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as the result of my experience at home, that there is much unnecessary trouble, occasioned, in almost every school because this single point-the perfect instruction in every lesson on the first perusal is not attended to, as it ought to be. It is here the visitor, the exactor studiorum, has to ply bis utmost vigilance. His school will be as much superior, or inferior, to other schools, as the master does or does not, in the first instance, and first learning of every lesson, see that not a letter or a word, or a task is passed over without being familiar to the scholar; taking especial care that this rule is observed in the alphabet and monosyllables; and that the due number of lessons learnt and perfectly said every day, are marked and registered. When I could have this done to my mind, I have found that it makes such a difference, as will hardly be believed, in the progress and comfort of the scholar. Indeed when this is not done, the immediate object of education-perfect instruction-is not attained.
Let it be well understood, that no severe task is hereby imposed on either master or scholar; nothing required of the one or the other, but what is easy of execution; nothing but to consult for the ease, comfort, and profit of the one and the other. For though it be required that a lesson be well learned and said every quarter of an hour, yet it is left to the discretion of the teacher, under the master's instructions, to make each lesson so short, that it may easily be learnt in the given time, and if not, it is desired that it be revised, and even shortened if need be. All that is ordered (an order which on no account ought ever to be dispensed with, and yet is oftener than any other neglected) is, that no lesson imperfectly said be ever passed over.
It may serve to impress the master with a just sense of the importance of what has been recommended, if he will reflect, that if he have perfectly instructed his scholar in these twelve leaves, which is best done one by one
every difficulty in acquiring the art of reading, is conquered.
It is not in this stage, and seldom perhaps in any other (except for recreation) necessary for the child to go to his seat, in order to get his lesson, as by spending the time allowed him to get it, in saying it to his teacher, he will learn it more effectually. The learning of them in their seats, cannot be so much depended upon, when the school is not in perfect order (and even when it is) for diligence and earnestness: and, as for recreation, every task is rendered a play: at least the class need only go to their seats once in five or six lessons.
When a new scholar, who has made some progress, comes to school, he begins with the sand-board or lowest class, and works his way up, so as to find his level. When a school is new modelled on the Madras System, or a fresh class begin their monosyllabic spelling book, each scholar in the class may at first be made to repeat the lesson, at one and the same time. Also, a fresh class, which has made some progress in other schools, may be initiated into the new mode of saying lessons, by each of the scholars reading in the alphabet or monosyllables, with which they are acquainted, a short lesson; in which case, thirty and even sixty lessons have been said in an hour.
Observe that, from this time forward- from the time the scholar has finished his monosyllabic spelling book, there is no more previous spelling, in which so much time is wasted, except indeed the scholar meets with a syllable, which, after all has been done, puzzles him, when he resolves that syllable, and that only, into letters by previous spelling, to enable him to read it.
It should be a constant rule, to make the scholar read the number of the pages, verses, or chapters, as if it were the first word of the page, &c. By never passing a verse, or chapter, or lesson, or page, without reading and learning its number, he is taught by degrees, and almost insensibly, to turn to any place in his book.
At the end of the first book, are the stops and points, &c. used in reading; and here, if not before, they are to be taught to the scholar, so that he can write all of them in sand, and tell them in any book. If taught, like all else, at once in a perfect manner, it will render unnecessary the time spent in some schools, in counting the length of the pauses aloud- -a practice which should not be continued, more than a few days. The scholar need only be taught to pause the due length of time, and mark the tone and stretch of voice for each. If he errs, he is called upon to name the stop, and if he cannot tell it, he is sent to the sand-board anew to refresh his memory.
The scholar, having finished his first book, and being able to read any monosyllable on book, with or without previous spelling, has overcome every difficulty in the art of reading. His future progress will reward his past labours.
Hitherto, the scholar's play has consisted in the competition with his equals. In the acquisition of the elements of his future studies, his daily tasks had nothing to recommend them, but the end to which they were directed. But having now acquired a new art, his subsequent books should combine amusement with instruction.
Such is or should be the National Society's Book, No. 2, composed of lessons in monosyllables. This book is to be read in the usual way, or by sentences, and with due attention to the stops, and to the just practice in the art, which the scholar has acquired. If the first book has been taught, as it ought (and if it has not, the child should return to it, which will now disgust both master and scholar: seeing how badly matters have been before managed, and that they must now tread back, after much loss of time, their steps, and do with pain, and with the increased difficulty of bad habits, what at first could have been done with comparative ease and satisfaction), not the least diffi
culty can occur from any of the words in this book, for they have been already perfectly learnt, or other words resembling them, and far more difficult. Still, however, in the beginning, let a very short lesson be given, and let every child learn to read the first sentence, in the manner he is to read ever afterwards; slowly, distinctly, and audibly, pronouncing aloud the last letters of every word, and the last word of every sentence, and making the just pause at every stop. This book is soon mastered, if the lessons be duly apportioned to the scholar's proficiency.
Each scholar reads at first a very small portion in succession, till the teacher says, next, or points to any particular boy to proceed. The scholar, who happens to read the last part of the lesson, begins it again, and thus they go on till the teacher says, shut books. When the hardest words are spelt off book. Then the next lesson is read over by the scholars, that the teacher may duly apportion its length: and they are then called upon to tell, where the lesson begins and ends, and which are the hardest words in it. They now go to their seats to Jearn it but much more frequently (where there is room in the school, for each class) say it immediately, first telling the page where the lesson is found, and where the lesson begins and ends, and then proceeding as before.
It is an error most common in reading, when the scholar meets with a hard word, to repeat over and over again the easy words, which stand before it, till he can. stumble upon the difficult word. This should never be allowed; but the eye of the scholar should be confined to the single word which puzzles him, by being prevented from reading any other till it be read. If he disobeys this rule, let the next scholar correct him, and take his place the best mode of punishing and correcting every error.
Having revised this book till he is perfectly master of it, he then proceeds to the third book, composed of words of more than one syllable.
of Words of more than one Syllable-Syllabic and other Reading.
Having now done with words of one syllable, we proceed to words of more than one syllable.
The scholar, who is master of monosyllables, has conquered every difficulty in the art of reading, and has laid the solid foundation of his future studies. For, by means of syllabic reading, the Madras school converts, as it were, all other words, however long, into monosyllables.
As spelling monosyllables on book, consists in resolving a syllable, into the letters of which it is composed, in order to reunite and combine their separate sounds, into a single articulation; so syllabic reading consists in resolving a word of more than one syllable, into the syllables of which it is composed, to prepare for their future reunion.
The National Society's (syllabic) Book, No. 3, which the scholar has now to take in hand, is constructed on the same principle with the common spelling book, but in a small compass, adapted to the perfect instruction of the new school, which renders long examples, and long books unnecessary. It consists, or is to consist, of syllabic lessons in dissyllables, or words of two sylla bles, followed by reading lessons, of words of not more than two syllables, then in trisyllables, or words of three syllables, with reading lessons, of words of not more than three syllables, and lastly in polysyllables, or words of more than three syllables.
In the syllabic lessons, the words are read, in the first instance, syllable by syllable, as if they were monosyllables, thus, pre-sent; re-pre-sent; mis-re pre-sent; misre-pre-sen-ted; mis-re-pre-sen-ta-ti-on, pausing an instant between each syllable, and double that time between each word.
The scholar, who has been perfectly instructed in the monosyllables, can be at no loss in regard to the syllables, which enter into the composition of longer words,