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ance is necessary before judgment of such great value can be formed to good advantage.
Corrective and Preventive Uses of Play.
Play is nature's way of preserving the balance of life,-nature's balance-wheel and regulator of impulse and energy. Play gives balanced exercise to all the bodily functions and thus insures normal hygienic exercise of all parts of the body. It is, therefore, a powerful preventive of all sorts of deformities, abnormalities and diseases. Play is nature's chief preventive medicine.
Play may also be used as a restorative where the normal balance of bodily or mental functions has been disturbed. Many of the forms of abnormality, disease, and deformity, are traceable to improper balance of function in the biological processes of exercises and nutrition, thus disturbing normal growth and development of body and mind. Through play the normal balance of physiological and mental functions may often be returned, if the disturbed conditions have not too long existed, and thus correction of defects, both mental and physical, may be brought about. Where special parts or functions are not working normally, special exercises may be prescribed and the defect overcome through bringing about greater use of the defective part, and hence better nutrition, which opens the way for growth and development. Play is thus nature's medicine-man.
Some Concluding Suggestions to Teachers and Parents.
The foregoing discussion has led to the conclusion that play is a natural impulse, possessed by both man and animal. The impulse is instinctive, in the sense of being inborn. It differs from other instincts in that its activity is not directed to the realization of any special end, as the hunger instinct is directed towards eating, for example. For this reason some psychologists call play a native impulse rather than an instinct. Whether called an impulse or an instinct, play is blind and does not foresee the ends it serves, or may be made to serve. It, therefore, needs careful
direction and control, but not interference. Parents and teachers must guide this impulse wisely, to make it serve the many valuable ends of life. Through proper direction, play keeps a balance of all the physical powers and functions, thus providing for exercise, recreation and nutrition, which are essential to growth and development.
Play is the best regulator of the health and the use of energy. It is a powerful preventive medicine and can be directed into various forms of corrective activities and games, thus helping to restore the normal balance of powers and function.
Play, like the artist's motive, finds its satisfaction in its own exercise, not in the achievement of some end outside itself. In this respect play differs from work. Through its tendency to preserve the balance of life, play forms a strong basis for a healthy development of physical, mental, moral, religious, and aesthetic life.
In view of these facts, as attested by both science and educational experience, it would seem only reasonable that both parents and teachers should look upon play as the savior of childhood and the redeemer of man.
Thought Presentation in Oral Reading
FRED S. SORRENSON, DEPARTMENT OF READING AND PUBLIC SPEAKING, STATE NORMAL UNIVERSITY, NORMAL, ILL. |||||||||♣ ENRY VAN DYKE has happily suggested the nature of good oral reading in describing the reading of Tennyson. Of that poet, he once wrote, "Tennyson's reading was extraordinary. In the passionate passages, his voice rose and swelled like the sound of the wind in the palm trees; in the lines which express grief and loneliness, it broke and fell like the throbbing and murmuring of the waves on the beach. I felt the profound human sympathy of the man, and the largeness and force of his nature."
The elements of superior reading can be suggested further by inviting attention to the work which characterized one of our leading American playwrights recently in reading publicly his latest drama. The keen thinking, the rare imaginative element, the appropriate response of a fine spirit, the beauty of diction, together with charming naturalness and simplicity, made those who heard him wish that readers were more numerous, who are able to present well orally, the thought and feeling which has been expressed in literature.
Our schools are doing a good deal to teach students to read well. It is generally conceded, however, that they can do much more towards helping students to interpret the printed page aright both silently and orally.
The initial step in satisfactory oral reading consists in efficient thought-gathering and presentation. If instructors can teach the young people in their classes to get an author's thought fully and accurately, and present it truly, then the instruction has certainly been of decided value.
Among the first things to consider in giving particular attention to thought presentation in reading is the matter of word
study. New words should evidently be given enough attention so that the students can pronounce them accurately, speak them easily and with the mental reaction which accompanies thorough understanding.
One has only begun to become acquainted with a word, however, when he knows its meaning. A reader who excells for the fine thought work which he does, seeks to realize all that a word connotes. To him a great many of the words which he reads bring a definite, vivid mental picture or concept, and many another mental picture or concept, stands beside it in the perifery of consciousness. In using such words as sunset, autumn, mother, friendship, loyalty, and patriotism an author often wishes to convey far more thought than such words suggest when they are hastily spoken. Let students dwell appropriately on words which are rich in meaning. When the great words of the language are met, they should be recognized. Every page of choice literature is replete with words which to the alert mind arouse memories, stir the imagination, have an emotional significance, or stand for a profound idea, but which to the mentally inactive reader seem to have no special import. When working upon a selection the reader should continually ask himself, "Am 1 making each word contribute to the meaning of the selection as the author intended it should?"
In teaching reading a great deal of attention should be given to the intensive study of words, their pronunciation and enunciation, their history, their uses, their synonyms and antonyms.
A teacher can easily overdo the matter of attracting attention to the significance of words, but obviously unfamiliar words should be carefully studied and special attention should be given now and then to the words which an author has chosen with unusual care, to those which present our greatest thoughts and our richest images, to those which symbolize our deepest emotions, and to those which are usually well suited to the conveying of an idea.
As a reader thinks in terms of ideas rather than in words, the groups must generally be given more attention than single words.
In preparing to read a selection aloud, one should consider often, whether through his grouping of words he is presenting accurately the author's thought.
In helping a class to master the thought expressed by the word groups, it is evident that a teacher should discuss with the students, all passages which there is possibility of misunderstanding. Among the things to be given consideration are historical and literary allusions, stray pronouns and the words to which they refer, as well as misplaced modifiers and the expressions to which they belong. Attention should be given, too, to obscure subjects, predicates and objects.
Every semblance of wrong thinking and lack of thinking must be gotten rid of, before through oral reading, groups of words can be made to convey aright an author's thought.
There are a number of rules regarding the grouping of words which are of help in presenting clearly the message of a book. The first one has already been hinted at. It is this: Phrases, clauses, or sentences, if they express one idea should be spoken as if they were syllables of a single word. Examples are as follows: White chrysanthemum. When the will-o'-the-wisp
appears. The chimes are sounding.
From what has just been said it is evident that limiting phrases should be grouped with words which they modify. The City of Washington, illustrates the rule.
Phrases conveying additional thought should be grouped by themselves. The sentence, "Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again," I trust, makes clear this practice.
Obviously grouping should be determined by the punctuation of the sentence. Yet, sometimes a reader finds that he can present an author's thought more clearly by grouping in a way not provided for by the punctuation. This occurs because of the various rules for punctuation used by authors and printers, and the oversights regarding the matter which are made all too frequently. It is also due to the tendency not to place a punctuation mark at every point in a sentence at which one naturally pauses in reading. So let the tiny guide posts along the way be a help in getting at the