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Free McGuffey Readers

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McGuffey readers are a famous series of textbooks widely used [about 120 million copies sold!] in the USA between the 1840s and 1960s to teach reading. They are still used today in homeschooling and a few private schools.

"Welcome to the schoolroom of 1900. The moral tone is plain. 'She is kind to the old blind man.'

"The exercises are still suitable, and perhaps more helpful than some contemporary alternatives. Much is left to the teacher. Explanations given in the text are enough to get started teaching a child to read and write. Counting in Roman numerals is included as a bonus in the form of lesson numbers." Don Kostuch

McGuffey readers are tools in learning to read English. These books can be used with a variety of reading methods, including phonetics. If you have read much on this site, you will know that phonics is the best way to learn to read. It works naturally with the brain's language system and allows students to pronounce words they have never seen before.

Download free McGuffey readers.

The weakness of the McGuffey phonetic system is that it teaches words and sounds together. The student could easily be memorizing the words instead of using their phonetics. And because they only introduce a few words at a time, it would still take a long time to become efficient at reading. The McGuffey system is missing some of the sounds. For example, it only lists six sounds for "a," but our students know there are nine sounds. The Academic Associates program teaches the main letter sounds first and then applies them to a variety of words. After the very first lesson is complete, the student will have phonetically read 300 words! The average student [of any age] completes the program in 30 to 60 hours of instruction and is then equipped to read the majority of the nearly one million words in the English language. I have not seen any other reading program that can do that! Check out an Academic Associate center near you.

Nevertheless, McGuffey readers are good tools if you cannot attend an Academic Associates center or do not want to take our course over the Internet. They are also suitable for additional information, research, and to get a feel for what school was like in the 1900s. They are totally free - enjoy!

These eBooks are for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

How long it will take you to download the McGuffey readers depends on your connection and computer speed.

McGuffey Readers

McGuffey's Eclectic Primer - 5MB

McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader - 7.8 MB

McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader - 11.04 MB

McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader -12.63 MB

McGuffey's Fourth Eclectic Reader - 8.89 MB

McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader - 9.79 MB

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader - 6.62 MB

McGuffey's Eclectic Spelling Book - 21.91MB

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