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CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER once said, “ To teach a child to read, and not teach it what to read, is to put a dangerous weapon into its hands.”
There can be no doubt as to the truth of this statement. High schools now very generally have courses in reading and literature ; but the great majority of pupils never reach the high school, and those who do have formed a taste for reading before that period, very often a taste for reading that is decidedly bad, and only occasionally for that which is really excellent; so that in this particular the work of the high school becomes largely that of reformation, instead of formation, a very difficult work that need not have been necessary.
This procedure utterly ignores the needs, so far as the study of literature is concerned, of ninety per cent of the pupils, and begins the work too late with the others. To some extent desultory work is being done in many primary and grammar schools through the use of supplementary readers; but this cannot be very: effective in: forming a taste for good reading, becaase the expense necessary to provide a sufficient amount and variety of books will be so great that few schools can meet it, and still fewer will. Too often the supplementary readers used, are intended merely to furnish information. As the result of this condition of affairs, with the exception of here and there a school, no effective effort is being made to create and foster a taste for good literature in grades below the high school. Much supplementary reading is being done, but there seems to be no clearly defined plan, no definite end aimed at. This is probably due to the fact that there is