Two black eyes had little kitty,

Black as a crow;

And they spied the little mousie,

Long time ago …

Moving into the Third Reader, we broaden our range of phonics sounds by adding diphthongs and subvocals, along with "Exercises in Articulation," which include double vowel sounds and blends. This reader also introduces emphasis by using italics and capital letters. Punctuation is expanded by including marks and pauses such as hyphens (-), commas (,), semicolons (;), and colons (:), among others. Stories are more detailed and expansive, as this reader could carry children into sixth or seventh grade. Once again, these stories not only teach but also are a joy to read.

McGuffey's Fourth Reader, ideal for junior high level readers, draws readers deeper into phonics and develops the learner's articulation. This is reinforced through practice with inflection, illustrated at the top of the next column.

In this reader you will begin to find familiar stories and poems, including "Robinson Crusoe's House" by Daniel DeFoe and "Hugh Idle and Mr. Toil," adapted from a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. And just as the reading matures, you will find that the illustrations do as well, with pages featuring beautiful old engravings filled with fine detail.

The Fifth Reader brings a reader not only into upper junior high but also into senior high school level reading. With more complex phonics development, the reader will also learn more about inflections: circumflex, monotone, accent, emphasis, pitch, and poetic pauses. The Sixth Reader, high school and college level, jumps right in with articulation and dives further in with more on inflection, accent, emphasis, and reading verse. The Fifth and Sixth Readers are books that I simply enjoy "just reading." Here you will find many treasured old stories and poetry: "The Village Blacksmith" by Longfellow, "The Snowstorm" by Thomson; "Death of Little Nell" by Charles Dickens, Patrick Henry's Speech Before the Virginia Convention, sections of Shakespeare, the Bible, Washington Irving, Daniel Webster. These lessons will be well learned.

Ray's Arithmetic

Another happy find was the whole set of Ray's Arithmetic. This eight-volume set not only covers primary to "higher" math but also contains a parent-teacher guide, test examples, and two key books.

The parent-teacher guide, a new addition to the reproduced set, has great ideas and teaching schedules of sorts. Even if the publisher had stopped at the introduction, it would be worth having. You know, right off the bat, that you have a stellar teaching and learning aid when the introduction says:

While learning arithmetic, children develop their God-given, natural, biblical mode of thinking. Biblical thinking begins with the premises that God created everything and that basic truths of the creation are self-evident to us … With this mode of thinking and study, it is natural to view God's creation as orderly. Stars keep time more perfectly than clocks can ever manage, crystals teach solid geometry, musical tones … vibrate in the mathematical patterns that man discovers rather than creates. The heavens declare to us the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork.

Isn't that wonderful?

Also in the introduction you will find a chart that shows the suggested grade levels for each book: Primary = first and second grades; Intellectual = third and fourth grades; Practical = fifth and sixth grades; Higher = seventh and eighth grades. Another nice find is a suggested Scope and Sequence and Teaching Tips. My recommendation? "Suggestions" are always fine and appreciated, but remember, these are YOUR children and your school is YOUR school, so do what works best for you and yours.