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General Directions.

themselves, but that they should also understand their meaning and use in connection with other words. For this purpose, they should often be required, after giving the definition of a word, to embody it in a short sentence. Even this exercise falls short of the highest end of intellectual reading. Pupils should often be called on to explain the import of phrases, and sentences, and even of whole paragraphs.* Explanations and illustrations should also be added by the teacher; but let it ever be borne in mind, that an explanation drawn from the scholar is of far more value to him than the same explanation furnished by others.

While examples are constantly occurring in which pupils do not read “with the understanding,” there is also an opposite fault that is equally to be shunned. Some teachers seem to suppose that the principal object of a school exercise in reading, is to understand the meaning of the piece read. This is a mis

a take. The principal object is to read the piece so as to express that meaning. The sense of the piece must be studied then, not in this case as an end, but as a means to enable the pupil to execute the read

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* “From the moment that a child knows the powers of the letters, and readily associates with the written form the pronunciation which it represents, his attention should be directed to the ideas. His progress in the art of reading should be regulated by his intellectual progress. The power of reading different words should not anticipate his power of understanding them. The habit, early acquired, of associating the ideas with their written signs, will secure his acquisition of the art of reading, and make it a delightful occupation." -Marcel.

Reading.

ing successfully. This being the case, it is obviously a great fault to spend half or three-fourths of the hour allotted to a reading lesson, in discussing the meaning of words and the general sense of the pas

sages read.

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While a class is engaged in reading, it should receive the undivided attention of the teacher. If the teacher is necessarily called away, by all means suspend the exercise. It is far better to omit a lesson altogether, than to leave the pupils to read by themselves.

The voice of the teacher should be frequently heard in every reading exercise, as an example for the scholars to imitate. It is by imitation that children learn to talk, and their skill and accuracy in reading will depend mainly upon the character of the models which are brought before them. A child may make a dozen trials in reading a sentence, and not only fail every time, but read it worse and worse, if he does not hear it read correctly by the teacher or by some member of the class.

The use of capitals and italics, marks of punctuation, quotation points, and all other marks employed in the reading lessons, should be learned as fast as examples present themselves.

Teachers should be particularly on their guard against adopting unsatisfactory modes of teaching this important branch, and allowing them to be confirmed into habit. In conducting classes over the same ground from term to term, and from year to year, some teachers lose their interest in the exer

General Directions.

cise, and fall unconsciously below their own previous standard. A good method must be secured by effort and retained by effort. Effort relaxed always leads to retrogression.

§ 2. Spelling.In conducting oral exercises in spelling, pupils should pronounce each word distinctly before spelling it, and they should never be allowed to try twice on a word.* Whenever a pupil misses a word, let him afterward be required to spell it correctly. This may be done as soon as the correction is made in the class, or deferred till the close of the recitation.

In giving out the words to a class, teachers sometimes commit the error of departing from the ordi. nary pronunciation, for the sake of indicating the orthography. Thus in the word variance, the vowel in the second syllable is given very distinctly as long i, to show that the letter is i and not e. The words should in all cases be pronounced exactly as they are pronounced by a correct reader.+

As pupils are constantly liable to misunderstand the pronunciation of words, it is a very useful practice, in all written exercises, to call on some pupil in the class to repronounce each word distinctly, as soon as it is pronounced by the teacher.

*“One trial is better than a score of guesses, both to decide whether the pupil has mastered the lesson, and to insure its study in future.”B. G. Northrop, Agent Massachusetts Board of Education.

† “An undue emphasis, or prolongation of the utterancu of a syllable, may enable the scholar to spell the word as pronounced, but will never make him an expert speller of words as properly spoken.”- Northend.

Spelling

Special attention should be given to syllabication, in connection with both written and oral spelling. In oral spelling, pupils should syllabicate in all cases, as in the following example: a-m am, p-l-i pli, ampli, fy fy, amplify. In written spelling, it may not be necessary to syllabicate at every recitation; but in a portion of the exercises, even in written spelling, pupils should be required to divide the syllables, and failures should be marked as errors. *

Teachers should bear constantly in mind, that unless habits of correct spelling are formed early, there is very little probability that they will ever be acquired.

However thorough the drill in spelling may be, from the lessons of the speller and reader, every teacher should have frequent and copious exercises in spelling words from other sources. These should be words in common use, chosen as far as possible from the range of the pupil's observation, including the new words that arise in object lessons, and in geography, arithmetic, grammar, etc. The more difficult of these words should be written in columns on the blackboard, and studied and reviewed with the same care as lessons from the speller and reader. Failures in spelling these words should be marked with errors, the same as failures in any other lessons.

Teachers should put forth their best efforts, especially in primary classes, to secure the attention of

*“If this division of words into their proper syllables is to be learned by itself, it will be found an enormous labor; but if learned while spelling, it will hardly add any thing to that task.”- Mann.

General Directions.

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the pupils, and render the lessons as interesting as possible. Occasional exercises in “choosing sides," when properly conducted, may be made highly useful. The exercise of “spelling down” a class may also be resorted to occasionally with good effect.

If a teacher. finds at any time, while conducting an oral exercise in spelling, that a portion of his class are becoming listless, he can easily recall their attention by the following simple measure: The whole class pronounce distinctly the word given by che teacher, as notation; then one scholar says n; the next o; the next pronounces the syllable nw;

0 the next says t; the next a; the next ta; the next nota; the next t; the next i; the next 0; the next n; the next tion; then the whole class pronounce the word notation.

Another useful method is to read a sentence of reasonable length, and require the members of a class to spell the words in order; the first scholar spelling the first word, the next scholar the second, and so on to the end. *

$ 3. Writing.Writing should be taught as a simultaneous class exercise, all the members of the class attending to the same thing at the same time.t

In conducting exercises in writing, teachers should

* For other directions respecting exercises in spelling, both written and oral, teachers are referred to Northend's Teacher's As sistant.

† The advantages of this system of teaching, over that in which different pupils of a class are allowed to write from different copies or in different books, at the same time, have been fully demon: strated in the schools of Boston, Chicago, and nther cities

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