country to another (tell us the originating and terminating countries) OR read a book that is anywhere between the 6th and the 21st in a series OR read a book dealing with religion.
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (United States to Australia)
3. Between teaching jobs, McGuffey received a classical education and went on to study at Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College) where he graduated in 1826. That same year, he was appointed to a position as Professor of Languages at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (my alma mater!!)
✒ Read a book that takes place on a university campus OR read a book where the MC is a teacher or professor OR read a book whose location starts with a letter in MIAMI.
Forever in Blue by Ann Brashares
4. In 1835, a small Cincinnati publishing firm asked McGuffey to create a series of four graded readers for primary level students. He had been recommended for the job by longtime friend Harriet Beecher Stowe. He completed the first two readers within a year of signing his contract. He compiled the first four readers (1836-1837 edition), while the fifth and sixth were created by his brother Alexander during the 1840s. The series consisted of stories, poems, essays, and speeches. The advanced Readers contained excerpts from the works of well-regarded English and American writers and politicians such as Lord Byron, John Milton, and Daniel Webster.
✒ Read a book featuring brothers OR read a book marked “classic” on its main GR page OR read a book by an author who uses three names (must be listed this way in GR; i.e. Kathy Hogan Trocheck).
The Horse and his Boy by C.S. Lewis
5. Most schools of the 19th century used only the first two in the series of McGuffey’s four readers. The first Reader taught reading by using the phonics method, the identification of letters and their arrangement into words, and aided with slate work. The second Reader was used once students could read. It helped them to understand the meaning of sentences, while providing vivid stories which children could remember.
✒ Read a book whose title contains any word starting with “ph” OR read a book with any school-type item on its cover (remember to post the cover) OR read a book that you think has vivid descriptions.
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
6. The third Reader taught the definitions of words and was written at a level equivalent to the modern 5th or 6th grade. The fourth Reader was written for the highest levels of ability on the grammar school level.
✒ Read a book that is about words (i.e. grammar, language, crossword) OR read the ‘highest’ book on your TBR (you may define this however you choose; tell us how your book is highest – i.e. most recently added, highest rated, etc.)
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
7. McGuffey’s Readers were among the first textbooks in the United States designed to be increasingly challenging with each volume. They used word repetition in the text as a learning tool, developing reading skills by challenging students using the books. Sounding-out, enunciation, and accents were emphasized. Colonial-era texts had offered dull lists of 20 to 100 new words per page for memorization. In contrast, McGuffey used new vocabulary words in the context of real literature, gradually introducing new words and carefully repeating the old.
✒ Read a book whose title contains any repeated word OR read a book that takes place during colonial America OR read a book whose author’s last name begins with “Mc.”
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis