McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader
Category: Children
Genres: Reader
Level 6.31 15:57 h
McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader is the final book in the series of texts used to educate young readers. The books cover a variety of topics for children grades 1-6. The books published in the mid-19th century are still relevant and even used today as a good foundation for vocabulary, reading, and exposure to classic writing.

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader

William Holmes McGuffey

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader

She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half-open, and her finger up,
As though she said, “Beware!”


In the SIXTH READER, the general plan of the revision of McGUFFEY’S SERIES has been carefully carried out to completion.

That plan has been to retain, throughout, those characteristic features of McGUFFEY’S READERS, which have made the series so popular, and caused their widespread use throughout the schools of the country. At the same time, the books have been enlarged; old pieces have been exchanged for new wherever the advantage was manifest; and several new features have been incorporated, which it is thought will add largely to the value of the series.

In the revision of the SIXTH READER, the introductory matter has been retained with but little change, and it will he found very valuable for elocutionary drill. In the preparation of this portion of the work, free use was made of the writings of standard authors upon Elocution, such as Walker, McCulloch, Sheridan Knowles, Ewing, Pinnock, Scott, Bell, Graham, Mylins, Wood, Rush, and many others.

In making up the Selections for Reading, great care and deliberation have been exercised. The best pieces of the old book are retained in the REVISED SIXTH, and to these has been added a long list of selections from the best English and American literature. Upwards of one hundred leading authors are represented (see “Alphabetical List. of Authors,” page ix), and thus a wide range of specimens of the best style has been secured. Close scrutiny revealed the fact that many popular selections common to several series of Readers, had been largely adapted, but in McGUFFEY’S REVISED READERS, wherever it was possible to do so, the selections have been compared, and made to conform strictly with the originals as they appear in the latest editions authorized by the several writers.

The character of the selections, aside from their elocutionary value, has also been duly considered. It will be found, upon examination, that they present the same instructive merit and healthful moral tone which gave the preceding edition its high reputation.

Two new features of the REVISED SIXTH deserve especial attention — the explanatory notes, and the biographical notices of authors. The first, in the absence of a large number of books of reference, are absolutely necessary, in some cases, for the intelligent reading of the piece; and it is believed that in all cases they will add largely to the interest and usefulness of the lessons.

The biographical notices, if properly used, are hardly of less value than the lessons themselves. They have been carefully prepared, and are intended not only to add to the interest of the pieces, but to supply information usually obtained only by the separate study of English and American literature.

The illustrations of the REVISED SIXTH READER are presented as specimens of fine art. They are the work of the best artists and engravers that could be secured for the purpose in this country. The names of these gentlemen may be found on page ten.

The publishers would here repeat their acknowledgments to the numerous friends and critics who have kindly assisted in the work of revision, and would mention particularly President EDWIN C. HEWETT, of the State Normal University, Normal, Illinois, and the HON. THOMAS W. HARVEY, of Painesville, Ohio, who have had the revision of the SIXTH READER under their direct advice.

Especial acknowledgment is due to Messrs. Houghton, Osgood & Co., for their permission to make liberal selections from their copyright editions of many of the foremost American authors whose works they publish.

January, 1880.


The subject of Elocution, so far as it is deemed applicable to a work of this kind, will be considered under the following heads, viz:


I. Articulation

Articulation is the utterance of the elementary sounds of a language, and of their combinations.

As words consist of one or more elementary sounds, the first object of the student should he to acquire the power of uttering those sounds with distinctness, smoothness, and force. This result can be secured only by careful practice, which must be persevered in until the learner has acquired a perfect control of his organs of speech.

Elementary Sounds

An Elementary Sound is a simple, distinct sound made by the organs of speech.

The Elementary Sounds of the English language are divided into Vocals, Subvocals, and Aspirates.


Vocals are sounds which consist of pure tone only. They are the most prominent elements of all words, and it is proper that they should first receive attention. A vocal may be represented by one letter, as in the word hat, or by two or more letters, as in heat, beauty. A diphthong is a union of two vocals, commencing with one and ending with the other. It is usually represented by two letters, as in the words oil, boy, out, now.

Each of these can he uttered with great force, so as to give a distinct expression of its sound, although the voice be suddenly suspended, the moment the sound is produced. This is done by putting the lips, teeth, tongue, and palate in their proper position, and then expelling each sound from the throat in the same manner that the syllable “ah!” is uttered in endeavoring to deter a child from something it is about to do; thus, a’ — a’ — a’ — .

Let the pupil he required to utter every one of the elements in the Table with all possible suddenness and percussive force, until he is able to do it with ease and accuracy. This must not he considered as accomplished until he can give each sound with entire clearness, and with all the suddenness of the crack of a rifle. Care must be taken that the vocal alone be heard; there must be no consonantal sound, and no vocal sound other than the one intended.

At first, the elementary sounds may be repeated by the class in concert; then separately.


Long Sounds.

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader
McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader


oi, oy, as in oil, boy.
ou, ow, as in out, now.

REMARK I. — In this table, the short sounds are nearly or quite the same, in quantity, as the long sounds. The difference consists chiefly in quality. Let the pupil determine this fact by experiment.

REMARK II. — The vocals are often represented by other letters or combinations of letters than those used in the table: for instance, a is represented by ai as in hail, by ea as in steak, etc.

REMARK III. — As a general rule, the long vocals and the diphthongs should be articulated with full, clear utterance; but the short vocals have a sharp, distinct, and almost explosive utterance. Weakness of speech follows a failure to observe the first point, while drawling results from carelessness with respect to the second.

Subvocals and Aspirates

Subvocals are those sounds in which the vocalized breath is more or less obstructed.

Aspirates consist of breath only, modified by the vocal organs.

Words ending with subvocal sounds may be selected for practice on the subvocals; words beginning or ending with aspirate sounds may be used for practice on aspirates. Pronounce these words forcibly and distinctly, several times in succession; then drop the other sounds, and repeat the subvocals and aspirates alone. Let the class repeat the words and elements, at first, in concert; then separately.


McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader

REMARK. — These eighteen sounds make nine pairs of cognates. In articulating the aspirates, the vocal organs are put in the position required in the articulation of the corresponding subvocals; but the breath is expelled with some force, without the utterance of any vocal sound. The pupil should first verify this by experiment, and then practice on these cognates.

The following subvocals and aspirate have no cognates:

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader


h, as in hat.


Substitutes are characters used to represent sounds ordinarily represented by other characters.


McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader

Faults to be Remedied

The most common faults of articulation are dropping an unaccented vowel, sounding incorrectly an unaccented vowel, suppressing final consonants, omitting or mispronouncing syllables, and blending words.

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