McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader
William Holmes McGuffey
Children
2:42 h
Level 3
McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century, and are still used today in homeschooling. The third Reader taught the definitions of words and was written at a level equivalent to the modern 5th or 6th grade. McGuffey's Readers were among the first textbooks in the United States designed to be increasingly challenging with each volume. They used word repetition in the text as a learning tool, developing reading skills by challenging students using the books. Sounding-out, enunciation, and accents were emphasized. Colonial-era texts had offered dull lists of 20 to 100 new words per page for memorization. In contrast, McGuffey used new vocabulary words in the context of real literature, gradually introducing new words and carefully repeating the old.

McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader

by
William Holmes McGuffey


Lesson I
The Shepherd Boy

Little Roy led his sheep down to pasture,
And his cows, by the side of the brook;
But his cows never drank any water,
And his sheep never needed a crook.

For the pasture was gay as a garden,
And it glowed with a flowery red;
But the meadows had never a grass blade,
And the brooklet — it slept in its bed:

And it lay without sparkle or murmur,
Nor reflected the blue of the skies;
But the music was made by the shepherd,
And the sparkle was all in his eyes.

Oh, he sang like a bird in the summer!
And, if sometimes you fancied a bleat,
That, too, was the voice of the shepherd,
And not of the lambs at his feet.

And the glossy brown cows were so gentle
That they moved at the touch of his hand
O'er the wonderful, rosy-red meadow,
And they stood at the word of command.

So he led all his sheep to the pasture,
And his cows, by the side of the brook;
Though it rained, yet the rain never pattered
O'er the beautiful way that they took.

And it was n’t in Fairyland either,
But a house in the midst of the town,
Where Roy, as he looked from the window,
Saw the silvery drops trickle down.

For his pasture was only a table,
With its cover so flowery fair,
And his brooklet was just a green ribbon,
That his sister had lost from her hair.

And his cows were but glossy horse-chestnuts,
That had grown on his grandfather’s tree;
And his sheep only snowy-white pebbles,
He had brought from the shore of the sea.

And at length when the shepherd was weary,
And had taken his milk and his bread,
And his mother had kissed him and tucked him,
And had bid him “good night” in his bed;

Then there entered his big brother Walter,
While the shepherd was soundly asleep,
And he cut up the cows into baskets,
And to jackstones turned all of the sheep.

Emily S. Oakey.


Lesson II
Johnny's First Snowstorm