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DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, to wit:
DISTRICT CLERK'S OFFICE BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the twenty-eighth day of August, 4. D. 1827, in the fifty-second year of the Independence of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Ansel Phelps, of the said district, has deposited in this office the title of a Book' the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, to wit :
“Secondary Lessons, or the Improved Reader; intended as a sequel to the Franklin Primer, by a Friend of Youth.
I would rather speak five words with my understanding, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.'-PAUL."
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned ;' and also to an act entitled “An act supplementary to an act, entitled, an act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints."
JOHN W. DAVIS,
Lyman Thurston & Co.
NEARLY two thousand years ago it was remarked, and the observation is frequently repeated, that ' among all the arts there is a common bind;' such a connexion, that an acquaintance with vne, facilitates an acquaintance with every other. The author of this little work goes farther, and is ready to maintain that all the sciences and arts are so identica in their nature and circumstances, that with a few slight diversities, all are to be taught and practised in the same manner ; that the same method, which is required in Arithmetic, Geometry, or Architecture, for instance, is not only practicable, but indispensable ir teaching the art of reading.
The wise builder first lays his foundation, then erects the frame, which he encloses with rough boards, on which he lays the shingles and clapboards, superadding everything useful and ornamental, which comes within his design. After this, he proceels by a similar process to finish the interior of the building. For all these things he provides materials in the order, in which they are wanted,
and never encumbers the ground with anything superfluous or unseasonable. The arithmetician, too, has his fundamental rules, which must be taught, before anything else can be done with effect. He does not put multiplication before addition, nor division before subtraction. Still less would he begin with proportion, or the extraction of roots. In like manner the geometrician, after defining a few things relative to points, lines, angles, and the simplest angular figures,
proceeds to lay down his self-evident propositions, and to prove from them a series of other propositions, rele ative to those lines and figures ; after which he does the same in relation to another figure, and so on till he has gone through the whole system of geometrical science; constantly rising step by step, from the simpler to the more difficult, from things which are known, to those which were unknown. Let the same method be adopted and pursued in teaching the art of reading, and a happy change may be seen in the intellectual charac ter of the young ; a change, of which very few have an adequate conception.
The first elements of reading, if anything is to be learned from the analogy of other arts, consist of those words, and of those alone, which are familiar to the ears, the tongues, and the understandings of children, before they are old enough to use a book. These com mon words are like the foundation of the builder, oi the first principles of the logician, or the geometrical reasoner. They are like the seed of the husbandman, which, if sown, will produce a greater quantity of seed for a second harvest, and that again for a third, and so on by a perpetual increase. From every other artist we should learn, that these common words are in the first place to be made familiar to the eyes of the learner, so that he may readily read them in composition. After this, they should be employed as means of acquainting him with the signification of other words, while he is learning the orthography and pronunciation of them. To require a child in the commencement of his studies, and before he reads a single sentence, to acquaint himself with the orthography and pronunciation of the whole language, or even to spell and pronounce four or five thousand words, scraped together, as they commonly are, without regard to his understanding or his wants, appears injudicious, if not un feeling and cruel ; just as wise as it would be for an architect to spend a great part of his time and treasure in raising a monstrous pile of stones, and logs, and boards, and brush, as the foundation of his building. If a common spelling-book is ever to be used, it is not, I think,
to be either the first or the second book, that is put into the hands of a child.
It is the opinion of some, who have speculated much on the subject, and who are entitled to great respect, that reading should commence with the pronunciation of sentences, while spelling is made a subsequent busi
That this theory is incomparably better than that, which has come down from our fathers, and which has hitherto controlled our practice, there is perhaps no reasonable doubt. But till it is proved by thorough experiments, the author must be allowed to believe that there is an intermediate course far better than either. For him it is hard to conceive, how the child is to arrive at such a ready distinction of one word from another, as even tolerable reading must require, without meeting and surmounting the principal labors and difficulties of spelling. To distinguish cat from rat, for instance, he must observe the diversity of the letters C and r in the two words : to distinguish eat from ate, he must observe the different arrangements of the letters; that is, he must spell mentally, if he does not do it orally. Beside, it is too evident from experience, that it is a very tedious thing even for those, who have an ordinary degree of acquaintance with the orthography of words, to read their first exercises in composition; and that those who have read volumes and libraries, without first learning to spell, are generally bad spellers and bad readers through the whole of their lives, however much they may excel in information, or natural understanding.
The exercises in this book, however, will perhaps be found equally well adapted to the views of those, who would have the sentences read before the words are spelled, and of those, who prefer the opposite method; and the author is perfectly willing both experiments should be made, though he is satisfied that orthography should in general, if not always, precede sentential reading. In either case, it is hoped, the book will not be laid aside, till the learner is able to spell every word it cou tains. For the convenience of pupils and teachers points are prefixed to such words, as require most at
tention, in a line with the tops of the shorter letters These words it may be well to have read in syllables, before the sentences are read, and afterward spelled with closed books.
A formal treatise on pronunciation, or any scheme of notation for the different sounds of letters, appears to be unseasonable in the first, or second book in the course of education. Doubtless it is a matter of great mportance, that the child should acquire and fix in his mind a correct pronunciation of words, as fast as he has occasion to use them. But this may be most readily learned from the voice of the teacher; who, if not thoroughly acquainted with this branch of instruction, should have a dictionary always before him, to which he may look, as a guide in guiding others. If it be thought, this would require the same words to be often pronounced in order to fix the pronunciation in the mind of the child, it may be observed, that the task will be greatly facilitated by the obvious signification of the words, which are already familiar to the ear, and by the analogous sounds of letters, which will be in some measure perceived by the pupil, long before he is capable of comprehending the whole system.
Similar observations might be made on punctuation. It may be well indeed to teach the young child something relative to the principal stops and marks ; viz, the comma, semicolon, period, and notes of interrogation and admiration; to exercise him in distinguishing one from another, and to fix it in his mind that he is to pause longer at a period than at a semicolon, and longer at a semicolon than at a comma; and this, which is better learned from the teacher than from a book, iş perhaps all that can be effected by precept in the early stages of education. To go on at that time, and treat of brackets, and carets, and sections, and asterisks, and indexes, is idle and ridiculous; and to lay down such rules, as are often prescribed for rising or falling at the conima, semicolon, period, and interrogation, is a thou. sand times worse than idle. Let the child be previously acquainted with the visible forms and the meaning of the words, and let the sentences be well constructed,