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Most towns in New England had several schools by the early 19th century. Residents paid taxes to support these schools and to pay teachers. Families were expected, however, to provide the textbooks and other items such as slates, ink, pens and paper. A teacher would instruct a student only in those subjects for which they had books. The local store carried books and other necessary school supplies. Most scholars began with a simple speller or reader. Such books were often passed down by older brothers or sisters who had advanced beyond them. John Pierpont's "The Young Reader" is typical of readers from this period. Most of the lessons and stories contain a moral, and most revolve around a plot that points out the differences between right and wrong.