Great Minds / Great Ideas

Tuesday, October 17 at 7 pm

William Holmes McGuffey: Teaching millions of Americans to read
presented by Dr. Tiffany Coyle, assistant professor, education

Dr. Tiffany Coyle

Dr. Tiffany Coyle’s lecture examines the work of William Holmes McGuffey who is known for his elementary school reading books titled The McGuffey Reader. These readers, which sold more than 122 million copies between 1836 and 1925, taught more Americans how to read than any other textbook. This lecture will cover how these readers helped standardize American English, and create a curriculum that reflected prevailing American moral and religious values; the current uses of these texts—their modern iterations and influences; and common complaints regarding these texts. William Holmes McGuffey’s success with these readers is made more notable by his lack of formal education before his start as a teacher at the age of 14.