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Learning to read and write in Colonial America / E. Jennifer Monaghan.

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Electronic resources

Subject: Literacy > United States > History > 18th century.
Books and reading > United States > History > 18th century.
Genre: Electronic books.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781613761373
  • ISBN: 1613761376
  • ISBN: 1558494863
  • ISBN: 9781558494862
  • Physical Description: 1 online resource (xiii, 491 pages) : illustrations.
  • Publisher: Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press ; ©2005.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 393-460) and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Literacy and the law in orthodox New England -- Literacy and the Indians of Massachusetts Bay -- Books read by children at home and at school -- Death and literacy in two devout Boston families -- The literacy mission of the S.P.G -- Literacy and the Mohawks -- Schools, schoolteachers, and schoolchildren -- The rise of the spelling book -- Literacy instruction and the enslaved -- Writing instruction -- The new world of children's books -- Literacy in three families of the 1770s.
Summary: An experienced teacher of reading and writing and an award-winning historian, E. Jennifer Monaghan brings to vibrant life the process of learning to read and write in colonial America. Ranging throughout the colonies from New Hampshire to Georgia, she examines the instruction of girls and boys, Native Americans and enslaved Africans, the privileged and the poor, revealing the sometimes wrenching impact of literacy acquisition on the lives of learners. For the most part, religious motives underlay reading instruction in colonial America, while secular motives led to writing instruction. Monaghan illuminates the history of these activities through a series of deeply researched and readable case studies. An Anglican missionary battles mosquitoes and loneliness to teach the New York Mohawks to write in their own tongue. Puritan fathers model scriptural reading for their children as they struggle with bereavement. Boys in writing schools, preparing for careers in counting houses, wield their quill pens in the difficult task of mastering a "good hand." Benjamin Franklin learns how to compose essays with no teacher but himself. Young orphans in Georgia write precocious letters to their benefactor, George Whitefield, while schools in South Carolina teach enslaved black children to read but never to write.
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