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McGuffey New Eclectic Readers (Review)

How many of you are familiar with the charming -very educational books called The McGuffey Readers but are not sure how to use them to their fullest potential? I have always loved the McGuffey Readers but was never sure just how to implement them. Did you know that the McGuffey Readers can be a Language Arts course covering spelling, vocabulary, copywork, dictation, narration, written narrations, and so forth?
McGuffey's New Readers By Everyday Education
The McGuffey's New Fourth Eclectic Reader is recommended for grades 6-7 with a reading level of 6.8 to 8.9 with some stories reading level as high as 10.1.

McGuffey's New Fifth Eclectic Reader is recommended for early to middle high school or as needed. Reading level 5.8 to 10.11. Reading progresses pretty quickly so don't let the 5.8 scare you with this being the Fifth Reader.

Janice Campbell from Everyday Education has republished the 1857 edition of the McGuffey Readers. These are the last edition that McGuffy helped with. Janice found the 1857 edition that McGuffey's instruction in the art of appropriate and effective expression as well as clear, distinct pronunciation was very much more dominant in this edition than others which is something that is lost in many modern language arts programs.

The 1857 Edition of McGuffey Readers republished by Everyday Education you will find:
  • More teacher helps than the previous editions.
  • An intense focus on building verbal skills than the previous editions.
  • This is the last edition that Mr. McGuffey was personally involved with.
  • Remodeled for higher reading/grade - the lessons are more difficult and the books six volume set extends through high school (see Everyday Education's site for more details)
  • Complete Original Text from McGuffey's 1857 edition
  • Phonics Based Reading Instructions
  • New introduction showing how to use Charlotte Mason's techniques with the Readers: copywork, narration, recitation, and dictation.
  • Mom learns right along with her child (or teacher to student).
What I love about Everyday Education's edition is there's a Mr. McGuffey, Meet Charlotte Mason chapter. This eighteen page chapter explains how Mason's and McGuffey approaches are compatible and how to blend McGuffey approach with Mason's: copywork, dictation,  recitation, and so forth.
McGuffey's New Readers By Everyday Education
I was given the Fourth & Fifth Readers to review so those are the two I will focus on. Both books are softcover and the pages are actually a cream color. Mine iss a review copy thus the white pages.

In the Fourth McGuffey Reader by Everyday Education there is two pages of Marks & Pauses teaching your child about a hyphen, comma, semicolen, a dash, different sentence types, brackets, parenthesis, etc.
McGuffey's New Readers By Everyday Education
The Articulation section which is thoroughly explained, gives the Key to the Sound of the Letters: vocals, subvocals, asperated and exercises for each.For instance with the vocal exercise  you are instructed to say each word and then its vowel sound, and have your child imitate you. So if you are practicing the long sound of the letter a you will say these words: mate, rate, rain, aim, say, day, they, ere, feint, weigh, gauge, break, and steak.
McGuffey's New Readers By Everyday Education
After the Articulation section is Errors to be Corrected for example the incorrect way to say fetal is Fa-t'l the correct way is fa-tal

Those are just a few of what McGuffey has in the 20 page introduction section of the 1857 edition of the McGuffy Readers. 

This is one aspect that makes this edition different. The elocution and articulation is explained thoroughly and in more depth to make it easier for the teacher to teach the child. The Introduction pages are referenced in the lessons so your child will know when to go use them (if needed).

At the beginning of each lesson are spelling words along with their definition. Also before the child reads the selection there is what is labeled Sound, here the child is instructed for instance in Lesson VIII. it says sound the t fully. Do not say jus for just and so forth. There is even page number where the child can go back to the Introduction section which in this lesson is page 27 to practice the T Final sound.
McGuffey's New Readers By Everyday Education

Other times there may be a "lesson" pronounce correctly or articulation exercise before the reading selection.
End of lesson VIII
At the end of the lesson are questions or exercises for the student and sometimes teacher notes as well.

The Fifth Reader's introduction isn't as in depth in articulation as the 4th reader.It covers it but again not as thoroughly.

The Fifth Reader covers very thoroughly Inflections which are slides of the voice upward and downward.
Inflections pages cover (and there are always examples):
  • Falling Inflections
  • Strong Emphasis
  • Rising and Falling Inflections
  • Circumflex
  • Monotone
Also included in the introduction of the Fifth Reader (each explained thoroughly):
  • Accent
  • Emphasis: Absolute Emphasis, Emphatic Phrase, Emphatic Pause,
  • Modulation: Pitch & Compass, Quantity & Quality
  • Poetic Pauses
The lessons are set up like those in the Fourth Edition.

What I love is the stories are interesting and my kids enjoy them. Now the poems they have a bit more difficult time with only because they are poems. My kids prefer stories.

As you can see there is a lot of learning in the McGuffey Readers. I do want to remind you that this edition has the Charlotte Mason Meet McGuffey, so you won't do all the lessons and exercises as written (you can of course). You will have your child use the selections in a more Charlotte Mason-ish way.

1. You will choose a passage
2. Follow the McGuffey's instruction for oral work in articulation and rhetoric
3. Apply the appropriate Mason tool for written work: copywork, recitation, dictation, etc.

All this is explained in the Charlotte Mason introduction: Mr. McGuffey, Meet Charlotte Mason =)

For all you visual mamas here's a video comparing the introduction part of the Fourth & Fifth Readers by Everyday Education.
I hope this review has helped you understand what makes the republished New McGuffey Readers by Everyday Education special and unique from other editions.

The McGuffey Readers can be used as your primary language arts program or supplement your current one. With Ethan right now we are using it for reading and a little bit of spelling. As the year is winding down we haven't used the McGuffey Fifth Reader to its fullest but I would like to use it more as his primary LA program for 8th grade.

Please read Janice's helpful article regarding the McGuffey Readers:


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