He that ne'er learns his A, B, C,
For ever will a Blockhead be; But he that learns these Letters fair Shall have a Coach to take the Air.
So ran The New England Primer, one of the earliest and most popular U. S. readers. Most of it was in verse, illustrated by quaint, sober drawings. Colonial moppets were taught the letter O thus:
All were pious.
Later U. S. school readers and grammars became more prosaic, duller. Recently schoolbook readability has been on the upswing. Last week many a delighted...