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McGuffey Third Reader - Book

McGuffey Third Reader

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McGuffey's Third Reader begins with lessons on articulation and marks and pauses (punctuation), then moves into 86 language arts lessons, each based upon character-building stories, essays, and poetry.

Focus: Reading and Spelling

Grade level: Mid- to upper elementary or as needed

Format: Paperback; 5" x 7.75"

Content: 86 lessons plus introductions to articulation and marks and pauses, 270 pages.


McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader

The third reader begins with lessons on articulation and marks and pauses (punctuation). The articulation lesson reviews some of the words from the last half of the second reader, while the punctuation instruction provides a brief overview of the basic punctuation marks and their uses. Each of these lessons includes a note to the teacher and the articulation lesson includes a model for class drill.

These introductory lessons are followed by 86 language arts lessons, each based upon character-building stories, essays, and poetry. Each paragraph or stanza is numbered, which makes it very easy to assign portions of a passage or poem as copywork, recitation, or narration. Additional short lessons and teacher notes are found throughout the text.

In this reader, students will find spelling words listed at the beginning of each lesson. The first spelling and vocabulary lesson in the third reader contains words from the story that follows, including learn, richly, culling, harvest, cause, wintry, engage, livelong, youth, summer, leaving, and brightest. Practice Spelling with McGuffey Readers provides an overview of how to use these spelling words.

Most stories and nonfiction pieces are followed by a few questions about the text. In her review of the 1857 Readers, Cathy Duffy writes about a question in the third reader, "The first instruction — to relate the story — is essentially asking the child for an oral narration. The following two questions require students to think beyond the content of the story for their answers. This guided discussion stretches beyond narration but still fits the spirit of Charlotte Mason’s ideas."

You may choose whether or not to use the provided questions. I strongly dislike comprehension questions, so would not use any that were simply questions of fact, but would instead substitute narration or a simple conversation about the story or poem. The nice thing about the third reader, as with the rest of the series, is that you may adapt it to suit your needs.

Download a sample lesson from middle of book (PDF).

Third Reader Table of Contents


New introduction with instructions for use with Charlotte Mason methods

You may also choose to use Charlotte Mason's language arts methods of copywork, recitation, and narration for these lessons. Instructions for each of these methods is found in the new 18-page introduction that has been added to this edition. Like Miss Mason, Mr. McGuffey believed in short lessons, learned well, so the readers provide a convenient source for material to use with Miss Mason's methods.



What the original publisher said about the third reader

In the preface to the third reader, the original publisher of the 1857 edition describes what was new in the readers.
There has been, hitherto, in the opinion of Educators, in all reading books for schools, a deficiency of primary matter. Such deficiency, it is believed, is supplied in the remodeled Eclectic Readers, by the introduction in this third book and the succeeding volume of the Series, of a large number of new and easy lessons of a very interesting and instructive character.

A proper progression is carefully preserved, and, in consequence of the increase of primary matter, this will be found so gradual that there can be no difficulty in passing from one lesson to another.

Articulation is taught by copious and numerous exercises, both introductory and in the body of the book. It must be borne in mind, that the earlier this subject is taken up, and the more closely it is attended to, the greater the probability of securing a good articulation.

The spelling lessons have been carefully prepared. They contain words found in the reading lessons with which they are connected. The more difficult words are often repeated, as this is the only method of learning any thing thoroughly.

An introductory lesson explaining such marks and pauses as are used in the volume, and a lesson on emphasis, are new and valuable features, and will afford important aid to the learner.

The reading lessons are derived from the purest fountains of juvenile literature. In order to adapt them to the use here made of them, they have been materially remodeled, and, in many cases, entirely re-written.



By the end of the third reader, your student will be working with words such as island, bilberry, brooding, fledged, captivity, busy, hobble, warbled, and grateful.

Literacy, virtue, and values

Like the other readers in the series, McGuffey's third reader helps you teach language arts using stories, poems, essays, and speeches that reinforce virtues such as courage, honor, diligence, stewardship, independence, frugality, perseverance, and kindness.

Whether you use them as a primary instructional tool or simply as a supplement to your curriculum, I think you'll find the 1857 McGuffey Readers a valuable addition to your home library and classroom.


McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader ISBN: 978-1-61322-017-7

Published by Everyday Education, LLC, 2013.

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