HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Christian Eclectic Reader Study Guide
Authors: Charles and Betty Burger, editors
Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Grades 1-8
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Burger, Charles and Betty. The Christian Eclectic Reader Study Guide (published in 2002 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company). There are several editions of the “McGuffey Readers” available. The original edition, compiled by William Holmes McGuffey himself and first published in the mid-1830s by Truman and Smith of Cincinnati, OH, has been republished in 1982 and is now being sold by Mott Media. Two revisions each with completely different selections were made, I think one in the 1850s and the other in the 1870s, under the auspices of William’s brother Alexander McGuffey, the second of which is what is carried today in most secular bookstores as the “McGuffey Readers.” Also a set of “McGuffey Readers for Christian Schools” has been put together using selections from all three of these editions edited, I believe, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore.
In addition, The Christian Eclectic Readers and Study Guide were prepared by McCaffrey Communications Inc., P. O. Box 1608, Ft. Collins, CO 80522, and published by Eerdmans. This set is based on the original version of McGuffey’s readers, which are generally considered the most “Christian” version and were used for decades to produce a far more literate and articulate nation than our present one. Senior editors Charles and Betty Burger, who are well known in the homeschooling community from their articles and columns on literature in Homeschooling Today magazine, have made the originals practical for today’s parents and teachers by updating the archaic style, grammar, and punctuation of McGuffey’s day. Betty’s new Study Guide, divided into ten years of 36 weekly lessons (grades 1-10), shows instructors how to use the readers to teach reading and speaking skills, important ideas, and logic–all within a Christian framework. Each lesson is followed by questions and spelling words.
The accompanying lesson in the Study Guide ties the lesson into a biblical verse, reinforces a diction rule, and provides additional questions. The Christian Eclectic Readers and Study Guide contains five volumes: The Christian Eclectic First Reader through The Christian Eclectic Fourth Reader and the Study Guide. We already had the original McGuffey Readers as republished by Mott Media and have used them in our curriculum, but Maureen McCaffrey, former editor of Homeschooling Today magazine, sent me a set of The Christian Eclectic Readers set as a gift, and we used them as sort of a second set. However, while the stories in The Christian Eclectic Readers are basically the same, some which were apparently though unsuitable were omitted, and there have been other changes to update the language. I happen to prefer the originals, but I found Mrs. Burger’s study guide especially useful. Evidently the books are not available individually but only as a five-volume set.