Books in the Classroom
These remarks also apply to the home
- Books must be chosen with great care if we wish to educate
a cultured generation. We must understand that the small child
wants to understand the world into which he is born. Every facet
is of interest to him. He cannot discriminate between fact and
fantasy because he does not have enough knowledge to enable him
to do so. Books for the young child should be chosen to feed
his mind, to help him understand his world. The books should
be illustrated with good, clear photographs. He will enjoy books
about animals, plants, cars, space, different countries, etc.
We must not be afraid of giving the child knowledge or facts
which to us seem too difficult for him. The children are thirsty
for knowledge; they are capable of understanding far more than
for which we give them credit.
- We must not think the child has to be amused all the time.
We must not give him cartoon type drawings, poor drawings of
any sort, or ugly pictures. If we do so, we must realize that
we are influencing the formation of the child's taste and we
shall teach him to be addicted to that sort of literature instead
of the best. We will also confuse him. We must not provide junk
for the developing mind. How serious it is that we give poor
quality material to our children at an age when they rely on
the adult to give them what is good because they cannot know
- The books we choose must be written in good grammatical English.
As he reads, the child learns spelling, punctuation, sentence
construction and the use of words.
- The child's aesthetic taste is formed in the first years
of life. This is the age when the nation's children should have
the best the nation can offer. If they have books, they must
have good, well-written, well-illustrated books. The best authors
and artists should produce the books. We now have color photography
and beautiful books for knowledge which can be produced and illustrated
without prohibitive costs. It remains for parents and teachers
to choose books with care, to know what they should provide.
- In educating our children, we aim to have a cultured generation.
Culture is the highest discipline that humanity has reached.
It is the best that has been achieved in architecture, literature,
science, music, etc. If we want to educate all our children to
the highest level, we first give them a rich language. This mainly
is the work of the home and the school in the child's early years.
So we must give the children the best that our civilization has
to offer in the schools. Everything in the school room should
be well made and beautiful. The pictures on the wall should be
by the best artists. The books should be written by good writers.
Most of the books will be for knowledge, but there will be some
story books and books of poetry. We must avoid all crudely written,
illustrated, and cheaply produced materials.
- Children appreciate the best we can give them. They will
like what we give them, and they will like these things for life.
Today, the workbooks used by the small children are crudely illustrated
and produced. The schools must change in this respect. The school
must provide books of knowledge in all subjects. Many well illustrated
books intended for the adult will be appreciated by the young
- We must allow and encourage children to read and browse freely
in books that interest them. We must help them to acquire knowledge
for themselves. If a child shows interest in any particular subject,
books on that subject must be provided. When a teacher gives
a lesson on any particular subject, books and material on that
subject should be available so that the child can learn more
if the teacher has stimulated his interest. Schools should advise
parents on the type of books suitable for the children and should
discourage them from giving "junk." There is no merit
in teaching children to read, unless at the same time, they are
helped to enjoy good literature and to read for knowledge. Children
are deeply affected for life by the things provided in their
early years. The best educated, most cultured teacher should
be in charge of the youngest children.
- Books then, must be chosen with great care if we wish to
educate our children to a high level. When choosing them, we
must bear the following points in mind:
- a. The author must write well. The author must use correct
- b. Punctuation must be correct. Capital letters must be used
in the right places.
- c. The books must be of good quality.
- d. The illustrations must be beautiful. The best artists
should be asked to illustrate the books for the children, or
photographs can be used. Crude drawings or cartoon type drawings
should never be used.
- e. Most of the books must be chosen for the knowledge they
impart. Little children are thirsty for knowledge. They want
to know all about everything. They are capable of understanding
difficult things and they remember well when they are interested.
What they learn at this age is retained and forms a basis for
- As soon as a child comes to school, he is taught how to care
for books and respect them. He is told that he must always sit
at a table when reading. He is given a lesson on how to handle
books with care. He is taught the right way to turn the pages.
As soon as he knows how to use the books with care, he is told
that he can use the book corner at any time, choosing his own
book from the shelves and returning it when finished with it.
- There must be a book corner in the classroom. Children using
this area do so quietly. Good books and those of current interest
are on the shelves. There are not too many and never more than
one copy of any book. It is not possible to choose from too much.
There are tables and chairs.