Children: a Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth Century Sources
Grafton, Carol Belanger [comp.] Children: a Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth Century Sources. NY: Dover Publications, 1978. P. 89, two young girls engaged in a writing exercise.
The beginning of the twentieth century was a time of optimistic belief in “ Progress”. Progress held out the promise that all of humanity’s ills could be cured through the proper use of science and logic. The early nineteenth century experiments with progression -- from easy to medium to difficult, from primer to intermediate to full-text readers -- were gradually replaced by an even more standardized sequencing of skills and texts spread over eight years of schooling. By the end of the first World War, the fully graded basal reading series, encompassing pre-primers, primers, and grade level readers, dominated reading instruction. During these years, the pursuit of a scientific method for instruction led also to the rise of teacher’s colleges in which the teacher-training of the normal school was replaced with a formal college education.