Choose your lesson from the lesson list. Click on the Lessons button any time to get the list. It will show you which lessons you've already clicked on. They will appear white. Click RESET to start fresh.

When the lesson opens, read the word if you are able and say it out loud. Then click on the word to hear it. When you know all the words, click on the "Read the Story" button.

The lesson shows each word one time and then shows the words randomly. That means sometimes the same word will show up again. After a set number of times based on the number of words in the lesson, a check mark will appear and you can end that part of the exercise if you are ready. It will then show the words beginning with a capital letter and will talk about each word, often using it in a sentence for clarity. Before attempting the story, it is useful to practice the words a few times throughout the day. Having a routine such as looking at the words at breakfast, lunch, and dinner will help form a good habit for learning the words.

I have made some slight edits to the McGuffey Primer, mostly to modernize it, just a little. Instead of liking to watch the boys at play, the girls like to play too! Several names have changed as well. The name Ann changed to Anna, not to modernize it, but just because it's hard for little ones to say and hear the difference between "and" and Ann.


Lesson 1

A cat and a rat.

A rat and a cat.

Lesson 2

The cat has a rat.

The rat ran at Anna.

Anna has a cat.

The cat ran at the rat.

Lesson 3

Anna and Dan.

Anna has a fan.

Dan has a hat.

Anna can fan.

Lesson 4

A man and a lad.

The man sat; the lad ran.

The man has a hat.

The lad has a cap.

Lesson 5

The cat and the rat ran.

Anna ran, and Dan sat.

A rat ran at Dan.

The man has a hat.

The lad has a cap.

Anna has a hat.

Anna has a hat and a fan.

Anna can fan.

Lesson 6

Dan has a dog.

The lad has a fat dog.

The dog has Dan’s cap.

Dan and Spot ran.

Spot ran at a cat.

Lesson 7

See the frog on a log.

Spot sees the frog.

Can the frog see Spot?

The frog can see the dog.

Spot ran at the frog.

Lesson 8

See the lamp! It is on a mat.

The mat is on the stand.

The lamp is Dan’s, and the mat is Anna’s.

Lesson 9

See the horse? It is Tom’s horse.

Can Tom catch his horse?

He can not catch him.

The dog ran at the horse, and the horse ran.

Lesson 10

Tom’s horse is fat; his dog is not fat.

Dan is on Tom’s horse.

Dan’s dog, Spot, can not catch the rat.

See the frog on the log.

A lad sees the frog.

The lad can not catch it.

A cat is on the mat; the cat sees a rat.

Anna’s fan is on the stand.

The man has a lamp.

A dog ran at the man.

Anna sat on a log.

Lesson 11

This is a fat hen.

The hen has a nest in the box.

She has eggs in the nest.

A cat sees the nest and can get the eggs.

Lesson 12

Can this old fox catch the hen?

The fox can catch the hen, and get the eggs in the nest.

Run, Spot, and catch the fox.

Lesson 13

Emma is by the pond.

I see ducks on the pond.

Emma sees the ducks and will feed them.

She can not get the ducks.

(Note: Today, we write can not as cannot. She cannot get the ducks.)

Lesson 14

This old man can not see.

He is blind.

Mary holds him by the hand.

She is kind to the old blind man.

Lesson 15

I see ducks on the pond; Tom will feed them.

Tom is blind; he holds a box in his hand.

Emma is kind to him.

This old hen has a nest.

Mary will run and get the eggs.

She sees the eggs in the box.

Will the fox get the hen?

Spot will catch the old fox.

The fox will not get the eggs in the nest.

Lesson 16

Sue has a doll.

It has a new dress.

She will let Anna hold the doll in her hands, and Anna will fan it.

Sue is kind to Anna.

Lesson 17

A bird is in the tree. It has a nest there.

The nest has five eggs in it.

Do not rob the nest.

Will the bird let the cat get her five eggs?

Lesson 18

This is her pet bird.

It lives in a new cage.

It will stand on Sue's hand and sing.

Sue loves her pet bird.

So do I.

Lesson 19

Do you see the boys play?

Yes, I see them; there are five of them.

Tom is not so fast.

Dan can run and catch him.

I like to play too.

Lesson 20

Sue has a doll and a pet bird. Her doll has a new dress and a cap. Sue loves Mary, and will let her hold the doll.

The pet bird lives in a cage. Sue and Mary will stand by the cage, and the bird will sing.

There are birds in the tree by the pond. Can you see them?

Yes; there are five of them in a nest.

Tom will not rob a bird's nest. He is too kind to do so.

Lesson 21

What bird is this? It is an owl.

What big eyes it has!

Yes, but it cannot see well by day.

The owl can see best at night.

Dan Pond has a pet owl.

Lesson 22

The day is hot.

The cows are in the shade of the big tree.

They feed on the new grass.

Our cows do not run off.

At night they come to the barn.

Lesson 23

The sun will soon set.

The cows are on their way to the barn.

One old cow has a bell on her neck.

She sees our dog, but she will not run.

Our dog is kind to the cows.

Lesson 24

The ship has run into a rock.

Five men are on the ship.

If the boat cannot get to them,

they will drown.

The boat has brave men in it.

They will save the five men.

Lesson 25

What bird has big eyes? The owl. Can an owl see at night? Yes, an owl can see best at night.

Come, boys, and feed the cows. The sun has set, and they are in the barn.

One hot day Anna, Sue, and Emma sat on the grass in the shade of a big tree. They like to rock their dolls and sing to them. Sue has a bell on the neck of her pet cat.

The brave men in our boat are on their way to the ship. They will save the men in the ship, if they can. They will not let them drown.

Lesson 26

The boys are on the ice with their skates.

There is a stone on the ice.

One boy did not see it and has had a fall.

But he is a brave boy and will not cry.

Lesson 27

Look! There are John and Sue by the pond.

They like to go there and see the big, round wheel on the mill.

They have come to play on the logs and in the boat.

John and Sue will play here all day.

Lesson 28

Here are some girls with skates,

but they are not on the ice.

Their skates roll on the floor.

Which way do you like to skate –

on the ice, or on the floor?

The girl with the new black

dress is Jane Bell.

Lesson 29

Look out for the train cars!

Look how fast they go!

No horse can be as fast as the train.

I will not try to catch the train cars. I would fall and get hurt.

See the horse look at the train?

Will he run?

Lesson 30

There is ice on the pond, so the mill wheel cannot go round.

The boys are all out on the ice with their skates.

I will let you and Tom try to skate, but do not fall, or you will get hurt.

The girls are not on the pond; but some of them have skates which roll on the floor.

Look! Here come the train cars.

John and Dan try to skate as fast as the train cars go, but they cannot, and John has had a fall.

Lesson 31

Ned and John are hard at work. John has a saw, and Ned has an ax. They will try to cut all of the wood which you see in the pile.

Do you think they can do this in one day?

Lesson 32

Two girls have gone out for a walk.
It is May, and the air is cool. They hear the birds sing in the trees, and they hear the noise of the frogs in the pond.
They see men at work and boys at play.

Lesson 33

Betsy has a cart and two goats. She likes to ride in her cart. See how the goats pull!
Betsy is so big; I think she should walk up the hill.
The goats love Betsy, for she feeds them, and is kind to them.

Lesson 34

This house is on fire. Look! the roof is in a blaze.
Run, boys, and ring the bell. Call some men to put out the fire.
We may yet save the house, if we work hard.

Lesson 35

Betsy, do you hear a noise?
Yes, Tom; what is it?
It is the mill by our house; logs are cut there.
How do they cut the logs, Tom, with an ax?
Not with an ax, Betsy, the work is too hard; they cut them with a saw.
Can we go and see the mill at work, Tom?
Yes, I think so. The air is cool, and we can walk in the shade. We should go soon, Betsy, or the pile of wood will be gone.
Our two goats and the cart are here, Tom; we can ride to the mill. It is not up hill, and the goats can pull us fast.

Lesson 36

The girls and boys all love Miss May; she is so kind to them.

Miss May tells them there is a rule that she wants them to keep. It is, "Do to each one as you would like each one to do to you."

This is a good rule, and all boys and girls should keep it.

Lesson 37

What kind of house is this? Do you think it is a schoolhouse or a church?

It looks like a church, but I think it is a schoolhouse.

I see the boys and girls with their good books and slates.

When the bell rings, each child will go into the school.

Lesson 38

"John! Come here. Be quick, and tell me what kind of bird this is."

"Do you not know, Henry?"

"Oh, no! What is it?"

"It is a quail."

"It is the first quail I have seen. Is it good to eat?"

"Yes, but I would not like to kill it."

Lesson 39

Is not this a dear baby in the crib? Her name is Kate, and she has big, blue eyes. You cannot see her eyes, for they are shut.

Kate is a good baby, but she will cry if she is hurt or if she is not well.

Betsy likes to sit near the baby and to rock her in the crib.

Lesson 40

Henry Black and Ned Bell live near our house. They go to school, and I see them go by each day with their books and slates.

Miss May tells the girls and boys that they should be at the schoolhouse when the bell rings. So Henry walks fast, and is first at school. He is a good boy and wants to keep the rule of the school.

Ned is not the best child. I do not think he likes to go to school or to church.

I saw him try to kill a quail with a stone. The quail is too quick a bird for that, and Ned did not hurt it; but I know that a good child would not try to kill a bird.

Lesson 41

The tall house which you see on that high rock is a lighthouse. At night its light is seen far out at sea, and the men on ships can tell where to go.

If it were not for this, they would run into the rocks.

How would you like to live in a light¬house?

Lesson 42

Let us watch the sheep as they feed on the hills. They like to eat the new grass.

Do you see my two lambs? I had two more; but an old wolf took them one night.

I love my pet lambs. It would be wrong to hurt them.

Lesson 43

The boys have made a big snow man. They have put a tall hat on his head, and an old pipe in his mouth.

Hear them laugh as they play! It is good fun for the boys. The girl would like to play and have fun too, but she has to work.

They would like to have it snow all day and all night.

Lesson 44

"Buzz! buzz!" a bee said to Mary.

"What do you mean?" said Mary. "Please tell me once more."

"Buzz! buzz! buzz!" but Mary could not tell its wants.

I think it said, "Please let me get some sweets in this vine."

Lesson 45

One day Ned and I sat on the high hill by the sea, where the tall lighthouse stands. We could look far out and could see the ships at sea.

As we sat there, we saw a man nearby, with some sheep and lambs. The man had a pipe in his mouth. He sat with us, and let the sheep eat the grass.

What fun it is to see the lambs play! It made us laugh to see them.

The man said that once, when the sheep and lambs were out in the snow, an old wolf took one of the lambs, and ran off with it.

I think that men should watch their sheep, so that a wolf cannot catch them.

Lesson 46

Work while you work,
Play while you play,
One thing each time,
That is the way.

All that you do,
Do with your might,
Things done by halves,
Are not done right.

Lesson 47

One day John went to the pond to fish. His dog, Watch, went with him.

John sat on a log for a time, but did not catch a fish. As he got up to go, he fell off the log.

Watch sprang in to save him. John put his arms round the dog's neck, and was soon safe on the log once more.

"Thank you, my brave old dog," said John to Watch.

Lesson 48

James has been to the mill. The day is warm, and he lets his horse stand in the shade.

A girl asks him to show her the way to the town. He tells her the way, and then drives on.

Lesson 49

I love my dear cat,
Her fur is so warm;
And, if I don't hurt her,
She'll do me no harm.

I'll pat my dear cat,
And then she will purr,
And show me her thanks
For my kind deeds to her.

Lesson 50

It is the first of May. The boys and girls have gone to the woods to have a good time. See them at their play.

The girls have wreaths in their hands. Now they will crown someone Queen of the May. Who shall it be?

It should be the best girl, and that is Kate.

Lesson 51

Do you see that tall tree? Long ago it sprang up from a small nut.

Do you know who made it do so?

It was God, my child. God made the world and all things in it. He made the sun to light the day, and the moon to shine at night.

God shows that he loves us by all that he has done for us. Should we not then love him?

Lesson 52

When the stars, at set of sun,
Watch you from on high;
When the light of morn has come,
Think the Lord is nigh.

All you do, and all you say,
He can see and hear;
When you work and when you play,
Think the Lord is near.

All your joys and griefs he knows,
Sees each smile and tear;
When to him you tell your woes,
Know the Lord will hear.