Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quote for the day: The more things change...

"Of the nursery through which I passed only one sister wept while learning to read, and that was over a scholastic work entitled Reading Without Tears."--Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, "Children's Reading (I)," On the Art of Reading, 1916-1917

4 comments:

Queen of Carrots said...

Didn't Winston Churchill have the same experience with a book of that name? I wonder if the book is still around . . .

Mama Squirrel said...

Actually I found Reading Without Tears online--at least the book I expect he's referring to--but he goes on to retell the story that made his sister cry, about a donkey, and I can't find the passage about the donkey in RWT, so I wonder if he might have mixed up the titles. The only other online reference I can find to the donkey story is by someone else who said it was in one of the "goody books," meaning an old book meant to scare children into behaving themselves--but she didn't say which one.

So anyway, I'm not sure whether he meant that the "reading without tears" method was so bad, or whether the stories in the book he remembers (whatever it was called) were so awful.

Phyllis said...

Didn't Charlotte Mason mention that book, too?

Mama Squirrel said...

Yes, in her first book, page 100:

"Whereby it is plain, that this notion of the extreme difficulty of learning to read is begotten by the elders rather than by the children. There would be no little books entitled Reading Without Tears, if tears were not sometimes shed over the reading lesson; but, really, when that is the case, the fault rests with the teacher."

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