Many American history books refer to "The New England Primer," a textbook first introduced in Boston in 1690. Early Americans learned to read using this book and the Bible. Some estimate the annual sales at 20,000 copies. Total sales over a hundred and fifty years probably topped 3 million copies. This work helped produce a high level of literate, self-governed citizens who valued liberty and righteousness. This book includes "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," "The Lord's Prayer," "The Ten Commandments," a rhyming alphabet, a Bible alphabet, two catechisms, Bible questions, a dialogue between Christ, the youth and the devil, and the advice John Rogers gave his nine children before he was martyred for Christ. The text offers instruction in right living with simple sentences like: "Fear God. Tell no lies. Speak the truth." The book has been expanded with nine easy to read stories made up of ninety-nine of the most frequently used words in English.
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