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board, or in a book, a word, a simple, a very simple word. Let it be the name of some object which is perfectly familiar to them, as, cat, dog, horse, bird, cup. Show them the object itself, or the picture or representation of the object. Ask them whether they know what the object is, or what the picture is, or represents. Then show them the name, saying at the same time, This is its name; this is what it is called. Speak the name several times, and let them speak it after you. Call their attention particularly to the form of the word as well as to the manner of pronouncing it. Take for instance the word cat. You show them the animal, or the picture of the animal. Ask them whether they know what it is. They will say, it is a cat.' You will say that is right.' Pointing to the name, you will say, · Here is the name, -cat,-cat,-cat,'—repeating it several times, and requiring them to repeat it after you. Show them the picture, and let them say cat, cat, cat; and then show them the word, and let them say cat, cat, cat; thus alternating, first with the picture and then with the name.
Then take another example, as pin. Show the picture, or when you can do it, the object itself, and let them say pin, pin, pin; then point to the word or the card, board, or in the book, and let them say pin, pin, pin. And then take both pin and cat together, and let them look at them and repeat cat, pin, pin, cat, until they are perfectly familiar with the object or its picture, and the name. Finally, take the name without the picture. This would be quite sufficient for one lesson; perhaps too much. At the next lesson, review the first lesson; and at each successive lesson, review the preceding in a reversed order, and with every possible varia
tion. Combine with these one or two more names, and the corresponding object or picture, and so on; presenting at each successive lesson, additional objects or pictures with their names; combining all together, and frequently reviewing. Let the lessons be very brief, and the words all single words and names of familiar things. Question the little learners much about the object. Tell them simple stories or facts about the same. Endeavor to say something that will interest them, and make a deep impression on their minds, and constitute the groundwork of a powerful association and aid to memory. How long you shall continue this course, presenting objects or pictures with their names, must be left to your discretion. It will depend upon the age, character and progress of your pupils.
When you have made them, in this way, so familiar with the names of the objects with which they are acquainted, that they can at sight immediately speak the name, you may carry them on to simple sentences, composed chiefly of the words which they have been learning. I say chiefly of the words they have been learning; for the connective words and articles, such as and, to, the, for, but,-—I would teach them only as combined with other words in sentences; or at least I would depend on this method mainly.
Let the sentences be short as well as simple, and perfectly level to the comprehension of children. And when they utter single words, as well as when they read sentences, see that their pronunciation is distinct and cor
This is a matter of importance. Let the organs be rightly trained, and the pronunciation correct from the beginning. This is much better than first to learn wrong,
then unlearn, and then learn right. It will make all the future work of the teacher comparatively easy. But a mistake in the outset will be fruitful of difficulty in all subsequent training.
In reading sentences, be careful that the pupils do not acquire a drawling, hesitating, or stammering manner; or a nasal twanging tone. Let them be perfectly familiar with every word of which the sentence is composed, before you allow them to read it aloud. And when they read, let it be done in their natural, common tone. Let it be as though they were telling it, or talking it over to you without the book. Read it yourself to them several times; and let each one in the class read the same sentence in succession. But be sure that they are not repeating from memory or by rote, what they seem to be reading.
I have said, let them be perfectly familiar with the words of which a sentence is composed, before you allow them to read it aloud. This is an important point; the neglect of which is a principal cause of the very faulty reading and bad habits so common in the young classes in our schools. The pupils are put to reading words, combined in sentences, with the form and meaning of which, they are not familiar. They know not the meaning of the words they utter, and therefore, cannot so utter them, as to express any meaning,—or express any clearly and forcibly to others. They do not read intelligently, and therefore, they cannot read intelligibly. Reading is not speaking, or talking, exactly. When we speak, the thought suggests the word; when we read, the word suggests the thought. And, if we would express the thought with clearness and force,-if we would read well, the word must be so familiar to us,
as instantly to call up the thought at sight. Consequently, when children read sentences made up of words which they do not understand, their reading wants character, significancy, expression, life. Again, when children read words with which they are not familiar, their whole minds are occupied, their entire energies are expended, in finding out the words; that is, in determining what to call them. They can bestow no attention on the meaning. How is it possible, then, that they should read well? It would be a mere accident, if a person should read correctly in a language, the words of which he could pronounce, but of the meaning of which he knows nothing. And further, when children read sentences made up of words which are not familiar to them, they will either continue the sound of the first word until they have ascertained what the second is to be called, and of the second, until they know what the third is, and so on, which is drawling; or they will utter one word, come to a dead pause, and then, after a perceptible interval, utter another, and so on; which is a broken, hesitating manner, exceedingly faulty and unpleasant. The former method may be thus represented, in reading the simple sentence: This is a nice fan: T-h-i
si-s,n-i-c-e- -fan. The last word is spoken short, without drawling, because it is the last; there is none to follow, none to find out. The second method thus:-This- -is
* The notation in the text may indicate what I mean; but the faults can be fully shown only by the living voice.
The fault of drawling is often increased by the teacher's injudiciously hurrying a pupil, who is attempting to read words which he cannot readily call. He cannot call the next word, and so he continues instinctively to dwell upon that which he has just uttered. Drawling and disagreeable monotonous tones are, at first acquired in this way, and continued in after life from the power of habit. Nothing is more common than drawling and disagreeable monotonies in our schools; especially in the classes of young readers. And yet, obvious as is the cause, it seems not to have occurred to the notice of teachers generally. Let them select for their pupils short and easy sentences,—sentences easily understood, and with the words of which their pupils are familiar; let them read these over several times in the right manner to the class, and there will be neither drawling nor monotony. The reading will be easy and proper; as nearly resembling the conversational tone as the nature of the case will admit. Children and others are often told to read naturally, to read as they talk. The direction with some modification, is good. But there is, I conceive, a difference between written composition and ordinary conversational language, which is incompatible with a strict observance of the rule. Sentences constructed after the manner of written composition are not introduced into conversational language; and if they were, we should not utter them with precisely the same tone and inflection which are usually adopted in ordinary conversation. I mean, a difference of style in construction, requires a different style of utterance, expression, or delivery.
It has been thought by some, that pictures tend to divert the attention of the reader from the word, and thus