Skip to main content

American Primers and Readers

Featuring the Words and Collection of Richard L. Venezky

An online exhibition of the Cubberley Education Library, Stanford University

Teachers' Manuals

Overview of Teachers' Manuals exhibit case
Detail of left side of exhibit case Detail of right side of exhibit case

"Separate teachers' manuals did not become commonplace until the 1920s, but the pattern for such texts was established in the late 1880s and early 1890s with the publication of Pollard's Synthetic Method (1889) and Ward's Rathional Method in Reading (1894). Pollard's manual, like Ward's, accompanied an entire series and was cross-referenced from the various readers" (Venezky, 1987, p. 253).

"The inclusion of a lesson plan reflects the pedagogical influence of the Pestalozzian schools, with their carefully sequenced lessons. But the desire to include any instructional apparatus appears to derive mostly from the need to distinguish a product in a marketplace overrun with primers and readers. It is ironic that from the 19th century on, as teachers were better and better trained, the reading textbooks treated them as less and less competent by increasing the explicitness of the teaching instructions" (Venezky, 1990b, p. xx).

Detail of pp. 10-11 of the See-and-Say Series

Arnold, Sarah Louise. 1913. The see and say series: Book one. Boston: Ginn and Company

Detail of pp. 18-19 of the See-and-Say Series Teachers' Manual

Arnold, Sarah Louise. 1913. The see and say series. Book one, manual for teachers. Syracuse, N.Y.: Iroquois.

(Teachers' manual for The see and say series, pictured at left.)

Cover image of Pollard's Manual

Pollard, Rebecca S. [1889?]. A complete manual: Pollard's synthetic method of reading and spelling. New York: American Book Company.

Cover image of Pollard's Synthetic Second Reader

Pollard, Rebecca S. 1889. Pollard's synthetic first [-third] reader. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago : American Book Co.

Cover image of Spaulding's Learning to Read Teachers' Edition

Spaulding, Frank E. 1907. Learning to read: a manual for teachers. New York: Newson & Company.