Think of it, you word-mongering, gerund-grinding teachers who delight in signs and symbols, and figures and ‘facts,’ and feed little children's souls on the dry, innutricious husks of knowledge; and think of it, you play-abhorring, fiction-forbidding parents!
Awaken the interest
in learning, and the thirst
for knowledge, and there is no predicting what may or what may not result from it. Scarcely a man, distinguished for the supremacy or the beauty of his immortal part, has written the history of his childhood, without recording the fact, that the celestial fire was first kindled in his soul by means similar to those which awakened an ‘interest in learning’ and a ‘thirst for knowledge’ in the mind of Horace Greeley
Horace learned to read before he had learned to talk; that is, before he could pronounce the longer words.
No one regularly taught him. When he was little more than two years old, he began to pore over the Bible
, opened for his entertainment on the floor, and examine with curiosity the newspaper given him to play with.
He cannot remember a time when he could not read, nor can any one give an account of the process by which he learned, except that he asked questions incessantly, first about the pictures in the newspaper, then about the capital letters, then about the smaller ones, and finally about the words and sentences.
At three years of age he could read easily And correctly any of the books prepared for children; and at four, any book whatever.
But he was not satisfied with overcoming the ordinary difficulties of reading.
Allowing that nature gives to every child a certain amount of mental force to be used in acquiring the art of reading, Horace had an overplus of that force, which he employed in learning to read with his book in positions which increased the difficulty of the feat.
All the friends and neighbors of his early childhood, in reporting him a prodigy unexampled, adduce as the unanswerable and clinching proof of the fact, that, at the age of four years, he could read any book in whatever position it might be placed,—right-side up, up-side down, or sidewise.
His third winter Horace spent at the house of his grandfather, David Woodburn
, in Londonderry
, attended the district school there and distinguished himself greatly.
He had no right to attend the Londonderry school
, and the people of the rural districts