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as they are in general short and easy, except in the monosyllabic root of derivatives, which root, the scholar has already learnt in his first book. Even, indeed, if he had to disunite the syllables of a word, and read them, as if they were separate monosyllables, it were an easy task; and it is rendered still easier by their being already disunited in the (spelling, or) syllabic books.
How unnecessarily tedious, then, is the common mode of reading words of more than one syllable by previous spelling, which can serve no purpose, but to waste time, and, as if this were not enough, there is added the tiresome practice of reiterating every syllable, thus, m-i-s, mis; r-e, re, misre; p-r-e, pre, misrepre; s-e-n, sen, inisrepresen; t-a, ta, misrepresenta; t-i, ti, misrepresentati; o-n, on, misrepresentation. Here are no less than 51 separate articulations, whereas, by syllabic reading, seven suffice, thus, mis-re-pre sen-ta-ti-on. The loss of time being, in a greater proportion, than that of seven to one. What more need be said of the state of that art, which so unprofitably wastes so many hours?
Having read perfectly after this manner (by syllables) a table of the syllabic lessons, the scholar is fully prepared to combine the syllables of which a word is composed, and to pronounce them together, and so to read the same lessons word by word.
And when he can read distinctly, and accurately, a table of syllabic lessons word by word, he proceeds to the annexed reading lessons, which these progressive practices enable him to read with precision. The rule now, is to read slowly, audibly, and distinctly, pronouncing aloud the last syllable of every word, and the last word of every sentence.
Such are the methods, by which the successive lessons of this third book are read. It is the contrivance of the Madras tuition, that every step of its progress not only prepares for, but actually anticipates, as it were, the following step.
As before in reading monosyllables, so now in syllabic
reading, if puzzled with any syllable, the scholar resolves that syllable, and that only into letters; also, in reading, either word by word, or by sentences, if he be puzzled with a word, he resolves that word, and that only, into the syllables of which it is composed, thus, po-ly-syl-la-ble; Ne-bu-chad-nez-zer; Je-ho-sha-phat.
Throughout the syllabic lessons, whether reading syllabically, or word by word, the scholars read each a single word by turns, from the first word, to the last in the lesson, and from the last to the first, going on without interruption or speaking (if no mistake be made) till the teacher says, shut books; and in the reading lessons, they read small portions, by turns, beginning the lesson anew as often as it is finished, till the teacher says, shut books; when they spell off book, as will be explained in the next chapter.
By such methods, the scholar is now sufficiently qualified to read, and to study the books fitted as well for practice in the art he has now acquired, as for his instruction in morality and religion, and his Christian duties.
The first books put into his hands for these purposes are, Our Saviour's Sermon on the Mount--Parables -Miracles-Discourses-and History; Ostervald's Abridgement of the Bible, and the Chief Truths of Religion; and then, or before, the Psalter, with the Morning and Evening Service, which, at first, suffices for a Prayer-book. After these, come the Testament, Prayer-book, and Bible, &c.
The rule ever is to read slowly, audibly, and distinctly, pronouncing aloud the last syllable of every word, and the last word of every sentence.
Of unreiterated Spelling.
The same attention, which has been found to simplify and facilitate every step in the process of reading, is observed in abbreviating the barbarous, and wearisome
process of spelling, as it has been heretofore practised. Having before entirely abolished the previous spelling of words of more than one syllable, and by consequence the useless reiteration, with which it was accompanied, and which consists solely in repeating what the scholar has just before shewn that he knew and need not to repeat, so now in spelling off book the same useless repetitions are laid aside.
At the end of every lesson read, each class is required to spell off book those words, and those only with which they can be supposed not to be familiar. But this is not done in the common tedious mode, calculated to waste the time of both master and scholar: but by an abbreviation, similar to that which has been before explained in syllabic reading. Not thus, m-i-smis,—r-e—re,—misre,—p-r-e—pre,-misrepre,-s-e-n -sen, misrepresen, -t a-ta,-misrepresenta,-t-iti, misrepresentati,—o-n-on,--misrepresentation; but briefly thus, m-i-s-r-e-p r-e-s-e-n-t-a-t-i—o-n ; in the one case 102 letters are repeated, in the other only 17, or 6 for 1.
To be more particular: the scholar is desired to spell a word; for example, faith." He repeats the word after you in the first instance, and before he spells it, to ascertain that he does not mistake it, which otherwise often happens; but he does not repeat it after he has spelt it, as it never happens, that having spelt the word, he fails in pronouncing it. So far nothing is gained by this inversion of the common practice but precision. The teacher says "faith;" the scholar repeats "faith," and spells "f-a-i-t-h," pausing an instant between each letter, for the sake of distinctness. It is when the scholar comes to spell words of more syllables than one that this precision turns to account. While he reads syllabically, he is also asked syllabically to spell his word, thus, faith-ful-ness, which he repeats, faith ful-ness, and then spells, f-a-i-t-h-f-u-l-n-e-ss, pausing an instant between each letter, and double that time at the end of
each syllable, but without repeating the syllables as he goes along, or the word after he has done; neither of which serve any other purpose than to create delay, and impede his progress. After he is expert in this mode of spelling, or comes to read by sentences, the word is asked in the common way, "faithfulness;" but he always repeats by syllables, "faith-ful-ness," and spells as before.
It is only words which have not occurred frequently, or that may be supposed not to be well remembered, that the scholar is required to spell. Of such the number diminishes daily. After a little progress, one or two of the hardest words in a lesson will suffice, as the rest will have been learnt and known before.
The manner of hearing a class spell will serve to give a general idea of the mode of examining them in their tasks, whether in reading, or morality, or religion.
The teacher selecting always the most difficult word in the lesson which has been read, requires one of the class to spell it. If the mistake of a letter is made by the scholar in spelling, the boy next in order, who corrects him, must only name the single letter, where the mistake was committed, and then he takes his place; the same boy (the former) repeats that letter and goes on spelling the rest of the word, subject to the same correction as before, from the boys below him; and he must spell his word over and over again, if necessary, till he make no mistake: then all, who have risen above him, have each a word in his turn, so that, if a complete round were made, as many words would be spelt, as there are scholars in the class, each spelling a word. In the same way in the syllabic book, each boy in a class reads a word by rotation, subject to the same correction, and taking of place, by the boys below; and when they have advanced further, they read by small portious, till the teacher says, "Next."
By teaching the scholar to spell off book every word, as he goes along, with which he is supposed unac
quainted, he will learn not only to spell well and accurately, but also to read more distinctly, and far sooner, than when the same pains in spelli g off book are not taken in the beginning. The attention paid to these elementary and initiatory practices, will be amply repaid by the facility and despatch with which it will forward and crown the subsequent processes.
In the common careless and hasty mode of reading he may be thought to go over twice the ground at first setting out; but it is in a wrong road, which he must either retrace, or wander wide of his object in a by-path which grows every day more and more intricate, and more and more fatiguing; while the traveller, on the high road, finds comfortable stages to refresh and recruit; gains fresh strength every day, and advances with redoubled speed to the end of his journey.
Morality and Religion.
"Neglectis urenda filix innascitur agris."
It is almost unnecessary to repeat, that all the facilities of the system apply as well to the first principles of moral and religious instruction, as to the rudiments of reading and spelling, writing, and arithmetic. As the alphabet is taught letter by letter,,&c. and the arithmetical tables are learnt by small portions, &c. so the same division of labour, and short and frequent stages, and perfect knowledge of every lesson, are observed in this most important branch of instruction, to which what goes before should be chiefly subservient. This division of labour, or short and frequent stages, I inculcate so often, because it is much neglected in the inferior order of schools; and is the hinge on which many questions, put to me on this subject, have turned.
From the period of the child's entering the school, even although he does not know his letters, not a day is to pass without his being taught to repeat perfectly a small portion of those prayers, graces, &c., which he is