Books in the Classroom

These remarks also apply to the home

Books must be chosen with great care if we wish to educate a cultured generation. We must understand that the small child wants to understand the world into which he is born. Every facet is of interest to him. He cannot discriminate between fact and fantasy because he does not have enough knowledge to enable him to do so. Books for the young child should be chosen to feed his mind, to help him understand his world. The books should be illustrated with good, clear photographs. He will enjoy books about animals, plants, cars, space, different countries, etc. We must not be afraid of giving the child knowledge or facts which to us seem too difficult for him. The children are thirsty for knowledge; they are capable of understanding far more than for which we give them credit.
We must not think the child has to be amused all the time. We must not give him cartoon type drawings, poor drawings of any sort, or ugly pictures. If we do so, we must realize that we are influencing the formation of the child's taste and we shall teach him to be addicted to that sort of literature instead of the best. We will also confuse him. We must not provide junk for the developing mind. How serious it is that we give poor quality material to our children at an age when they rely on the adult to give them what is good because they cannot know for themselves.
The books we choose must be written in good grammatical English. As he reads, the child learns spelling, punctuation, sentence construction and the use of words.
The child's aesthetic taste is formed in the first years of life. This is the age when the nation's children should have the best the nation can offer. If they have books, they must have good, well-written, well-illustrated books. The best authors and artists should produce the books. We now have color photography and beautiful books for knowledge which can be produced and illustrated without prohibitive costs. It remains for parents and teachers to choose books with care, to know what they should provide.
In educating our children, we aim to have a cultured generation. Culture is the highest discipline that humanity has reached. It is the best that has been achieved in architecture, literature, science, music, etc. If we want to educate all our children to the highest level, we first give them a rich language. This mainly is the work of the home and the school in the child's early years. So we must give the children the best that our civilization has to offer in the schools. Everything in the school room should be well made and beautiful. The pictures on the wall should be by the best artists. The books should be written by good writers. Most of the books will be for knowledge, but there will be some story books and books of poetry. We must avoid all crudely written, illustrated, and cheaply produced materials.
Children appreciate the best we can give them. They will like what we give them, and they will like these things for life. Today, the workbooks used by the small children are crudely illustrated and produced. The schools must change in this respect. The school must provide books of knowledge in all subjects. Many well illustrated books intended for the adult will be appreciated by the young children.
We must allow and encourage children to read and browse freely in books that interest them. We must help them to acquire knowledge for themselves. If a child shows interest in any particular subject, books on that subject must be provided. When a teacher gives a lesson on any particular subject, books and material on that subject should be available so that the child can learn more if the teacher has stimulated his interest. Schools should advise parents on the type of books suitable for the children and should discourage them from giving "junk." There is no merit in teaching children to read, unless at the same time, they are helped to enjoy good literature and to read for knowledge. Children are deeply affected for life by the things provided in their early years. The best educated, most cultured teacher should be in charge of the youngest children.
Books then, must be chosen with great care if we wish to educate our children to a high level. When choosing them, we must bear the following points in mind:
a. The author must write well. The author must use correct grammar.
b. Punctuation must be correct. Capital letters must be used in the right places.
c. The books must be of good quality.
d. The illustrations must be beautiful. The best artists should be asked to illustrate the books for the children, or photographs can be used. Crude drawings or cartoon type drawings should never be used.
e. Most of the books must be chosen for the knowledge they impart. Little children are thirsty for knowledge. They want to know all about everything. They are capable of understanding difficult things and they remember well when they are interested. What they learn at this age is retained and forms a basis for further study.


As soon as a child comes to school, he is taught how to care for books and respect them. He is told that he must always sit at a table when reading. He is given a lesson on how to handle books with care. He is taught the right way to turn the pages. As soon as he knows how to use the books with care, he is told that he can use the book corner at any time, choosing his own book from the shelves and returning it when finished with it.


There must be a book corner in the classroom. Children using this area do so quietly. Good books and those of current interest are on the shelves. There are not too many and never more than one copy of any book. It is not possible to choose from too much. There are tables and chairs.