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1836: McGuffey Reader.

Marketplace Contributor May 13, 2014

Developed by the Rev. William Holmes McGuffey to teach reading and moral precepts to children. The first reader–there would be six in all–laid out McGuffey’s vision of the model child: prompt, kind, honest, good and truthful.

It also contained reading and spelling lessons, and pictures. Over the years, the series expanded to  history, science, table manners, bible teachings, British poetry, God, religion and philosophy.

Shakespeare, Dickens and Lord Byron also made appearances By 1920, more than 120 million readers had been sold. And the price rose right along with those sales. The First Reader, introduced in 1844, cost 12.5 cents.

The final version brought in 75 cents.Today, the full series, which is used mainly by parents who homeschool their kids, can be purchased on for $44.80.  

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