History of Wayne County, Indiana
Reading--No child was expected to try to read until he could spell well. Pupils went through the spelling book two or three times. They were then considered able to read without stammering. “It mattered not how meaningless were the words, or how little thought was induced by the lesson, spelling must be studied for months, and often years, before reading was begun.” “The idea of that day was loud and fast reading--the faster the better.” p. 479
For reading books, they had Murray's Introduction, his English Reader, and its Sequel. These were the school readers of the early day, though many families were not supplied with them In that case other books were sent the Life of Washington, of Boone, of Francis Marion, such as the parents might have in their houses If nothing else, the New Testament would be sent Nearly every family could furnish that book. At one period the New Testament was more generally used than any other class book. This permitted the formation of reading classes but otherwise there were as many classes as kinds of readers. p. 480
Read the whole book, History of Wayne County, Indiana, Together with Sketches of its Cities, 1884 online at Google Books.