As an inducement to secure the reading of the selected publications, a certificate was offered to each person who read all the books for any year and reports the fact to the county secretary of the O.T.R.C. When four certificates had been received the reader was entitled to a diploma, and for each additional year of reading, a seal was added to the diploma. Teachers, could earn teaching credits for reading the books recommended for the Teachers’ Reading Course and receive a diploma from the OTRC that stood for professional work done.
The 1896 Ohio Pupils’ Reading Course certificate donated to the Wayne County Historical Society by Billy N. Williams, shows that Mary Mougey completed reading all the publications on the pupils’ list:
Enoch Arden by Alfred Tennyson
The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith
The Traveler – No information found for this title.
The Cotter’s Saturday Night by Robert Burns
Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
L’Allegro and il Penserosopoetry by John Milton
Reply to Hayne speech by Daniel Webster
Barefoot Boy a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier
Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Silas Marner by George Eliot
The majority of these old publications can be read online (click the title’s link above) or downloaded to a mobile device for free, thanks to large scale digitization projects like Google Books, Internet Archive Open Library, and Gutenberg.org
Perhaps you can start your own circa 1896 reading circle from the list above. Enjoy!