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McGuffey Fifth Reader - Book

McGuffey Fifth Reader

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The Fifth Reader begins with 27 pages of instruction and examples for reading and recitation as a rhetorical exercise, followed by 101 literature-based language arts lessons.

Focus: Reading and Spelling

Grade level: Middle to early high school or as needed

Format: Paperback; 5" x 7.75"

Content: 101 lessons, 348 pages.



McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader

The fifth reader begins with 27 pages of instruction and examples for reading and recitation as a rhetorical exercise, followed by 101 literature-based language arts lessons.

    • Conveying the meaning of the story, essay, or poem

    • Articulation

    • Inflections, including rising and falling inflections, circumflex, and monotone

    • Accent

    • Emphasis, including absolute emphasis, relative emphasis, and emphatic pause

    • Modulation, including pitch and compass, quantity and quality

    • Poetic Pauses

This opening section concludes with five short literary selections with which to practice the principles taught. These include "Death of Franklin," "Bonaparte," "Hamlet on Seeing the Skull of Yorick," "Description of a Battle" from Marmion, and "Lord Ullin's Daughter." These classic selections are both interesting and challenging, and well-suited for recitation. Exercises and teacher notes are included throughout.


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

Fifth Reader Table of Contents


Includes 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.



Features of McGuffey's Fifth Reader

In the preface to the fifth reader, the original publisher of the 1857 edition describes the book:
This, the fifth in the series of the remodeled Eclectic Readers, differs from the preceding volumes, chiefly, in its grade. The lessons are more difficult, the lists of errors in articulation and pronunciation are more extensive, and the questions, more copious and varied.

A considerable amount of new matter, derived from the best sources of English literature, has been added.

The introductory article on Reading is commended to the notice of the teacher, as containing important instruction upon that subject, with copious illustrations and exercises. Miscellaneous exercises in articulation are also interspersed between the lessons.

The Spelling and Defining Exercises, placed at the head of the lessons, are copious, and a t the same time, select. In addition to these, words are also marked in the lessons to be spelled and defined by the pupil.

The grammatical questions are particularly commended to the attention of the teacher, as a valuable feature. Few are aware, until a trial, how closely reading and grammatical analysis may be profitably united.

The Reading Lessons have been very carefully selected. It has been the great object of the compiler to present the best specimens of style, to insure interest in the subjects, to impart valuable information, and, especially, to exert a decided and healthy moral and religious influence.

As very little material is found in a form appropriate to practice as reading lessons, the matter has here been extensively remodeled and rearranged, so as to adapt it to its place in this volume. On this account, the lessons are credited in the contents as being the authors named.



By the end of the fifth reader, your student will be working with literary selections from Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Dr. Beecher, the Bible, Washington Irving, Daniel Webster, and other well-known writers and orators. Reading level for tested selections in this book ranged from Flesch-Kincaide grade level 5.8 through grade level 10.1ı for a speech delivered by Daniel Webster at the celebration of the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument in 1843.

Literacy, virtue, and values

Like the other readers in the series, McGuffey's fifth 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. The 1857 edition is the first to include the advanced fifth and sixth readers as part of the core series, making the readers useable all the way through high school. 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 Fifth Eclectic Reader ISBN: 978-1-61322-019-1

Published by Everyday Education, LLC, 2014.

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