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The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
READING, whether silent or oral, is the process of interpreting written discourse. This involves both the printed form and the content of the discourse. When the child enters school he has considerable skill in the interpretation of oral discourse; but he now comes upon an obstacle in the printed language. Hence the first phase of reading work is to secure skill in the interpretation of the written symbols of discourse. The new symbol must be gotten out of the way, so that the pupil may live in immediate touch with the thought, as he has been accustomed to do in
case of oral speech. When this has been accomplished, to a fair degree, text-books are placed in the hands of pupils, and henceforth they have a continued experience with thought, through printed symbols. They are now reading to learn; whereas before they were learning to read, in the narrow sense of interpreting symbols.
But the ordinary didactic prose which the pupil is required to interpret in the lessons assigned from the text does not cover the whole of discourse interpretation. Skill in the interpretation of literary discourse must be sought in a line of its own; and the ad