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Tower's Second Reader

The Child's Second Step, Taken at the Right Time.
Tower, David B. Tower's Second Reader. Introduction to the Gradual Reader; or, Primary School Enunciator, Part II: The Child's Second Step, Taken at the Right Time. NY: Published by Daniel Burgess & Co., 1854. p. 13

By the middle of the nineteenth century, a major thrust in American education was the standardization of the new nation's culture. The influx of many new people whose accent or language was not the 'king's' English threatened to divide the country far more than political issues could. Not only was the language to be constant from Maine to California, but the pronunciation of the words within the language was to be consistent. Tower's readers were filled with extensive footnotes to teachers, most of which directed them on how to correctily enunciate speech sounds.

Tower was also concerned with teaching the teachers a new methodology in reading instruction. On the first page of the Gradual Reader, he noted that "the pupil, in spelling, should often give the powers of the several elements of words, instead of merely naming the letters."


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