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The high school course in English by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The high school course in English, by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer


1. The High School Course in English, by Willard G. Bleyer, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of English. 1906. 1907.

2. The High School Course in German, by M. Blakemore Evans, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of German. 1907.

3. Report on the Entrance Examination in English Composition, by Willard G. Bleyer, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of English. [In Preparation.]

4. The High School Course in Mathematics, by Ernest B. Skinner, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics. [In Preparation.]

5. The High School Course in Latin, by a committee of the Wisconsin Latin Teachers Association. [In Preparation.]

6. The High School Course in French, by Hugh A. Smith, M. A., Professor of Romance Languages. [In Preparation.]

Issued bi-monthly, and entered at the postoffice, at Madison, as second-class matter.

The High school Course in English

Assistant Professor of English
University of Wisconsin


1. Length of Course9
2. Plan of Course10
3. Arrangement of Classes11
4. Conferences of Teachers12
1. Theme Writing13
2. Correction of Themes17
3. Filing of Themes19
4. Conferences on Written Work20
5. Oral Composition20
6. Principles of Composition21
7. Use of Text-book22
1. Methods of Teaching23
2. Reading Aloud27
3. Choice of Reading28
4. Library Reading29
1. Composition31
2. Grammar32
3. Rhetorical Principles33
4. Theme writing34
5. Reading35
1. Composition37
2. Reading39
1. Reading and History of Literature40
2. Composition41
1. Reading42
2. The Novel42
3. The Drama43
4. The Lyric43
5. The Essay44
6. Library Reading44
7. Composition45
8. Writing of Verse46
1. Whole Composition53
2. Paragraphs55
3. Sentences57
4. Words60
5. Figures of Speech60
6. Qualities of Style62
7. Forms of Discourse62
1. The Teaching of English65
2. Literature66
3. Language and Grammar68
4. Rhetoric and Composition68


This bulletin has been prepared with the purpose of offering some practical suggestions in regard to the organization of the high school course in English and to the methods of teaching English. As it is designed for the principals and teachers of Wisconsin schools, the plan and methods conform to the courses of study and conditions required of free high schools in this state. The aim has not been to discuss theories or to offer novel solutions for the problems of teaching, but rather to present ways and means of accomplishing the generally accepted purposes of the study of English in secondary schools. All the methods and plans suggested have been shown by experience to be practical, and are adapted to present conditions in both large and small high schools.

While the plan of the work has been made as flexible as possible in order to adapt it to different schools, it has seemed desirable to indicate definitely how all of the details of the course should be organized and what methods should be used to bring about the required results. The object has been to consider the purpose of each part of the English work, and to show as specifically as possible what must be done and to some extent how it must be done to accomplish this purpose. By having a definite aim for each year’s work and by seeing clearly what is to be accomplished in each part of the subject, the teacher of English feels responsible for the successful completion of a specific part of the course. At the same time the originality and ability of the teacher need not be hampered by a definite plan but may be exercised in adapting the work to different conditions in different schools and classes.

In discussing the course in English, the general aim and methods in teaching the important elements, composition and reading, are taken up first, and then the particular phases of each subject to be presented in each year, are considered. What is presented under the general topics, reading and composition, therefore, applies to the work of each year unless otherwise stated, and usually is not repeated in considering each year of the course.

6A second edition of this bulletin has made possible some revision. No essential changes have been made, but considerable new material has been added. Some parts have been developed at greater length in order to explain the methods more fully. The most important addition is the outline for the study of composition and style, which has been included for those teachers who desire to review the various phases of rhetorical theory in preparation for teaching composition or reading. The bibliography has been extended to include a number of standard reference books on various phases of the English work. The books have been selected on the basis of their practical value to the teacher in the work actually required in the high school course in English, and of the possibility of assisting the teacher to build up for himself, at reasonable cost, a good working library. In order to accomplish the latter purpose the less expensive reference books have, as far as possible, been chosen, and the price and the publisher of each have been given.



The main objects of the teaching of English as presented in the Report of the Committee of Ten[1], are (1) “to enable the pupil to understand the expressed thoughts of others;” (2) to enable him “to give expression to thoughts of his own;” (3) “to cultivate a taste for reading, to give the pupil some acquaintance with good literature, and to furnish him the means of extending that acquaintance.” Other subsidiary objects may be accomplished by the study of English, the Report points out, but these should never be permitted to encroach upon the main purposes. While these purposes are considered separately, and are apparently separated in arranging the course of study, the Report continues, their mutual dependence must constantly be kept in mind. By studying the thoughts of others as expressed in the literature read in or out of the class room, the pupil can be led to see how to express his own thoughts more effectively. All reading of good literature should tend to cultivate a taste for reading, and all study of good literature should lead to a better appreciation of what is best in expression. The survey of the history of English and American literature accompanied by the reading and study of characteristic selections of every period, will open up to the pupil the whole field of literature in English and will furnish him the means of judging intelligently of what he reads. This interdependence of the main purposes of the study of English requires the closest correlation of every phase of the English work.

1. Report of Committee on Secondary School Studies, p. 86.

Since the English work is divided into two principal parts, reading and composition, it may be well to consider briefly the purpose of each in relation to the main objects just considered.

The first object of the work in reading must always be to have the pupil understand the thought expressed on the printed page. However thorough has been his training in the grades, the average pupil on entering high school needs to be 8taught how to read. Generally he gets but a hazy, general idea from reading a paragraph, either because he fails to grasp the meaning of each sentence, or because he does not combine the sentence-thoughts in their relation to the topic. The aim of the reading must be to enable the pupil to understand each idea as it is presented, to combine these ideas to get the thought of the sentence, and to follow the chain of thought from sentence to sentence until he grasps the meaning of the paragraph, essay, story, or poem, as a whole. As rapidly as the maturity of the pupil permits, other elements that aid in the better understanding of a piece of literature may be considered in connection with the reading. The study of the structure, the form, the author’s purpose, his style, the revelation of the author’s personality, the relation of the piece of literature to the age in which it was written, and a comparison with other pieces of the same type, all give a clearer understanding of literature. The other purpose of the reading is to stimulate the pupils’ interest in good literature, and to lead them to read what is worth while, on their own initiative. If interest is aroused by the reading and study in class, of one work of an author, it is easy to create a desire to read other works by the same author, outside of the class room. By suggestions and advice the teacher can do much toward directing the pupils in their outside reading. To lead pupils to read, understand, and appreciate the best of English literature is certainly an aim that is worth striving to accomplish.

To enable the pupil to give clear and effective expression to his own thoughts, is the end and aim of the other important part of the English work—composition. That composition is the expression of his own thoughts is the first principle that must constantly be impressed upon the pupils’ minds. The misconception that the only ideas worth expressing in writing themes are those derived from books, must be corrected at once. While reproductions and paraphrases of the expressed thoughts of others may sometimes be used as exercises, the fact must be made clear to the pupils that these are not original compositions, in as much as they are not the expression of their own ideas.

The relation of clear thinking to clear expression is another factor to be considered in teaching composition. Much of 9the instruction in theme writing is really concerned with training the pupils to think logically and to arrange their thoughts in an orderly manner. Pupils must be taught that as they can give clear expression only to those thoughts that are clear in their own minds, the first process in theme writing is the clarifying and arranging of their ideas. The mental training given by such systematic preparation for theme writing as the making of outlines or other devices for grouping thoughts in a logical plan, is invaluable, since, unlike that given by other studies, it is concerned largely with the pupil’s own thoughts rather than with those acquired from books.

The third important element in composition is the style or form of expression. The first aim of teaching composition, whether written or oral, must be to give the pupils sufficient command of simple, idiomatic English for the needs of everyday life. If the average pupil can be taught to express his ideas in clear, correct English, much will have been accomplished by the four years’ training. Those pupils who show natural ability in expression can be encouraged to develop their talent for writing or speaking in connection with class work or with the various outside activities of the school, and may be given considerable assistance in their efforts by the teacher of English. It is much more important, however, to enable the majority of high school pupils to express themselves simply, naturally, and correctly, than to attempt to develop literary style where there is little natural ability.


1. Length of Course

All high schools provide four years of instruction in English, and most of the schools devote five periods a week to the subject in each year. The course of study outlined in this bulletin, therefore, is arranged on the basis of five periods a week for four years. The successful completion of at least two years’ work in English, one-half of which shall be devoted to composition and rhetoric, and one-half to the study of 10English classics, is required of all students for graduation from Wisconsin high schools, and for entrance to the University of Wisconsin. The first two years of English are always required of all high school pupils whether they pursue an elective or a prescribed course of study. In some high schools four years’ study of English is required of all pupils, and in most of the Wisconsin high schools the curriculum provides for three years of English in all courses. When the course of study is partly elective, pupils are usually advised to continue with a third and often a fourth year of English after completing the two years of required work. Thus practically all high school pupils pursue the course in English for at least three years.

Whether pupils who study English for three years take up the work in the third or the fourth year of their course, is generally determined by the arrangement of the other subjects in the curriculum. When a choice may be made by either third or fourth year pupils between third and fourth year English, the principal and teacher of English can often decide for the pupil, basing their decision in each case upon what they know of the pupil and his plans. For some pupils the survey of English and American literature in the third year will be most valuable since it furnishes them the means of extending their acquaintance with literature by independent reading. Other pupils will doubtless derive more benefit from the intensive study of a few classics outlined for the fourth year.

2. Plan of Course

The arrangement of the several phases of the English work in the course, and the amount of time that is to be devoted to each is as follows[2]:

2. For a complete outline of the course see p. 47.

First year—5 periods a week; one-half of the time to be given to composition, and one-half to the reading and study of literature.

Second year—5 periods a week; one-half of the time to be given to composition, and one-half to the reading and study of literature.

11Third year—5 periods a week; from one-tenth to one-fifth of the time to be given to the history of English literature during the first three-quarters of the year and to the history of American literature during the last quarter of the year; four-fifths of the time to be devoted to the study of the works of representative authors in each period of the history of English and American literature; and from one-tenth to one-fifth of the time to be given to composition.

Fourth year—5 periods a week; four-fifths of the time to be devoted to the study of typical examples of each of the following forms of literature: the novel, the drama, the lyric, and the essay; one-fifth of the time to be given to composition.

The reading and study of literature in class in each year is to be supplemented by library reading of literature, the amount of which will be determined by library facilities and other local conditions.

3. Arrangement of Classes

If the English work is being taught by several teachers, the distribution of classes among the teachers deserves careful consideration. No English work should be entrusted to a teacher who is not interested in the subject and who is not adequately prepared to teach it. It is particularly important that the first year classes should be in charge of the best teachers of English that the school has in its corps. The not infrequent practice of having the thoroughly prepared and experienced teachers take charge of third and fourth year English, and of assigning the first year classes to the young and inexperienced English teacher, or even to teachers of other subjects who have little or no interest in the work and who are compelled to take classes in first year English because their time is not completely occupied by their own subjects, generally proves extremely unsatisfactory. If the pupils in the high schools are to have the right attitude toward the study of English, and are to begin the subject in the right way, the best teachers must be provided for the first year work, since much of the success of the whole high school course in English depends upon the manner in which the introductory work is taught.

12The number of classes in English to be assigned to the teacher and the size of these classes must also be considered. The teaching of English requires an unusual amount of work outside of class. First, the preparation for each day’s teaching whether the work is in composition or reading demands much time and energy if it is to be done as it should be. Second, the correction of themes is a daily task that must be done carefully and accurately and that requires the best effort of the teacher when his mind is most keen and active. Third, personal conferences with each pupil on his written work are now generally conceded to be essential for successful training in writing. All these elements must be considered in arranging the programme of classes for teachers of English. Teachers cannot do satisfactory work if they must prepare for five or six classes a day, teach these classes, correct twenty-five or thirty themes daily, and hold conferences with pupils before and after school. The teaching of many classes exhausts the energy of the teacher and makes accurate correction after school or in the evening, as well as the careful preparation for the next day’s classes, extremely difficult if not impossible. Conferences on written work should be provided for in the regular programme and should not interfere with the teacher’s other duties before and after school. Four classes a day, two periods daily for conference with pupils, and not more than a hundred pupils in all classes, a number which requires the correction of one hundred themes a week, is an arrangement of work that makes possible effective teaching.

4. Conference of Teachers

To give unity to the four years’ work in English, it is essential that all the teachers of English in each high school meet at frequent intervals to discuss organization, methods, and progress of the work. Each teacher will thus familiarize himself with the English work of the whole school, and can do his particular part of it more intelligently and more effectively. As the success of high school English also depends in no small degree upon the character of the instruction which the pupils have received in the grades, and particularly in the seventh and eighth grades, it will be found very profitable to have similar conferences occasionally between 13the seventh and eighth grade teachers and the high school teachers of English. A closer relation ought to exist between the English work of the last two grades and the high school, and there seems to be no better way to accomplish this than to bring about cooperation between the teachers through the medium of these conferences. The benefit to the teachers and the great advantage that results to the English work of the school repay many fold the time and effort devoted to these conferences. If local conditions make these meetings of grade and high school teachers impracticable, the high school teacher of English should make every effort to familiarize himself with the amount and character of the training which the pupils have had before entering the high school, by visiting the schools and conferring with the teachers in the seventh and eighth grades. The knowledge thus acquired of the earlier training of the pupils will be of great service to the high school teacher in planning his work both in reading and composition.


The ability to write clearly and accurately can generally be acquired only by practice. If this practice is to be really effective it can not be confined to one semester or one year, but must extend through the whole course in English. Training in composition naturally includes a study of the principles of the art; and since these principles are of different degrees of difficulty, all can not be presented in one year, but must be developed from year to year as the ability and maturity of the pupil makes possible the comprehension and application of them. Practice in writing and instruction in the principles of composition, therefore, must form a part of all instruction in English throughout the four years.

1. Theme Writing

Since it is only by constant practice that the average pupil can learn to write good English, it naturally follows that the essential part of the composition work is the writing 14of themes. The methods by which the pupil is given this practice are of the greatest importance. In the first place, as has already been indicated, it should be made clear to the pupil what original composition is, and what it is not. The belief, all too prevalent among pupils, that ideas for compositions are to be obtained largely if not entirely from books, should be promptly eradicated from their minds. They must be constantly impressed with the fact that the expression of their own ideas is the important factor in all original composition.

The direction of the pupils to a right choice of subject for their compositions is the first important consideration. The possibility of writing interesting themes on the everyday incidents in the life of the pupils and the school must be made clear to them at the beginning of the course. After the pupils have once been made to see the inexhaustible supply of material which their own experience affords, there will be no temptation to turn to books for inspiration. Throughout the course in composition it is necessary for a teacher of English to have a large supply of good subjects for themes. To secure these subjects the teacher must familiarize himself with local conditions, particularly as they affect the life and interests of his pupils. It is an essential part of the teacher’s preparation for teaching composition that he inform himself fully upon the subjects of local interest upon which he encourages the pupils to write. By his interest in the various activities of the pupils and by his sympathy in their efforts, the teacher not only comes to know what subjects to suggest for composition, but gains the pupils’ confidence, and arouses in them a desire to tell him of these activities in their written work. With proper encouragement and interest on the part of the teacher, pupils will soon come to take pleasure in writing of their everyday experiences, and the themes will become a source of greater pleasure and satisfaction to both teacher and pupils.

It is frequently desirable that the same subject be assigned to all pupils, so that the results may be compared and presented to the class as part of the regular instruction. At other times it is necessary to give the class a number of subjects from which each pupil may select the one that suits 15him best; and at still others, to suggest general topics from which the pupil may frame his own subject. In announcing and assigning a subject for compositions the teacher can be of much assistance to the pupils by discussing with the class the subject under consideration. These discussions will stimulate interest in the subject, and will arouse a desire on the part of the pupils to write upon it. The teacher can direct the discussion so that the pupils will be led to consider the best method of treating the subject and can thus prevent waste of effort. It is necessary, however, to guard against giving the pupil so many suggestions that little original thought and observation will be required in writing the theme.

That clear, logical thinking is prerequisite for clear expression should also be constantly emphasized in teaching composition. Pupils must be made to realize, as has already been said, that unless thoughts are clear in their own minds, they cannot expect to make these thoughts clear to others. They should be taught, therefore, to get before their minds clearly what they desire to express before they undertake to express it. The first step can be taken early in the course when the pupils are writing narratives, by urging upon them the necessity of accuracy in observing what happens and how it happens, since the degree of completeness of the remembrance of the event depends upon the character of the impression. In description, likewise, careful observation of what is to be portrayed must be emphasized as the only means of obtaining a complete mental picture that can be described to others. The methods of exposition and argumentation presented in the third and fourth years naturally involve a discussion of the methods of reasoning and as much logic as the pupils can comprehend. So closely related are thinking and the expression of thought that, as has been pointed out before, much of the work of teaching pupils to express their thoughts clearly and accurately is really concerned with teaching them to think clearly and logically.

In all work of this kind the outline is of great value. An outline of a paragraph analyzed in connection with the reading will make clear the manner of arranging the subtopics and details in an orderly form. A similar outline of the subject of a theme, made in class by the cooperation of teacher 16and pupils, will indicate the method of grouping the pupil’s own ideas in a logical manner. After the process has been illustrated by such class exercises, the pupils should be required to make outlines of their themes, without assistance from the teacher. While it is not necessary to require that a complete outline be prepared by the pupils for every theme that is assigned, frequent exercises in outlining the material of the theme before it is written are desirable throughout the course. Like all formal devices, the outline, if made mechanically, may tend to curb the spontaneous expression of the pupils; but rightly employed by the teacher and pupils, it will readily become a valuable aid to clear thinking and expression.

From the beginning to the end of the course in English, the fact must be impressed upon the pupils’ minds that the only acceptable themes are those that are the result of thought and careful effort. Hastily and carelessly prepared compositions and those handed in after the appointed time, should not be accepted by the teacher. Promptness, neatness, and earnest effort are essentials for successful theme writing that pupils should never be permitted to neglect. While it may seem very exacting to require that all themes be written in black ink, on paper of uniform size, and that they be numbered or dated and indorsed in a prescribed form, experience has shown that these details in the organization of the work are important for economy of time and effort on the part of teacher and pupils.

Although most of the themes will be prepared by the pupils before coming to the class room, it is desirable to have some of them written during the recitation period in order to give the pupils practice in thinking and writing rapidly. At the beginning of the course the subject may be assigned at the preceding recitation so that the pupils may consider it carefully and come prepared to write. After the pupils have gained some fluency of expression, impromptu themes will prove interesting and valuable class room exercises. Considerable importance should be attached to these impromptu themes and exercises as tests of the pupils’ ability to write rapidly and accurately.


2. Correction of Themes

Of equal importance to the writing of themes is the prompt and careful correction of them by the teacher, and the revision or rewriting by the pupil. While doubtless the pupil will gain some facility in expression by writing frequently, he is not likely to learn how to write clear, accurate, forcible English unless his work is carefully corrected and returned to him promptly so that it may be revised or rewritten. In correcting themes the purpose should be to indicate to the pupil the errors and weaknesses of his style, in order that he may correct these faults. The teacher, therefore, should not correct the pupil’s errors, but should use some sign or abbreviation to indicate the character of the fault. Much if not all of the benefit derived by the pupil from the teacher’s correction is lost if he does not have the opportunity to correct his own errors in revising or rewriting the composition. Not only is this correction of the pupil’s mistakes by the teacher bad pedagogically, but it takes a needless amount of the teacher’s time. It is desirable to have a simple but complete system of signs and abbreviations indicating the exact character of the error. In this connection attention may be called to the value of having each school adopt some system of correction signs and abbreviations, so that the same marks may be used not only by all of the teachers of English, but by the teachers of all other subjects in correcting note-books, topics, examination papers, and all other written exercises. It is only by insisting that high school pupils be as careful of their English in all written work as in compositions prepared for English classes that the best results can be accomplished.

The following sign and abbreviations used in the English department of the University of Wisconsin for the correction of themes may serve to indicate the character and scope of a system of correction marks:

balmake elements balance.
∥cst.parallel construction.
Dsee dictionary.
Epoor English.
F. W.fine writing.
figfigure of speech.
pccomma fault.
permake periodic.
W. W.wrong word.
[ ]omit.
xobvious error.
small letter.
capital letter.

Besides indicating all the errors in every theme, the teacher should write a concise comment on each, pointing out the faults and merits of the theme. He should aim to make these comments as stimulating and suggestive as possible for judicious criticism must be constructive, encouraging the pupil in that which is praiseworthy in his efforts, as well as aiding him to eliminate that which is undesirable. These comments to be most helpful should be based on the teacher’s knowledge of the pupil’s personality and of the character of his other themes, for each piece of written work must be regarded as a step in the individual pupil’s progress toward the more effective expression of his thoughts. The teacher should also remember that firm insistence from the beginning to the end of the course on correctness in the fundamentals of expression such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, is quite as necessary as the stimulating criticism that aims at developing more original and spontaneous thought and expression.

In order that the pupil may get the greatest benefit from the teacher’s correction of his themes, these should be returned for revision or rewriting as soon as possible. If the pupil does not receive his theme until a week or more after he has written it, the corrections and the revision and rewriting are much less interesting and valuable than if it is returned to him promptly. It is also easier for the teacher to correct themes as soon as they are received rather than to allow them 19to accumulate until their number makes the correction of them an exhausting task.

In addition to the careful correction of compositions by the teacher, other methods may be used to call attention to the merits and faults of the pupils’ themes. The teacher may have the pupils copy on the blackboard the themes which they have prepared before coming to class, and the recitation period may be devoted to the criticism of these compositions by teacher and pupils. The pupils may occasionally be required to correct each other’s written work, either in or out of the class room. A recitation period can sometimes be used to advantage for the rewriting by the pupils of themes corrected by the teacher, who by passing from one pupil to another during this exercise can assist each in correcting and improving his work. While these methods often prove interesting and valuable, they should not be regarded as an adequate substitute for the prompt and accurate correction of themes by the teacher.

3. Filing of Themes

After themes have been either rewritten or revised by pupils, they should be returned to the teacher, who must glance over them to be sure that the pupils have made the necessary changes. If the themes are rewritten, the original as well as the rewritten form should be returned to the teacher for the purpose of this comparison. It is also desirable to have some method of filing themes after they have been returned to the teacher. A simple method of keeping them is to use looseleaf note-books similar to the laboratory note-books in science. With this system the themes are first handed in on separate sheets of uniform size, and, after they have been corrected by the teacher and revised or rewritten by the pupil, are fastened in the note-book. If the themes are rewritten or corrected on the blank page of the note-book facing the original copy, the teacher can readily compare the two forms and can determine the character of the revision. Another plan adopted by a number of schools is to have a large filing case with a compartment for the themes of each pupil in the school. All the themes should be preserved until the end of the year, when they may be returned to the pupils.


4. Conferences on Written Work

In order to accomplish the best results in theme writing and correcting, it is desirable that the teacher talk over the written work with each pupil as frequently as his time permits. If the English teacher’s programme of recitations is properly arranged, he should have sufficient time to have conferences with all his pupils once a month. Regular appointments should be made with each pupil for holding these conferences during those periods in which both pupil and teacher have no recitation. At the conference the teacher can go over with the pupil the written work of the month, can answer questions, and give helpful suggestions for improving the pupil’s composition and class work.

5. Oral Composition

Although the term “composition” as used in connection with English work usually refers only to written expression, it is evident that the oral expression of the pupils’ thoughts is worthy of consideration. Generally no particular provision is made in high school work for so-called oral composition, nor does it seem necessary to provide a distinct place for it in the outline of the course. The importance of the form of the recitation in every subject is emphasized by all good teachers. The topical recitation now so frequently required in all high school studies, if properly conducted, is the most effective kind of oral composition that can be given. A teacher of English, of course, should give especial attention to the form of recitation in English classes. Pupils, after some encouragement, will express their ideas freely in the course of the discussions which inevitably arise in connection with the reading and composition. Their attention should be directed to the fact that the same principles govern the clear and forcible expression in spoken, as in written language. The correction of common faults in recitation, such as the “and”, “and then” habit, will assist in eliminating these errors from the written work as well as in improving greatly the oral expression. During the first year the pupils may be assigned simple topics in connection with the reading and should be taught how to collect the material and arrange it in an outline 21form from which to present it in the class room. After they have acquired the ability to present topics with the aid of notes, they should be encouraged to speak without any of these aids. The same method may be applied to the daily recitation. In fact, it is often best to begin by having the pupils outline the subject matter of the lesson and come to class prepared to recite upon any topic in the outline. In this manner the recitations in English and in practically all of the other subjects of the high school course may be used to give the pupils the necessary training in oral composition.

6. Principles of Composition

In connection with the writing and correction of themes must be studied the principles of composition and their application. These rhetorical principles may be presented either inductively or deductively. The pupil may either learn them from a definite statement in the text-book, which illustrates their application by selected examples, or he may be led to discover the principles of effective expression from the literature that he is studying in class as a part of the work in reading. While much may be said for the merits of each of these methods, the inductive plan seems to commend itself particularly, since it makes possible a close and effective correlation of the two elements of the English work—composition and reading.

During the first two years, when particular attention is given to the principles of sentence and paragraph construction in the composition work, these principles can be developed and their application readily illustrated from the selections that are read and studied in class. The object of the work in reading, as has already been stated, is to teach the pupil to get the thought clearly from the printed page. In order to do this effectively, it is necessary to study with some degree of care the sentence and paragraph structure of the selection which he is reading. To get the thought of each sentence it is necessary to understand clearly the relation of all its parts. By noting the separate ideas as expressed in words, phrases, and clauses, and by determining their relation in the sentence as the expression of the whole thought, the pupil is taught the principles of sentence unity and coherence. If 22his attention is properly drawn to these principles as they are exemplified in the literature before him, the importance and application of them may be clearly demonstrated without spoiling the masterpiece of literature. In fact the appreciation of the skill of the literary artist is thereby increased, provided the teaching is done in a proper manner.

To follow the chain of thought in the paragraph, it is necessary to see clearly the relation of each thought as expressed in the sentence to the preceding and succeeding thoughts in order that the development of the topic may be clear, and that the pupil may grasp the subject in its entirety. In teaching the pupil to get the whole thought in the paragraph, it is necessary to consider the whole topic treated in the paragraph; that is, to study the unity of the paragraph; and also to consider the relation of each thought to the one central topic; that is, the principle of paragraph coherence. Thus, in the effort to teach the pupil how to get the thoughts of others by reading, the essential principles of composition are absolutely necessary. In a similar manner all the principles of narration, description, exposition, and argumentation may be developed inductively from the reading. By seeing the application of the rhetorical principles in literature, the pupil comes to realize their importance in effective writing, and is impressed by the varied forms of their application as he is not likely to be by selected examples isolated from their context, in text-books.

7. Use of Text-book

If the principles of composition may be developed from the masterpieces that are studied in class, the question naturally suggests itself, “Is it necessary to have a text-book at all in studying the principles of rhetoric and composition?” It is entirely possible to teach composition successfully without a text-book, but owing to difficulties in the organization of the schools, and the not infrequent change of teachers, it is often desirable for the sake of uniformity of work to make use of a text-book. It is also convenient, even where these difficulties do not exist, to have a good text-book to which the teacher may direct the pupil for a detailed statement of the principles after they have been developed and exemplified 23in the reading; that is, to use it as a reference book. In order that it may be used thus for reference, the text-book selected should take up the principles of composition and the forms of discourse in a logical manner, treating each fully and systematically in a separate division. Text-books of this character can be used throughout the first two years at least, and some of them are sufficiently complete to supply all the material needed for four years’ study of composition.

It is generally conceded that text-books in rhetoric and composition have very often been used to poor advantage by having the pupils memorize the definitions and statements of principles, and by devoting much of the period set aside for composition to recitation upon the subject matter of the text book. The principles of rhetoric and composition, of course, have little value except as the pupil is able to apply them in his own work or to recognize the application of them in the work of others. The real test of his knowledge of the subject matter of the text-book therefore is not made by having him recite what the book contains, but by requiring him to apply it in his own work and to perceive examples of it in that of others.


1. Methods of Teaching

The purposes already indicated for the reading are “to enable the pupil to understand the expressed thoughts of others,” “to cultivate an acquaintance with good literature, and to furnish him with a means of extending that acquaintance.” It is evident that the only way to teach the pupil to understand the expressed thoughts of others is to have him understand each unit of that expression. The meanings of words, allusions, and figures of speech, as the expressions of the idea, must be clearly understood. The intelligent use of the dictionary and the usual books of reference should therefore be taught at the very beginning of the course of reading. Whenever the origin and history of a word are helpful for a better understanding of its meaning, these may be called to 24the pupil’s attention, and he should be encouraged to observe in the dictionary the etymology of words as he looks for their meaning. While the importance of knowing the significance of proper names, allusions, etc., is to be impressed on the pupil’s mind, the preparation of the reading lesson must not be allowed to degenerate into a mere searching for the meaning of all unknown terms in the assignment. Pupils should be warned against the practice of making a list of all the unknown words in the lesson and of consulting the dictionary and other books of reference for information, without considering the context in which the words are used.

From the very beginning of the course in reading, the teacher should make sure that each pupil gets a clear conception of the thought expressed in each sentence. Without undue emphasis on grammatical analysis, the pupil should be encouraged to note the form in which the principal proposition is expressed, and the manner in which it is modified by the subordinate elements, for it is only by the careful consideration of the syntactical relations that the pupil can get accurately the thought expressed. The development of the thought through a series of sentences constituting a paragraph must be analyzed with equal care, so that the pupil may see clearly the development of the thought and the relation of each sentence to the preceding and succeeding ones and to the paragraph topic. The amount and character of analysis in each assignment of reading should be carefully determined by the teacher as he prepares his work for each day, and he must beware of having the reading lesson become merely a formal analysis of sentence and paragraph structure, for nothing more effectively kills the pupil’s interest in reading than too much of this formal analytical drill on detail.

Various methods may be used to assist the pupil in grasping the thought expressed in the literature. In narration, the retelling of the story, paragraph by paragraph, from memory, will lead the pupils to get the details of the story in logical groups. In description, the pupils should be required to visualize the scene, object, or person portrayed in words. Boys and girls can readily be interested in exercises of this kind and will respond eagerly when asked to describe the mental pictures which they obtain from a given piece of 25description. Sketches on the blackboard to make clear the position of the details in the description and other devices tend to emphasize to the pupil the importance of reading carefully and accurately in order to get the whole thought of the author.

After the pupil has been taught to get the thought accurately, the analysis may be extended to the forms of discourse and the qualities of style. In short stories, novels, and dramas the analysis of plot, the delineation of character, and similar consideration of the principles of narration and description will naturally receive due attention. In essays and orations the study of corresponding principles of exposition and argumentation gives the pupil a clearer conception and better appreciation of the writer’s purpose and the means that he uses to accomplish it. A study of metre and verse form is necessary for an appreciation of the poetry read and studied in class. The study of all these details, designed as it is to help the pupils to understand the author’s thought, part by part, ought always to lead to a better understanding and appreciation of the meaning and purpose of the whole. A study of literature that emphasizes details to such an extent that the theme and significance of the story, the drama, or the poem, as a whole, is neglected, fails to bring out the vital element.

The value of the ideas and ideals which find expression in the literature must not be overlooked in planning the work in reading. As a portrayal of life in its various activities, literature presents to the pupil many types of character and action, and thus gives the boys and girls a broader view of life than their own experience affords. The analysis of character, motives, and actions forms an interesting and valuable part of the study of literature. Since good literature is also an interpretation or “criticism” of life, it presents life in its true relations and shows their significance. The author’s interpretation of life, his judgment upon its various phases, and the emotional coloring which he gives it, are all to be considered in a manner best adapted to the maturity and understanding of the pupils. The formative influence exerted upon the character of the boys and girls by the characters and actions portrayed in their reading, as well as by 26the emotional element of literature is undoubtedly of importance, and by some teachers is emphasized in all their work. The ideals of conduct presented in good literature, and the close relation between conduct and the emotions aroused by the reading, are often factors in the ethical training of the pupils, but the indirect and unconscious influence of these elements is generally much more effective than many efforts to teach lessons in ethics based on literature.

Since the study of literature involves the consideration of all these various elements, the result accomplished in reading will depend largely upon the methods of the teacher in preparing his work for each day’s reading. Before beginning the reading and study of a piece of literature with a class, the teacher should make a careful study of the whole, analyzing and outlining it, so that the relation of each part to the expression and development of the theme may be clearly determined. With this outline before him the teacher can plan each day’s reading more readily and intelligently. Every recitation in reading should be carefully planned by the teacher in order that each part of the work may receive emphasis proportionate to its importance and that something definite may be accomplished toward a better appreciation of the whole.

Owing to the fact that the study of literature is radically different from any other subject which the high school pupils pursue, much attention must be given to teaching them how to read and study a piece of literature. In assigning the lesson in reading, the teacher should indicate clearly to the pupils what they are to do, and as far as possible, how they are to do it. Failure of the pupils to understand clearly what is desired of them, is the cause of many a poorly prepared recitation in English. A well planned outline with the important points to be considered in studying the day’s lesson, or a series of questions concerning these points, will serve to give direction to the pupils’ preparation from day to day, and in the end will teach them how to read and study literature.

In connection with the reading, pupils should be encouraged to memorize the whole or parts of many of the pieces of literature studied in class. In every year of the course the teacher should select passages from the reading that are worth 27memorizing, and should urge the pupils to learn them. To make a task of this memorizing is not desirable, nor is it at all necessary, for pupils will usually respond willingly to the teacher’s suggestion as to the value of learning choice selections of prose and poetry. The value of knowing and being able to quote many of the finest passages in English and American literature cannot be overestimated.

2. Reading Aloud

Some attention should generally be given to reading aloud intelligently. A part of each recitation may be devoted to giving the pupils practice in distinct, accurate pronunciation, and in reading with sufficient expression to interpret the meaning. The teacher can do much toward showing the pupils how to read by reading to them from time to time, and then having them read the same selection. The frequent practice of devoting a considerable part of the recitation period to reading aloud in class by the pupils without individual correction or helpful suggestion by the teacher is a waste of time. As few high school pupils, particularly in the first two years of their course, read sufficiently well to interpret a piece of literature for their classmates continued reading aloud in class by the pupils is an uninteresting exercise that is more likely to decrease than increase the pupils’ interest, pleasure, or appreciation. If the assignment has been read and studied carefully by the pupils in preparation for the recitation, the only purpose of having any portion of it read aloud in class must be to give the pupils practice in reading clearly, accurately, and intelligently. To be of value this practice must be systematic and must be regarded as an exercise in expression. Careful preparation by the pupils including practice in reading aloud at home, and helpful criticism by the teacher, are as essential for success in exercises in reading aloud as in other forms of expression. Since training in reading aloud is neither the primary nor the secondary aim of the study of literature, the time to be devoted to these exercises in the class room must necessarily be very limited.

As the ability to read well depends in part upon the management of the voice, some attention may be given from time to time to the fundamental principles of vocal expression. 28Occasional instruction in class in correct breathing, the control of the voice, the position of the vocal organs in the formation of the different sounds, and the care of the voice, supplemented by exercises for individual practice, will aid materially in improving the character of the vocal expression not only in reading but also in recitation and conversation.

3. Choice of Reading

To carry out effectively the plan for the correlation of the reading and composition work, and to provide a well graded course of reading adapted to the maturity and ability of the pupils, the greatest care must be exercised in the selection of masterpieces of literature to be read and studied in class. Beginning with the simple prose narrative in the form of short stories, tales, and sketches in the first year, the work should proceed by regular gradations to more difficult types. For the first two years of the course, during which one-half of the time allotted to English is devoted to work in composition, the reading should be chosen with regard to the principles of composition and forms of discourse that are to be considered, so that a close correlation may be made between the two elements of the course. In the third year the study of the history of English literature will determine the order in which the authors are to be taken up, but the character and maturity of the pupils must be considered in the choice of authors and selections for reading and study in class. Again in the fourth year the same elements must determine the choice. It is impossible to prescribe certain books to be read in each year, since the character of the pupils in different schools and in different classes in the same school, makes necessary a selection of reading adapted to local conditions.

Although in the number and variety of the books the list of college entrance requirements in English is now sufficiently large to meet the needs of the average school, it is not necessary to confine the selection of material for study in class to this list. On page 50 of this bulletin is given a list of the selections adapted for reading and study, together with suggestions as to the years in the course in which they can be read to the best advantage.

29In selecting editions of the masterpieces for reading in class, the purpose and methods of the reading should not be forgotten. If the pupil is to be taught to work out the meaning of unfamiliar words, figures, and allusions, it is undesirable to give him this information on every page in the form of foot-notes explanatory of many things that with a little effort he might find in reference books. Elaborate introductions in which the structure and style of the masterpiece are fully discussed are equally undesirable, since they tend to make unnecessary any original thought or analysis on the part of the pupils. The text of the masterpiece with a few notes explanatory of unusual difficulties is all that is necessary in order to carry on successfully the study of any selection.

4. Library Reading

Throughout the course in English, the pupils ought to be urged, if not actually required, to read considerable good literature in addition to that read and studied in class. A list of standard books as large and as wide in range of subjects as the library facilities of the school make possible, should be prepared each year, and the pupils should be encouraged to read as many of these books as their time permits. Reading that is done on the pupil’s own initiative is many times more valuable than that which he does simply because of a formal requirement. If the plan is followed of requiring that a certain number of books be read, precaution must be taken against making the outside reading a formal task rather than a pleasure. The teacher can do much toward interesting the pupils in the library reading. By reading aloud to the class a chapter or two of a book, he may lead many of the pupils to read the whole book. By referring in the class work to the characters, plots, and other details of the books on the reading list, or by quoting from them, he will often arouse the pupils’ curiosity and create a desire to read the books. By considering the tastes and needs of the individual pupils, he can suggest to each the books most likely to be of the greatest interest and value. To create and develop the desire to read good literature outside of the class room, is one of the greatest privileges of the teacher of English.

30In general the plan of having a written review, outline, or summary of these books, either as a part of the composition or the reading work, is to be discouraged. Since the writing of a book review is a difficult task for a man or woman of broad education, it is too much to expect that the immature high school pupil will be able to do it with any degree of intelligence or interest. The fact constantly emphasized by such a method, that every book which he reads must serve as material for a book review, a summary, or an examination, often defeats the purpose of his outside reading, since it tends to create a dislike rather than a love for reading. The books read by pupils may sometimes be discussed in class, however, as a means of arousing interest in the outside reading, and frequently pupils may be led to express their opinions freely, and spontaneously concerning the books under discussion. If the pupils can be turned from an oral to a written discussion of the book more or less spontaneously, there is less danger in having an occasional written exercise based on the library reading.


In outlining the work of the first year, it is assumed that English will be pursued for five periods a week throughout the year. Of this time one-half should be devoted to composition, and one-half to reading. These two phases of the first year English, as has already been indicated, should be closely correlated, and must, of course, be taught by the same teacher. By suggesting that one-half of the time be devoted to each phase of the subject, it is not intended, as has already been said, that the time should be formally divided. Instead of setting aside two or three periods a week for composition it is frequently more satisfactory to devote a portion of each period to a study of the principles of composition as exemplified in the reading or to a discussion of subjects for composition, and thus not to interrupt the continuity of the reading.

In Wisconsin high schools the present course of study for one course, generally called the English course, presents one 31serious difficulty in connection with first year English; i. e., the arrangement by which grammar and composition for five periods a week and reading and composition for five periods a week are required of all pupils in this course. It is manifestly undesirable for any pupils in the first year to pursue two courses in English for ten periods a week throughout the year. This arrangement gives the pupils in this course seven and one-half periods of composition work during the second semester if the course in grammar and composition is divided so that grammar is required in the first semester and composition in the second. It also divides the composition work between two separate classes, part of the instruction in composition being given in the course in grammar and composition and part in the course in reading and composition. Since instruction in the principles of composition without practice is of little value especially for the immature pupils in the first year, and since from five to seven and a half periods is too much time to devote to composition when the amount of practice that is possible or even desirable is necessarily limited, the best solution of the problem seems to be to devote the time to additional reading and not to attempt to give more than two and a half periods, the amount assigned for other courses, to composition work. The question of teaching grammar is considered on page 32.

1. Composition

The object of the first year in composition should be to encourage pupils to express freely their own ideas and impressions. Fluency of expression is to be encouraged by every possible means. The most effective method of developing this free and fluent expression is to have the pupils write on subjects in which they are most interested. It is sometimes said that the difficulty in writing themes in the first year lies in the fact that the pupils have nothing to write about from their own experience, and that therefore subjects must be drawn largely from the reading; that is, pupils must reproduce others’ thoughts rather than express their own. It seems doubtful whether this paucity of ideas really exists, for it is indeed a stupid girl or boy in the first year at high 32school who is not interested in many things in active everyday life, and who does not talk constantly of these things to schoolmates and friends. It is doubtless true that the pupil often does not consider his simple experiences of sufficient importance to be the subjects of his compositions and must therefore be led by the teacher to see the possibilities which they contain. It is the duty of the teacher of composition, as has been said, to familiarize himself with the surroundings of his pupils, and to interest himself in their various activities in and out of school. It is only by such sympathy and interest that he can get his pupils to express themselves freely in their themes. Experience has shown that the daily life of the individual pupil, and the varied activities of the school can be made to furnish practically all of the theme subjects not only for first year composition, but also for that of the other three years.

While fluency and spontaneity of expression should be encouraged in every way possible, the teacher must also insist on accuracy in details of expression. The common errors in grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and other matters of form should be corrected constantly, and by the end of the first year all such mistakes should be fairly well eliminated from the average pupil’s work. In connection with the correction of errors in the themes, the rules of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar may be reviewed to advantage from time to time.

2. English Grammar

It is not desirable to take up formally the study of English, grammar as a regular part of first year English. Whenever the plan of devoting a semester or a term to English grammar has been tried, it has been conceded that the course has not been very successful. The cause of this is not far to seek. Since the pupils have been drilled in grammar in the seventh and eighth grades, a repetition of the subject at the beginning of the high school course invariably proves distasteful, and it is extremely difficult if not practically impossible to arouse any interest in the subject. High school pupils in the first year are too immature to take up the subject from a point of view materially different from that from which it was studied 33in the grades. The work, consequently, is done in a perfunctory manner, and seems to have little practical result in the pupils’ written or spoken English. It is the general experience, nevertheless, that a number of pupils entering the high school are deficient in their knowledge of the most elementary principles of English grammar, and that they are therefore somewhat handicapped in taking up the study of composition. If the present system of promotion permits some pupils to enter the high school without a sufficient knowledge of the elements of English grammar to make possible an intelligent study of high school English, it seems very doubtful whether the high school course in English should be planned to provide for pupils whose preparation is deficient. If provision must be made for the deficient ones, a special class in grammar should be organized for their benefit, and well-prepared pupils should not be compelled to repeat this grade work. This special review of grammar for poorly prepared pupils should not form a part of the regular English work of the first year, and it may be questioned whether it should be credited for graduation from high school. For pupils of required preparation the only study of grammar necessary in the first year may be taken up in connection with the correction of errors made by the pupils in composition. Syntax must be studied in connection with the construction of sentences in composition work. A consideration of the grammatical construction of sentences required for effective work in reading and composition, with such review of grammar as is made necessary by the actual errors of the pupils, will generally be sufficient training in grammar for the first year.

3. Rhetorical Principles

The study of rhetorical principles in the first year should be confined to the consideration of the simpler principles of sentence and paragraph construction. In connection with the study of grammatical construction of sentences, the violation of the principles of sentence unity and sentence coherence in the pupils’ written work will offer opportunity for enlarging upon the application of these principles. If, in the first year, pupils can be taught to express simple ideas in sentences the parts of which are logically connected, much will have 34been accomplished. In paragraph construction unity and coherence must also be emphasized; that is, the pupils should be taught that the paragraph consists of a series of closely related sentences developing a single topic. The unity of the paragraph as emphasized by the part of the definition referring to the single topic, and the principle of coherence, as brought out by the idea of a series of related sentences, constitute the important points regarding paragraph construction to be developed in the first year.

The simplest principles of narration, such as the choice, order, and connection of incidents, may be emphasized and developed in the pupils’ composition work. Examples of the application of these principles will be noted constantly in the short stories read in class. During the second semester the elementary principles of description can be developed from the reading, and pupils can be led to add a descriptive element to their narrative themes, or even to write short descriptive themes. After studying the descriptive methods used in the portrayal of a character or scene in the story read in class, the pupils may very naturally be encouraged to write descriptions of persons or places with which they are familiar. The knowledge and application of these principles of composition, thoroughly mastered, is all the rhetoric that is necessary for the first year.

4. Theme Writing

In the first year one or two short themes a week will give sufficient practice in composition. A short theme should consist of one well-rounded paragraph of about 150 words. The one-paragraph theme of this length has several advantages. First, the pupil is taught from the beginning of his high school composition work to regard the paragraph as a unit of some length, which may be complete in itself. Second, the pupil usually has enough ideas for a short theme, and can present them simply and directly without writing to fill space, as he sometimes must do when longer themes are required. Third, a teacher can correct these short single page themes in less time, and yet see clearly the pupil’s faults, for he is likely to make the characteristic errors as evident in one page as in three or four. If the teacher has time to correct carefully 35two short themes a week, one of these may be prepared outside the class room, and the other may be written during part of one of the recitation periods. This plan gives the pupil practice in carefully prepared written work for the writing of which he has plenty of time, and also in writing rapidly in class when he has time to prepare but a single draft of his theme.

As in all composition work, these themes must be promptly and carefully corrected by the teacher; and the errors, as has already been pointed out, should be indicated by signs and abbreviations so that the pupil may have the benefit of correcting his mistakes. This correction by the pupil may be done either by rewriting the theme or by revising it and making corrections neatly between the lines, or in some other convenient place. In either case, the work should be returned to the teacher so that he may glance over the original and rewritten forms, or the original as revised, and may see whether the errors have been corrected and the changes properly made.

In the first year the conferences of teacher and pupil on composition work are of great importance. By talking over the work, the teacher can do much towards encouraging a pupil who becomes disheartened because of the difficulties in expressing his ideas in writing. In these conferences, also, the teacher can learn much concerning the pupil’s interests and character, and by sympathy and insight can be as helpful to the excellent pupil as to the mediocre or poor one.

5. Reading

The selection of suitable masterpieces for reading and study in the first year must be made with particular care, since the pupils’ attitude toward the reading and study of literature is often influenced for some time by their first impressions. As the purpose of the reading is not only to have the pupils understand what they read by teaching them to read carefully and accurately, but also to interest them in reading good literature, it is desirable to begin on material that does not present too many difficulties. The length of the selection is also an important element. The piece of literature must not be so long that interest in it flags or that 36the pupil can not grasp it in its entirety and study it as a unit. Short stories, tales, and narrative and descriptive sketches combine more of the desired elements than other forms of literature. Prose narratives of this type also make possible the close and effective correlation of the reading and composition, the importance of which has already been emphasized. Among the short stories and sketches that have been used successfully in the first year and that may be taken as typical are Hawthorne’s “Twice Told Tales”, Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, Holmes’ “My Hunt After the Captain”, Warner’s “A-Hunting of the Deer”, Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Mythology and folk tales have also been tried with considerable success in the first semester of the first year; the available selections include Hawthorne’s “Wonder Book”, Church’s “The Story of the Iliad” and “The Story of the Odyssey”, Peabody’s “Old Greek Folk Stories”, Bryant’s translations of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” and Palmer’s translation of the “Odyssey”.

The advantages of using prose for reading and study in the first year in preference to poetry or the poetical drama, are important ones. In the first place since it is desirable to teach pupils to get the whole thought contained in what they read, it is undoubtedly best to begin with those forms in which ideas are expressed in the usual order, which, of course, is that of prose rather than that of poetry or the poetical drama. The training in following and grasping in their entirety the expressed thoughts of others as they appear in the simplest logical order of prose should be one of the first aims of the first year reading. In the second place poetic inversions and figurative expressions increase so greatly the pupils’ difficulties in understanding what they read, that at the beginning of the course it makes too great a task of that which should be a source of interest and pleasure. To pass over these difficulties and emphasize simply the story or description in the study of poetry is to encourage the bad habit of careless, inaccurate reading. If the pupil is taught to understand fully the prose that he reads in the first year, his progress in reading poetry in the following years will be much more rapid. These advantages together with close correlation possible between the 37study of prose and the theory and practice of composition should determine the choice of reading for the first year.

What has already been said in regard to the reading in general (p. 23) applies particularly to the first year work.


1. Composition

In the second year the composition and the reading which have been begun in the first year may be continued in about the same proportion, that is, about one-half of the five periods a week may be devoted to each. The work should be largely a development and expansion of that of the first year. In the study of the rhetorical principles the consideration of sentence construction should be continued, and the principle of emphasis and its application should be studied. The several types of sentences, such as long, short, loose, periodic, and balanced, and their uses should receive considerable attention, and the importance of variety in sentence structure may be emphasized. In the discussion of paragraph structure more study may be given to the details of its construction by developing the importance of the principles of emphasis, as well as by considering again the principles of unity and coherence. The methods of developing the paragraph topic will naturally form a part of the work of paragraph construction, particularly in the second semester, when the principles of exposition are studied. The application of the same principles of unity, emphasis, and coherence to the whole theme, where it consists of a number of paragraphs, may also be developed, for in the second year it is desirable to have the students write longer themes, as well as the short ones.

The forms of discourse, narration and description, studied in the first year, will also be developed and expanded during the second year, and more emphasis can be placed upon the several forms of description. From description the pupil can be led by gradual steps to the study of exposition, and this subject may be developed as fully as the maturity of the pupils 38will permit. It is also possible in some schools to undertake the elementary forms of argumentation toward the end of the second year, particularly if there is considerable interest and activity in the school debating society, but it is not desirable to undertake much of this work with immature pupils.

The reading of the second year will also furnish material for a study of words and figures of speech. In the analysis and writing of description it is natural to note the effects of different kinds of words, and to discriminate between the general, colorless term and the specific, picture-making expression. In description, likewise, the effectiveness of contrast, or of a comparison in the form of a simile or metaphor may be pointed out. In exposition emphasis must be given to the importance of using the exact term to make clear the idea, and to the dependence of clearness upon this accurate choice and use of words. The use of comparisons, contrast, and other figures of speech, may also be studied in relation to exposition.

In the second year, as in the first, the subjects for composition should be drawn largely if not entirely, from the pupil’s own experiences. In narrative and descriptive themes the pupil, after his practice in the first year, will find little difficulty in choosing the right kind of subjects. In exposition he can be encouraged to write explanations of those subjects with which he is thoroughly familiar. Simple manufacturing processes, the operation of machinery or of mechanical devices generally, methods of doing any kind of work, directions for playing games, and many other similar subjects that the pupil understands thoroughly, furnish excellent material for simpler expository themes. If argumentation is undertaken, the pupil may be led to discuss questions constantly arising in connection with the life of the school and the community, and thus he can obtain most of his material from his own experiences.

The plan of having one or two paragraph themes of from 150 to 200 words each week should be continued throughout the second year. Every month or six weeks pupils should write a longer theme of from 600 to 800 words, that is, a theme of four or five paragraphs. Both the short and the long theme should be promptly and carefully corrected by the teacher and 39revised or rewritten by the pupil. In the second year a careful revision of the corrected themes by the pupils is usually sufficient, but all themes that can be sufficiently improved to make rewriting worth while, should be rewritten.

2. Reading

The general purpose and the character of the reading in the second year are the same as in the first. During the first part of the year narrative and descriptive material should be read, and during the second semester some of the simpler types of essays may be used as a basis of a study of exposition. As has already been indicated in connection with the composition, the pupils’ attention should be directed to the use of words and figures of speech in the masterpieces. The plot and its development, and the form in which the story is told can be studied in more detail than in the first year.

Methods of describing persons and places and of delineating character, taken up in connection with description, will frequently be exemplified in the reading. Direction may be given to the study of essays by considering them as examples of exposition. All this analytical work ought to be carried on with a view not only to developing inductively or illustrating the principles of composition which it is desired to have the pupils apply in their own writing, but also to having the pupils understand the author’s purpose and the methods which he uses to accomplish it; that is, to understand fully what they are reading.

The following may be taken as typical of the character of the reading best adapted for the purposes outlined: Irving’s “Sketch Book” and “Tales of the Alhambra”, Poe’s “Gold Bug”, Thoreau’s “The Succession of Forest Trees”, Burroughs’ “Birds and Bees” and “Sharp Eyes”, Macaulay’s “Lord Clive” and “Life of Samuel Johnson”, Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Speech.” If at the end of the first semester the pupils have learned to read prose of average difficulty, it is often advantageous during the second semester to study a play of Shakespeare’s, and “Merchant of Venice” or “Julius Caesar” is well adapted for this purpose. Narrative poetry such as Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”, Arnold’s “Sohrab and Rustum”, Coleridge’s “Ancient 40Mariner”, or Scott’s “Lady of the Lake” may also be used successfully during the second semester.


1. Reading and History of Literature

The plan for the third year reading provides for a survey of English and American literature, in which about three-fourths of the time is to be devoted to English literature, and one-fourth to American literature. In designating the reading as a study of English and American literature, it is not intended that the history of literature, as such, should occupy any considerable portion of the time. It is not desirable to devote more than one-tenth to one-fifth of the time, that is, from one-half to one period a week, to text-book work in the history of literature. The greater part of the time (about four periods a week) should be spent in the reading of selections from representative authors. In the study of the history of literature, emphasis should be placed upon general movements and tendencies in literature, and their relation to national conditions and ideals. In each period one or two typical authors should be selected whose works are to be studied in the class room. Selections from writers contemporary with these authors may be read by the pupils as library reading. In a course of this kind it is much more important to have the pupils read the literature than to have them read about literature. It is also much more important to lead the pupils to perceive the characteristics of the author in a selection read in or out of the class room than to have these characteristics called to their attention by the teacher or by reading criticism. In connection with the course in the history of literature, a list of books for outside reading should be prepared, and the pupils should be encouraged to supplement the class room study by reading other works of the authors studied in class. It seems desirable to follow as far as possible the chronological order in the reading done in and out of the class room so that the pupil may be led to see the development of English and American 41literature and the relation of the work of one author to that of those preceding and succeeding him.

The detailed study of selections from the most important English and American authors, is a large task for one year’s work, but experience has shown that much can be accomplished toward widening the pupils’ knowledge and appreciation of literature by a course of this kind. After two years of intensive study of the elements of expression, the average pupil will be able to comprehend more readily what he reads, and less time will have to be spent on the details. The selections studied may also be regarded from a somewhat different point of view from that taken during the first two years. The piece of literature may be considered in relation to the author’s personality and the age in which it was written, as well as in comparison with other literature that has been read by the pupils.

In the history of English literature characteristic selections from most of the following authors should be studied in class: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Pope, Addison, Goldsmith, Gray, Burns, Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Browning, Lamb, George Eliot, Dickens, and Thackeray.

In the survey of American literature the same general method should be followed. As the pupils have generally read considerable of the poetry of Longfellow, Whittier, Bryant, and Holmes, as well as selections from the prose of Irving, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, a brief review of these will be sufficient. The class work should therefore consist largely of the reading and study of works of authors not previously read in class, such as the poems and short stories of Poe, essays of Emerson, Lowell, and Holmes, and novels of Hawthorne and Cooper.

2. Composition

During the third year about one-fifth of the time, or one period a week, should be devoted to English composition. One short theme a week, and one long composition once in six weeks will furnish the necessary practice in writing. While the narrative and descriptive work of the first two years may be continued, more emphasis should be placed upon expository 42composition, in continuation of the study of exposition begun in the second semester of the second year. Besides explaining the various processes and simple mechanical devices with which he is familiar, the pupil may be encouraged to express his own opinions in regard to what he reads in literature. If the conditions are favorable, the kind of elementary argumentation suggested for the second year, may also be used in theme work.


1. Reading

In the fourth year about four-fifths of the time should be allotted to reading and about one-fifth to composition. The time assigned to the reading may most profitably be devoted to an extensive study of a few typical examples of the most important forms of literature. The novel, the drama, the lyric, and the essay, may be taken as the types to be studied. The maturity of the pupils in the fourth year will make possible a detailed analysis of the essential elements of these forms, which cannot be undertaken earlier in the course. By a careful study of a few of the best examples of each form to be found in English literature, the pupils not only come to know and appreciate some of the best literature in our language but are given some canons by which to judge what they read independently after they leave school.

2. The Novel

The novel is a convenient form with which to begin the fourth year work. George Eliot’s “Silas Marner” is one of the novels which lends itself admirably to intensive study. The kind of novel, the theme, the author’s point of view, the plot, the characters, the setting, and other important elements are all to be carefully studied. In the detailed analysis of plot, the introduction, the situation, the development of the plot, the secondary plots, the interweaving of principal and subordinate plots, the means of sustaining interest and suspense, the climax of the action, the unraveling, the denouement and the 43probability and plausibility of action, should receive consideration. The study of character presented in the novel will include the interaction of plot and character, the types of character, the grouping of characters, the methods of delineation, the truth to life, and similar points. It is also important to consider the novel as the expression of the author’s personality, of his attitude toward life, and of his interpretation, or “criticism,” of life.

Since time will permit of the detailed analysis, in class, of but one novel, use for comparison may be made of other novels which the pupils have read or are reading as a part of their library work. Novels of such different types as Goldsmith’s “Vicar of Wakefield,” Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities,” Scott’s “Ivanhoe,” and “Talisman,” Thackeray’s “Henry Esmond,” Hawthorne’s “House of Seven Gables,” and George Eliot’s “Romola,” will furnish ample supplementary material.

3. The Drama

The consideration of plot, character, etc., in the novel will prepare the way for a similar study of the drama. Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” offers excellent opportunity for thoughtful study. The important elements in the technique of dramatic construction may be brought out inductively in the course of the reading. The indirect and suggestive method of describing character of the drama will give rise to much discussion, for pupils will naturally differ in their estimates of the characters as a result of different interpretations which they give to the words and actions of the characters. To give a better conception of the drama as it is to be acted, important scenes may be presented in the class room by the pupils. The greater appreciation of the drama and dramatic action which comes from the preparation for an informal presentation of this kind, makes it well worth undertaking.

Some attention should also be given to the style and the versification in so far as these are necessary for a better understanding of the author’s methods.

4. The Lyric

The study of lyric poetry, although often difficult alike to teacher and pupils, should be undertaken during the second 44semester of the fourth year. Much of the success will depend upon the character of the lyrics selected for reading and study. Palgrave’s “Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics,” containing as it does much of the best English poetry of this type, is the most convenient book to use. While interpretative reading and the memorizing of these poems often lead to a real appreciation of their music, and the emotions which they express, a judicious analysis of metrical structure and poetic expression will result in a better understanding of the essentials of good poetry.

5. The Essay

The expository essay, as the most difficult form of literature for high school pupils, may well be left until the last part of the fourth year. The analysis of the logical development of the subject of the essay is of particular value at this stage of the course. The outlining of the plan of the essay with its divisions into sections, sub-sections, topics, subtopics, and details is excellent practice. Macaulay’s essays, Burke’s “Speech on Conciliation,” and Webster’s “First Bunker Hill Oration” although, of course, the latter two are orations rather than essays, afford material for this kind of study. Burke’s “Speech on Conciliation,” although difficult for young pupils, is particularly well adapted for analysis of logical structure, and may be used to study methods of exposition and argumentation.

The elements and qualities of prose style illustrated in the essays should also be considered. Balance, parallelism, antithesis, hyperbole, climax, terse and epigrammatic expression, methods of transition and connection, and similar elements of Macaulay’s style are sufficiently obvious to be readily recognized by the high school pupil after his attention has once been called to them. The rhetorical qualities of Burke’s or Webster’s style are also evident enough to make possible the study of them by high school pupils.

6. Library Reading

The library reading for the fourth year can be arranged to supplement the work done in class. Several standard novels, two or three plays of Shakespeare, considerable lyric poetry, and a number of essays may be assigned from time to time so 45that the library and class room reading will run parallel. Reference by teacher and pupils to these pieces of literature by way of comparison with those under consideration, will lead to a close correlation of these two phases of the reading.

7. Composition

The fourth year is in some respects the most important for the work in composition. The ability to write good English fluently, acquired by most of the pupils from several years of constant practice; the maturity of the pupils; their larger stock of knowledge and wider experience; and the possibility of making practical application of their ability to write in preparing orations and debates, reporting for local newspapers, or editing the school publications; all tend to make composition a more attractive and significant subject in the fourth year than it seems to be at any other period of the course. The emphasis will naturally be shifted from the mechanical details of expression which necessarily occupy the greater portion of the time in the earlier years of the course, to the larger and more interesting problems of expression. The study of the principles of exposition and argumentation, and of the development of the theme, as they appear in the plan and outline of the essay, take on new significance when their application to the writing of a debate or a commencement oration is made clear. The pupil discovers that the periodic sentence, parallel construction, climax, and other rhetorical devices, are effective means that he may use to accomplish his ends. For those with literary inclinations the study of plot, characterization, and poetic form and expression furnishes new inspiration for their own work. The teacher who fails to take advantage of this new interest in writing for practical purposes, by correlating it closely with all the English work of the fourth year, is losing the best opportunity of the course to teach the art of effective expression.

The amount of written work should be about the same as in the third year; that is, a weekly theme of about 250 words, or a fortnightly one of from 400 to 500 words; and a long theme of from 800 to 1200 words at intervals of six weeks. The subjects chosen for both long and short themes, in the course of 46the year should give practice in all the forms of discourse, narration, description, exposition, and argumentation, especially in combinations as they are found in the literature that is read in and out of the class room. The writing of a short story or of a chapter of a novel proves an interesting form of composition when fiction is being studied. The consideration of problems of character in the novels and dramas read and studied, permits pupils to express their opinions in essay form, while debates on questions growing out of class room discussions will give practice in argumentation. The preparation of commencement essays and orations, as has already been suggested, can readily be made a part of theme writing during the second semester.

8. Writing of Verse

The writing of verse has frequently been tried in the fourth year, and has generally proved an interesting and valuable exercise. The reading of poetry in the third and fourth years makes necessary some study of metre and verse forms, and with the information thus obtained as a basis, many pupils, it has been found, can write creditable verse. Exercises beginning with blank verse, octosyllabic and heroic couplets, and continuing with the quatrain, the triolet, the rondeau, the Spenserian stanza, and possibly the sonnet, can be given from time to time in place of weekly themes and will usually arouse considerable interest. Efforts to write verse, whether entirely successful or not, give the pupils a keener feeling for rhyme and rhythm, a better understanding of metrical forms, and of the nature of poetical composition; and to that extent should heighten their appreciation of poetry.



The following outline is designed to show in general the amount and character of each part of the English work to be considered in each year of the course. The order in which the details are arranged in each year is not intended to be the order in which these parts of the subject are to be taken up in the class room.

First Year

A. COMPOSITION (one-half of the time).

I. Grammar, Punctuation, Capitalization.

1. Work based on errors in pupils’ written work.

2. Occasional review of general principles.

II. Sentence.

1. Grammatical construction.

2. Unity.

3. Coherence.

III. Paragraph.

1. Length.

2. Unity (topic, selection of material).

3. Coherence (order, connection).

IV. Forms of Discourse.

1. Narration.

2. Description.

V. Theme Writing.

At least one and not more than two, one-paragraph themes of from 150–200 words, every week; to be carefully corrected by teacher and to be rewritten by pupil.

B. READING (one-half of the time).

Short stories and descriptive sketches.


Second Year

A. COMPOSITION (one-half of the time).

I. Sentence.

1. Length (long, medium, short).

2. Rhetorical form (loose, periodic, balanced).

3. Unity.

4. Coherence.

5. Emphasis.

II. Paragraph.

1. Unity.

2. Coherence (subtopics, order, and connection).

3. Emphasis (selection, proportion, position).

4. Methods of developing topic.

III. Whole Composition—Unity, Coherence, Emphasis.

IV. Words.

V. Figures of Speech.

VI. Forms of Discourse.

1. Narration.

2. Description.

3. Exposition.

VII. Theme Writing.

At least one and not more than two, one-paragraph themes of from 150–200 words, every week; and one four or five paragraph theme of from 600–800 words, every six weeks; both long and short themes to be carefully corrected by teacher and to be revised or rewritten by pupil.

B. READING (one-half). Descriptive and expository essays.

Third Year

A. READING (four-fifths).

1. History of English Literature (one-fifth to one-tenth for ¾ of year).

2. History of American Literature (one-fifth to one-tenth for ¼ of year).

3. Study of selections from representative English and American authors (three-fifths to four-fifths).

49B. COMPOSITION (one-fifth to one-tenth).

I. Exposition.

1. Kinds.

2. Methods.

II. Structure of Whole Composition.

1. Unity.

2. Coherence (transition, connection).

3. Emphasis (proportion, position).

III. Words, figures of speech, sentences, and paragraphs.

IV. Theme Writing.

One short theme not exceeding 500 words every week; and one long theme of from 700–1000 words every six weeks; to be carefully corrected by teacher and to be rewritten or revised by pupil.

Fourth Year

A. READING (four-fifths).

Study of typical examples of the novel, the drama, the lyric, and the essay.

B. COMPOSITION (one-fifth).

I. Narration, Description, and Exposition.

II. Argumentation.


III. Words, figures of speech, sentences, paragraphs, and whole composition.

IV. Verse writing.

V. Theme writing.

One short theme not exceeding 500 words, every week; and one long theme of from 800–1200 words every eight weeks; to be carefully corrected by teacher and revised or rewritten by pupil.



The following list contains the college entrance requirements in English for the years 1906 to 1911, and other selections adapted for reading and study in high school English classes. The Roman numerals following the titles indicate the year or years of the course herein outlined, in which the books may most profitably be read:

Addison’s De Coverley Papers. II, III.

Addison and Steele’s Spectator. II, III.

Arnold’s Sohrab and Rustum. II.

Bacon’s Essays. III.

Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. IV.

Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part One. I, III.

Byron’s The Prisoner of Chillon, and Mazeppa. III.

Browning’s Cavalier Tunes, The Lost Leader, How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix, Evelyn Hope, Home Thoughts From Abroad, Home Thoughts from the Sea, Incident of the French Camp, The Boy and the Angel, One Word More, Hervé Riel, Pheidippides. III.

Bryant’s Translation of the Iliad and Odyssey (selections). I, II.

Burrough’s Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes, A Bunch of Herbs, etc. I, II.

Burke’s Conciliation With America. IV.

Carlyle’s Essay on Burns. III, IV.

Carlyle’s Heroes and Hero Worship. III, IV.

Chaucer’s Prologue. III.

Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. II, III.

Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. II, III.

De Quincey’s Joan of Arc, and The English Mail Coach. III, IV.

Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. II, IV.

Dickens’ Christmas Carol. I.

Emerson’s Essays (selected). III, IV.

Franklin’s Autobiography. I, II, III.

51Mrs. Gaskell’s Cranford. III, IV.

George Eliot’s Silas Marner. IV.

Goldsmith’s The Deserted Village. II, III.

Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield. II, III.

Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables. II, III.

Hawthorne’s Twice Told Tales. I.

Irving’s Life of Goldsmith. II, III.

Irving’s Tales of a Traveler. I, II.

Irving’s Alhambra. II.

Irving’s Sketch Book. I, II.

Lamb’s Essays of Elia. II, III.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Speech, etc. II, IV.

Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish. I, II.

Lowell’s Vision of Sir Launfal. II.

Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome. II.

Macaulay’s Essay on Addison. III, IV.

Macaulay’s Lord Clive. II, IV.

Macaulay’s Life of Johnson. II, IV.

Milton’s Lycidas, Comus, L’Allegro, and II Penseroso. III, IV.

Palgrave’s Golden Treasury (First Series) Books II and III with special attention to Dryden, Collins, Gray, Cowper, and Burns. III, IV.

Palgrave’s Golden Treasury (First Series) Book IV with special attention to Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley. III, IV.

Poe’s Poems. III, IV.

Poe’s Short Stories. II, III.

Pope’s The Rape of the Lock. III.

Pope’s Essay on Man and Essay on Criticism. III.

Ruskin’s Sesame and Lilies. II, III.

Scott’s Ivanhoe, Lady of the Lake, and Quentin Durward. II, III.

Shakespere’s Julius Caesar. II, III.

Shakespere’s Macbeth. IV.

Shakespere’s As You Like It, Henry V., Twelfth Night, and Midsummer Night’s Dream. III.

Shakespere’s Merchant of Venice. II, III.

Spenser’s Faerie Queene (selections). III.

Stevenson’s Treasure Island. I, II.

52Thoreau’s Succession of Forest Trees. I, II.

Tennyson’s Gareth and Lynette, Lancelot and Elaine, The Passing of Arthur. II, III.

Thackeray’s Henry Esmond. IV.

Warner’s A-Hunting of the Deer. I.

Washington’s Farewell Address. II, IV.

Webster’s First Bunker Hill Oration. II, IV.



The following is a fairly complete outline of the essential elements of rhetorical theory as applied in composition work and in a study of structure and style. As such, it is designed primarily for the teacher who desires to review any part of the subject in preparation for teaching composition. Many portions may be used in the class room in a simplified form, to supplement or summarize parts of the text-books in rhetoric and composition. The books to which references are given are in general the most convenient and comprehensive manuals for the particular parts of the subject with which each deals.

The references as abbreviated in the outline are as follows:

(P), Pearson, Principles of Composition. Heath, Boston ($.50).

(W), Barrett Wendell, English Composition. Scribner, New York. ($1.50).

(M), Minto, Manual of English Prose Literature. Ginn, New York. ($1.50).

(C), Cairns, Forms of Discourse. Ginn, New York. ($1.15).

(BI, BII), Bain, English Composition and Rhetoric, 2 Vols. American Book Co., New York. ($1.20 a vol.).

1. Whole Composition

I. SUBJECT. 1. What is it? 2. Is it indicated by title? 3. Is it stated at the beginning? 4. Is it proportionate to the length of the composition? P. 11–12.

II. PURPOSE. 1. What is it? 2. Is it stated? 3. Is it accomplished?

III. INTEREST. 1. Is it an interesting subject? 2. Is it made interesting? 3. How is it made interesting?

IV. KIND OF COMPOSITION. 1. Narration, Description, Exposition, Argumentation, or Persuasion? 2. A combination of forms?

54V. PLAN. 1. What are the main divisions of the composition? 2. How is the subject introduced? 3. What are the subdivisions in the body of the composition? 4. How is the composition concluded?

VI. TITLE. 1. Accurate? 2. Concise? 3. Attractive? P. 12–13.

A. UNITY. P. 15–25. W. 155–162.

1. Selection of Material.

a. Subject and Purpose?

Violations of unity of selection.

(1) False Introduction. P. 18.

(2) Tag Conclusion. P. 42.

(3) Digressions. P. 20.

2. Unity of Expression.

a. Point of View? P. 25.

a′. Point of view evident? P. 25.

B. COHERENCE. P. 26–33. W. 162–178.

1. Arrangement. W. 162–166.

a. Order of parts of composition. P. 26.

b. Arrangement evident? P. 29.

c. Announcement. P. 31.

d. Summary. P. 30. cf. P. 44.

2. Connection. W. 173–178.

a. Devices for Transition and Connection.

(1) Transition words, phrases, and sentences.

(2) Transition paragraphs. P. 30.

(3) Repetition.

(4) Parallel construction. W. 174.

(5) Retrospective and prospective reference.

C. EMPHASIS. P. 34–45. W. 166–172.

1. Selection of Material. P. 34.

a. Important details chosen?

2. Proportion. P. 34.

a. Parts given space proportionate to their importance?

553. Arrangement. P. 38–43.

a. Important parts in emphatic positions?

a′. At end.

b′. At beginning.

c′. Summary.

d′. Climax.

e′. Antithesis.

2. Paragraphs

P. 53–60. W. 114–149. M. 11; 53–55; 89–97; 152. BI, 91–134.


1. Related Paragraph.

2. Independent Paragraph.

3. Transition Paragraph.

4. Paragraph in Conversation.

B. LENGTH. W. 121–126.

1. Short—100 words or less.

2. Medium—100–300 words.

3. Long—300 words or more.

C. UNITY. P. 53–60. W. 122–126.

I. Topic.

1. Definition of Topic (i. e. determination of its limits).

2. Division of Topic (i. e. subtopics).

3. Topic Sentence. P. 57. W. 124.

4. Do first and last sentences give substance of the paragraph? P. 71–75. W. 128.

II. Selection of Material.

1. Topic and subtopics?

2. Point of View?

Violations of unity of selection.

(1) False Beginning. cf. P. 18.

(2) Tag Conclusion. cf. P. 42.

(3) Digressions. P. 56–57.

III. Unity of Expression (cf. Paragraph Coherence).

1. Uniformity of Construction.


(1) Needless change of voice or tense of verbs.

(2) Needless change of subject of sentences.

D. COHERENCE. P. 61–70. W. 133–146.

I. Arrangement. P. 61–65. BI, 114–120.

1. Order of Parts.

a. Related ideas brought together? W. 135.

2. Arrangement evident?

a. Subtopic and transition sentences.

II. Connection. P. 65–70. W. 142–146. BI, 94–108.

1. Devices for Coherence.

a. Connective words, phrases, and clauses.

b. Transition sentences.

c. Repetition.

d. Parallel construction. W. 137–142.

e. Retrospective and prospective reference.

2. Position of Connectives. W. 144.

a. At beginning of sentences.

b. Imbedded in midst of sentences.

E. EMPHASIS. P. 71. W. 126–133. BI, 121–134.

I. Selection of Material.

1. Most important parts chosen? cf. P. 34.

II. Proportion. W. 131. cf. P. 34.

1. Parts given space proportionate to their importance?

III. Arrangement. P. 71–78. W. 126–131.

1. Position of parts.

2. Position of important parts.

a. At end.

b. At beginning.

c. Climax.

d. Summary.

e. Antithesis.


1. In sentence construction.

a. Grammatical.

b. Rhetorical.

2. In sentence beginnings.

3. In devices for coherence.

4. In devices for emphasis.

3. Sentences

P. 83–116. W. 76–113. M. 3–11; 50–53; 87–89; 149–152. BI, 55–90.

A. LENGTH. W. 84; 89–94. M. 7. BI, 84–85.

I. Short Sentence—15 words or less.

1. Use; e. g.:—

a. Single short sentence.

a′. Topic sentence.

b′. Subtopic sentence.

c′. Conclusion.

d′. Transition sentence.

e′. For emphasis.

b. Series of short sentences; e. g.:—

a′. Rapidity.

b′. Excitement and suspense.

c′. Abruptness; staccato effect.

II. Medium Sentence—15–30 words.

III. Long Sentence—30 words or more.

1. Use; e. g.:—

a. To group minor details.

b. Climax.

c. Rhythmical effect.


I. Grammatical.

1. Simple. 2. Complex. 3. Compound.

II. Rhetorical.

1. Loose Sentence. P. 86–89. W. 84–89. BI, 55–63.

a. Effect and use of loose sentence.

582. Periodic Sentence. P. 86; 106–112. W. 84–89. M. 4.

a. Means for securing periodic effect.

a′. Essential parts at end of sentence.

b′. Phrases and dependent clauses at beginning.

c′. Use of correlatives.

b. Effect and use of periodic sentences.

3. Balanced Sentence. P. 112. W. 95. M. 8. BI, 66–74.

a. Means for securing balanced effect.

a′. Parallelism.

b′. Use of correlatives.

b. Effect and use of balanced sentences; e. g.:—

a′. Antithesis.

b′. Epigrammatic expression.

C. UNITY. P. 83–93. W. 96–99. M. 10. BI, 85–90.

I. Unity of Thought.


(1) Digression.

(2) Separation of parts of thought into independent sentences. P. 89–92.

II. Unity of Expression. (cf. Sentence Coherence).

1. Relation of Parts.

a. Grammatical construction evident?

b. Parallelism of construction. P. 102–3.

c. Subordination in predication. P. 86. W. 108–9.

d. Implied predicate (no sentence).

D. COHERENCE. P. 94–104. W. 105–110.

I. Order. W. 105–106.

1. Collocation accurate? (i.e. words closely related in thought placed together).

a. Modifiers in accurate relation to modified elements?


(1) Squinting construction.

(2) Participle in false relation.

(3) Misplaced adverbial modifier.

b. Reference exact? P. 94–96.


(1) Ambiguous reference.

(2) No antecedent.

(3) Disagreement.

c. Correlatives properly placed? P. 100–101.

d. Collocation close?


(1) Awkward separation of essential parts.

II. Construction (i. e. elements similar in significance similar in form). P. 102–104.

a. Balance.

b. Parallel construction.


(1) Needless change of voice or tense of verbs.

(2) Needless change of grammatical subject.

III. Connection. W. 108–110.

a. Accurate expression of relation of parts by connectives.

(1) Subordination indicated? (cf. subordination in predication under sentence unity. P. 86).

(2) Co-ordination accurately expressed?

E. EMPHASIS. P. 105–115. W. 99–103. BI, 74–84.

I. Arrangement of Parts.

1. Important parts in emphatic positions?

a. At beginning.

b. At end.

c. In other positions more emphatic.

602. Suspense—periodic effect.

3. Antithesis—balanced construction.

4. Climax. P. 113.

II. Subordination in Predication, (cf. Sentence Unity. P. 86.)

4. Words

P. 119–129. W. 50–75. M. 1–3; 49–50; 87; 147–149. BI, 27–54.


I. Size.

1. Actual?

2. Relative? W. 50–52.

II. Range.

1. Narrow or wide? (cf. Kinds of words.)

III. Character.

1. General classes of words.

a. Long or short? W. 57–58.

b. Anglo-Saxon or classical? W. 52–57.

c. Common or learned?

d. General or specific? P. 121–129. W. 58–60.

e. Connotative or denotative? W. 71–75.

2. Kinds of words.

a. Literary.

b. Scientific.

c. Technical.

d. Colloquial.

e. Cant.

f. Slang.

g. Coined.

h. Archaic.

i. Foreign.

5. Figures of Speech

M. 11–14; 55–60; 97–104; 152–159. BI, 135–233.

(See Bradley, Classification of Rhetorical Figures, Modern Language Notes, Vol. I, pp. 280–284.)

61A. TERM FIGURES (accentuated designation of object of thought).

I. Figure of Contrast.

1. Antithesis.

II. Figures of Resemblance.

1. Simile (resemblance affirmed).

2. Metaphor (resemblance assumed).

3. Personification (resemblance of inanimate to animate).

III. Figures of Contiguity and Association.

1. Synecdoche (part and whole, genus and species).

2. Antonomasia (individual with type of its class).

3. Metonymy (sign or symbol, cause and effect).

4. Transferred epithet (fancied sympathy or participation).

B. MODAL FIGURES (accentuated statement of proposition).

I. Interrogation.

II. Exclamation.

III. Apostrophe (absent addressed as if present).

IV. Vision (absent represented as if present).

V. Hyperbole (statement stronger than intent).

VI. Innuendo (statement weaker than intent).

VII. Irony (statement negatory to intent).

C. SENTENCE AND PARAGRAPH FIGURES (Co-ordination and gradation of terms or propositions):

I. Figures of Co-ordination.

1. Balance.

2. Parallelism.

II. Figures of Gradation.

1. Climax (ascending series).

2. Anticlimax (descending series).


6. Qualities of Style

A. INTELLECTUAL QUALITIES. M. 15–19; 60–68; 104–109; 159–161. W. 193–233. BI, 233–257.

I. Simplicity. Relation to elements of style.

II. Clearness. Relation to elements of style.

1. Perspicuity (general clearness).

2. Precision (minute clearness).

B. EMOTIONAL QUALITIES. M. 19–23; 64–81; 109–115; 162–167. W. 234.

I. Strength. Relation to elements of style.

1. Animation, vivacity, liveliness, rapidity.

2. Nerve, vigor, force, energy, fervor.

3. Dignity, stateliness, splendor, grandeur, magnificence, loftiness, sublimity.

II. Pathos. M. 20.

III. The Ludicrous. M. 23. BII, 236–279.

1. Humor.

2. Wit.

3. Satire.

C. AESTHETIC QUALITIES. M. 23–26; 71–72; 115; 167–169. BII, 280–294. W. 272–307.

I. Melody (sound or modulation).

II. Harmony (sound expressive of sense).

III. Taste.

7. Forms of Discourse

A. NARRATION. C. 58–112.

I. Kind.

1. Narration without plot. C. 58–67.

2. Narration with plot. C. 67–93.

II. Form. C. 59; 78–88.

III. Purpose. C. 59; 68.

IV. Interest. C. 65–68; 69–71.

V. Methods.

1. Number and choice of details. C. 63–64; 89–90. 632. Order of details. C. 65; 88–89.

a. Beginning. C. 65; 86–88.

b. Development. C. 65–66; 74–78.

c. Culmination. C. 67.

3. Diction. C. 66–67; 91.

B. DESCRIPTION. C. 113–169.

I. Kind.

1. Circumstantial. C. 142.

2. Dynamic. C. 143.

3. Suggestive. C. 144.

4. Objective. C. 148.

5. Subjective. C. 149.

II. Subject. C. 123–142.

III. Purpose. C. 113; 147.

IV. Methods.

1. Point of view.

2. Number and choice of details. C. 147–149.

3. Arrangement of details. C. 151.

4. Diction. C. 153.

C. EXPOSITION. C. 170–226.

I. Kind.

1. Subject.

a. Scientific or technical.

b. Popular.

2. Treatment.

a. Scientific or technical.

b. Popular.

II. Form. C. 170; 194–207.

III. Purpose. C. 170–171.

IV. Methods for Term. C. 172.

1. Definition. C. 172–174.

a. Logical definition. C. 174–178.

(1) Complete logical definition.

(2) Incomplete logical definition. C. 182.

64b. Incomplete definition. C. 178–186.

(1) Repetition (synonyms). C. 179.

(2) Exclusion (what not).

(3) Comparison. C. 180–182.

(4) Contrast. C. 180–182.

(5) Example. C. 179.

(6) Logical description (particulars and details). C. 185–186.

2. Division. C. 186–191.

a. Classification. C. 187–190.

b. Partition. C. 190–191.

V. Methods for Proposition. C. 191–194.

1. Exposition of terms (cf. Methods for term).

2. Repetition.

3. Obverse.

4. Example.

5. Analogy.



1. The Teaching of English

A bibliography of some thirty pages consisting of all the important books, pamphlets, and magazine articles published before 1903, that treat of the different phases of English work in elementary and secondary schools is appended to Carpenter, Baker, and Scott’s “The Teaching of English”, and will be of great assistance to those who desire material on any part of the work since the references are classified under such heads as, rhetoric and composition, literature, grammar, spelling, college entrance requirements, etc. The volumes of the educational periodicals such as “Education”, “Educational Review”, “School Review”, etc., that have appeared since 1903, also contain many articles on English work. The following are the most important books on the teaching of English in the high school:

Carpenter, G. R., Baker, F. T., and Scott, F. N. The Teaching of English, Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1903. ($1.50). The best discussion of every phase of English work in elementary and secondary schools, with excellent bibliographies.

Chubb, Percival. The Teaching of English, Macmillan, New York, 1902. ($1.00). A valuable discussion of the aims, ideals, and methods in teaching English in elementary and secondary schools.

Hinsdale, B. A. Teaching the Language-Arts: Speech, Reading, Composition. Appleton, New York, 1896. ($1.00). A comprehensive treatment of all the elements in the study of language.

Laurie, S. S. Lectures on Language and Linguistic Method in the School. 2d edition, revised. Macmillan, New York, 1893. ($1.00). An excellent presentation of the value, the purposes, and the methods of language study.

66Report of Committee on Secondary School Studies (The Committee of Ten) U. S. Bureau of Education, Washington, 1893. This report has been the basis of most of the present courses in English for secondary schools.

Other books bearing more or less directly on the teaching of parts of the English work are:

Bates, Arlo. Talks on Teaching Literature. Houghton, Mifflin Co. ($1.50). Practical methods are given for teaching literature in the high school.

Bates, Arlo. Talks on the Study of Literature. Houghton, Mifflin Co. ($1.50).

Bates, Arlo. Talks on Writing English. First and Second Series. Houghton, Mifflin Co. ($1.50 a vol.).

Corson, H. Aims of Literary Study. Macmillan. ($.75).

Corson, H. Voice and Spiritual Education. Macmillan. ($.75).

Copeland and Rideout. Freshman English and Theme Correction at Harvard College. Silver, Burdett & Co. ($1.00). Some of the suggestions for theme writing and theme correcting can be adapted to high school composition.

Palmer, G. H. Self-cultivation in English. Crowell. ($.35).

2. Literature

The following list contains the standard histories of English and American literature, the biographical and critical works on some of the writers to whom especially attention is generally given, and volumes on the history and development of the various types of literature.

Brooke, Stopford. English Literature to the Norman Conquest. Macmillan. ($1.50). A review of Anglo-Saxon literature with translations of many Anglo-Saxon poems.

Cook, A. S. and Tinker, C. Translations of Old English Poetry. Ginn. ($1.00). Translations of parts of Beowulf and of all the important Anglo-Saxon poems.

Schofield, W. H. English Literature from the Norman Conquest to Chaucer. Macmillan. ($1.50).

67Saintsbury, G. History of Elizabethan Literature. (1557–1660). Macmillan. ($1.50).

Gosse, E. Eighteenth Century Literature. (1660–1780). Macmillan. ($1.50).

Saintsbury, G. History of Nineteenth Century Literature. (1780–1895). Macmillan. ($1.50).

Ward, H. English Poets, 4 vols. Macmillan. (Students’ edition $4.00). Brief biographies, good criticisms, and representative selections of all the English poets from Chaucer to Tennyson.

Bronson, W. C. History of American Literature. Heath. ($.90). A good handbook for American literature.

Wendell, B. and Greenough, C. N. History of Literature in America. Scribner. ($1.40.) A good short history of American literature.

Pollard, A. W. Chaucer Primer. Macmillan. ($.35). A convenient little handbook on Chaucer’s life and work.

Sweet, H. Second Middle English Primer. Oxford Univ. Press. ($.50). A very good handbook for the pronunciation of Chaucer with a phonetic transcription of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.

Dowden, E. Shakespeare Primer. American Book Co. ($.35). A very useful little manual of Shakespearean criticism.

Lee, Sidney. Life of Shakespeare. Macmillan. ($1.75). An invaluable critical analysis of all biographical material relating to Shakespeare.

Moulton, R. G. Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist. Oxford Univ. Press. ($1.90). A detailed consideration of the motives, plots, and characters of a number of Shakespeare’s plays.

Symonds, J. A. Shakespeare’s Predecessors in the English Drama. Scribner. ($2.00). An excellent account of the origin and the development of the English drama.

Baker, G. P. The Development of Shakespeare as a Dramatist. Macmillan. ($1.75). A discussion of the Elizabethan stage, the public, and other conditions in relation to the development of Shakespeare’s dramatic art.

68Freytag, G. The Technique of the Drama. Scott, Foresman & Co., Chicago. ($1.50). A comparative study of drama as a literary form with considerable discussion of the plays of Shakespeare.

Raleigh, W. History of the English Novel. Scribner. ($1.25). An interesting account of the development of the English novel to Scott.

Cross, W. L. The Development of the English Novel. Macmillan. ($1.50.) A history of English fiction from the Arthurian romance to Stevenson.

Perry, Bliss. A Study of Prose Fiction. Houghton, Mifflin Co. ($1.25). A suggestive discussion of plot, characters, setting and other elements in the novel and short story, with suggestions for original work in construction and analysis.

Alden, R. M. Specimens of English verse. Holt. ($1.25). A practical handbook of poetics with numerous selections.

Gayley, C. M. Classic Myths in English Literature. Ginn. ($1.50). An excellent collection of Greek, Roman, Norse, and German mythological stories.

3. Language and Grammar

Sweet, H. New English Grammar; Vol. I., Phonology and Accidence. ($2.60). Vol. II. Syntax. ($.90). Oxford Univ. Press. The most complete logical and historical grammar.

Emerson, O. F. History of the English Language. Macmillan. ($1.25).

Greenough and Kittredge. Words and their Ways in English Speech. Macmillan. ($1.10). An interesting popular account of the origin and development of language and of changes in the meaning of words.

Trench, R. C. The Study of Words. Armstrong, N. Y. ($1.00). An excellent introduction to the study of the development of the meaning of words.


4. Rhetoric and Composition

Bain, A. English Composition and Rhetoric. 2 vols. American Book Co. ($1.20 a vol.). A discussion, with numerous illustrations, of all the elements and qualities of style in prose and poetry.

Brewster, W. T. Studies in Structure and Style. Macmillan. ($1.10). An analysis of the structure and style of seven modern English essays.

Cairns, W. B. Forms of Discourse. Ginn. ($1.15). A consideration of the various forms of narration, description, exposition, argumentation, and persuasion.

Genung, J. F. Working Principles of Rhetoric. Ginn. ($1.40). A comprehensive discussion of rhetorical principles.

Minto, W. Manual of English Prose Literature. Ginn. ($1.50). A detailed analysis of the styles of Macaulay, De Quincey, and Carlyle, with briefer discussions of the style of all English prose writers to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Scott, F. N. and Denney, J. V. Paragraph-Writing. Allyn and Bacon. ($1.00.) An interesting discussion of paragraph structure with many examples.

Wendell, Barrett. English Composition. Scribner. ($1.50). A suggestive explanation of the principles of unity, coherence, and mass or emphasis.

  1. Silently corrected obvious typographical errors and variations in spelling.
  2. Retained archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as printed.