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the morrow go over the same process. As soon as the pupil can read tolerably well begin to drill him in spelling, not however by his uttering the sounds with his lips, but by his writing them on a slate. If he cannot write, wait until he can write. Meanwhile go on with the reading lessons. After some considerable time is past and skill gained, you may allow your pupil to use his organs of speech in what is called spelling the words, though as spelling prepares for writing not reading, do not hasten to this exercise, especially as the spelling-aloud process is painfully in contradiction with the reading process. Only pursue the course now indicated, with kindness and patience, and your success will be rapid as well as great.
The method I recommend I know by my own experience to be effectual. By this method children have had the doors of knowledge thrown open to them easily and pleasantly, who have proved good teachers in their turn, not without the accompaniment of some literary and social distinction.
Without difficulty may the method be applied to the teaching of large numbers. There is much virtue in the “Black Board.” With a good “Black Board” or a very large slate, a skilful and pains-taking teacher could instruct one hundred or one thousand almost as readily as ten or two. Special aid might he obtain could he call to his aid not merely his own voice in its ordinary tones, but musical sounds that is tones, chords and movements, and so gain the additional advantage coming from the pleasurable excitement of the concurring voices (and hearts) of all the members of his class.
Throughout the First Part I have added to the Lessons remarks, explanations, and questions, intended to assist the teacher in the duty of impressing on the mind of the pupil what he reads by the force of repetition, as well as the other duty of aiding the pupil to acquire clear and definite ideas every step he sets.
These aids may be of service at least in the instances in which the teacher is little advanced beyond the scholar. I am desirous also that they should be taken as a series of suggestions in regard to the general manner in which the remaining pages of the volume ought to be studied.
The learner is expected to be taught first to read the exercises and then to give answers to the questions they contain. In going through the book for the first time, the requirements as to spelling should all be omitted. In a second perusal every word should be spelt-first in writing, and not till afterwards by word of mouth. As soon as he has acquired the requisite skill the scholar should be trained to mark and recognise diversities of sound in connection with the same letters, and diversities of letters in connection with the same sound. With this view he should, with his own hand, make out lists of words the same in sound but different in spelling, and the same in spelling but different in sound. Lists ready made to the scholar's hand are of small value. True self-culture demands constant self-teaching. The pupil should be aided to aid himself in every pursuit in life, but pre-eminently in study. Nor can it ever be too early to open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears, by a process of mental discipline which doing much to unite the teacher and the learner in the same person carries in itself the seeds of true, deep, and growing power.
In cases when the Manual is used as a Primer for children, it may be well for the teacher to begin with Part II., or to
elect here and there such portions, or such passages, as, in their nature, are most fitted to interest young minds. When this is done exercises should be formed by the instructor after the manner of those given in our earlier pages, uniting the principles of repetition, gradual advancement and constant explanation. Necessary as are the two former, the last is of supreme importance. Never should any word, sentence, allusion, place or event be allowed to pass before it is exactly and fully understood. Never is a word in itself a mere sound, never should a word be a mere sound to a child. Here is another and valid reason for condemning most spelling books, for what do they but present columns after columns of mere sound. As every sound represents a word, so every word represents a thing. What in each case that thing is, children from their earliest days should be taught to enquire and ascertain. It ought to be a fundamental principle that no book should be allowed or used, which does not practically recognise that words without their several senses are so much lumber in the mind; and that no teacher should be accepted, who does not make it his constant aim to form his scholars to the important habit of penetrating through the sound to the sense, so that they may constantly see in the sign not so much the sign itself as the thing signified.