Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston was written with the purpose of furnishing
the little learner reading matter that will excite his attention and give him pleasure, and thus make lighter the difficult task of learning to read. The ruggedness of this task has often been increased by the use of disconnected sentences, or lessons as dry and uninteresting as finger exercises on the piano. It is a sign of promise that the demand for reading matter of interest to the child has come from teachers. I have endeavored to meet this requirement in the following stories.
As such, the book features short sentences and paragraphs, and larger words have been divided into syllables until they have been repeated several times — features that will help the young reader build his skill while enjoying the text. The stories included are short anecdotal biographies of famous American explorers, inventors, scientists, and statesmen.
Young children need to focus their time on building those skills that will help them become independent learners. We often crowd their schedule with additional lessons in history and science and geography before they really have the skills to learn them. Instead, we can work on those reading skills which are so foundational for any other learning, while at the same time introducing them to history and science through enjoyable biographies.
So the busy homeschool mom can consider this a twofer — reading practice for a newer reader and history lessons!
Stories of Great Americans is a fun and interesting introduction to leading figures in the history of America. There are 33 weeks of lessons — enough for a standard school year with a little wiggle room for holidays and other activities — covering one individual per week, with ideas for further investigation, suggestions, helps for Mom, and notebooking resources to round out the studies.
For the youngest children, simply reading the book will be enough. You know your children best, but don’t overwhelm them. Have fun!
- The format of the book lends itself well to notebooking. Make a notebooking page for each chapter read including copywork from the book or a written narration.
- Another notebooking option is to simply make one notebooking page for each person studied (several times the same individual is covered in more than one chapter).
- There are many opportunities for incorporating geography. Map the locations mentioned throughout the book or find them on a globe.
- Enjoy the rabbit trails, if you have time, and learn more about those individuals mentioned.
Every means which the writer’s literary experience could suggest has been used to make the stories engaging, in the hope that the interest of the narrative may prove a sufficient spur to exertion on the part of the pupil, and that this little book will make green and pleasant a pathway that has so often been dry and laborious.