Trends in the development of texts in primary reading as shown by a study of fifty series of primary readers published in the United States since 1850



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1850 has been chosen by the writer as the approximate date which marks the first evidences of educational influences upon the content and methods of primary readers in America. This study will be limited accordingly to an examination of readers, together with their teaching aids, which were published or were in general use after 1850; to certain prominent treatises on the teaching of reading, on the history of education, and on children's literature; and to scientific studies pertaining to primary reading. [...] The techniques employed in this study are analysis and historical research. The chosen texts are analyzed as to content, method, vocabulary, sentence structure and length, and mechanical features. An attempt is made to discover the relationship of the various elements found in the texts to the social and educational forces of the periods which produced them. [...] The number of readers selected for the study is limited to fifty series. Those of the first five periods are chosen on the basis of their popularity as judged by the number of editions published, and on the evaluation given by certain prominent treatises upon the history of reading textbooks. The readers selected for the last two periods are those which, according to the writer's judgment, are most representative of the developments in the field of reading which appear in the different contemporary treatises and scientific studies pertaining to reading