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My Favourite Artifact


My favourite artifact from the collection is from box 54. It is a booklet entitled "Elementary Art Grades III - IV". I find this book remarkable because of the level of sophistication it assumes in the students who are the intended audience.

A sample image from the book is provided at right.

Each page is dense with text and illustrations. It is written for a reading level significantly higher than grades III or IV. Several questions occur to me as examine the book.

1. Were all texts from this era written as for older students? That is, did authors not realise it may be appropriate to write more simply for young students?

2. Would kids in 1929, the date when this text was used here in BC, have found this book useful or baffling?

3. Were the authors of texts like this correct to believe that you could get good results from kids if you push them to go beyond the reading level they are comfortable with? Is that actually true? My guess is that some kids would do well in this environment but many would be baffled and not really learn anything from the material.

There must be research on this topic and, one hopes, that modern texts are written in a style that reflects what this research indicates is a best practice, one that achieves the widest possible success among children in the appropriate age group. Unfortunately as a non-educator I'm not aware of such research. Perhaps someone could provide some examples in the comments.

Before I finished writing this I had a quick look around on the internet for elementary school art texts and it seemed to me that most of the books are actually written for the teacher. It is possible that that was the intention of the author of this text. However the book is written as though for the kids and even includes a forward for the student.