Imágenes de páginas

matically to represent it? Suppose that when the teacher had written the form "error" upon the board she had elicited from the class in addition to "two r's and o-r" such sentences as:


Mary made an error in her addition yesterday," and "Galileo was not in error when he declared that the earth moved," would she not have helped her pupils to make that association between the idea and its symbol which must exist before spelling can be of any use?

Repetition and drill are necessary — emphatically so― but they should be preceded by intelligence and interest. Teachers would often be astounded at the results obtained should they put their pupils to the test of using in original sentences the words they spell so glibly. Not until each word in the column has been correctly used can a teacher be assured that the child. has added it to his vocabulary.

After interest in a word has been aroused, the child's mind must be concentrated upon the peculiarity of its spelling and appealed to through all possible avenues - the eye, the ear, and the hand. So clear and strong should be the image formed that it becomes individual, even personal. For this reason, words included in this book have not been classified after the "ace, mace, lace" fashion, but have been purposely distributed so that each new word invites to fresh attack. There is no less authority for this mode of procedure than Dr. William T. Harris, who says that spelling lists "should be arranged so as not to bring together a number of words of the same combination, and thereby paralyze the memory, as is too frequently the case in the lists given in spelling books which, for example, collect in one lesson the words ending in tion, or tain, or ture, or cious, etc., thus giving the pupil by the first word that is spelled a key to all that follow." In the first grade, however, there is a list of words containing the fundamental phonograms, for ear training.

[ocr errors]

Homophones have been introduced separately in order that the meaning of each word may be firmly associated with its spelling before any confusion arises in the child's mind over the similarity in sound. Later, such homophones as the child may actually misuse, such as there, their; know, no; etc., are presented in pairs for contrast.

Spelling is learned primarily through the eye, secondarily through the ear. For this reason, the words in this book have not been syllabicated. The visual and stronger image of the word thus appears as a unit to the child. Later by analyzing for himself the auditory image into its constituent elements, the child becomes more completely the master of the word than he otherwise would be.

From grade to grade are repeated certain words which are particularly difficult for children to master, such as: which, their, coming, separate, until, necessary, possible; and it is hoped that if the child meets them over and over again, on some occasion he will learn them.

The child is offered in the pages of this book a most carefully chosen and graded vocabulary. His limited yet constantly increasing power of comprehension and the responsibility of shaping his thoughts determined the selection. The graded quotations from standard authors serve the child in a multitude of ways. They teach him spelling more effectively than do words studied in columns, and they give him vocabulary and style. To know, even in the slightest way, Æsop, Carlyle, Dickens, Ruskin, Browning, and Tennyson, will dignify all life for him. These exercises were selected directly, however, for their practical use tò the child in spelling; for instance, Merivale's description of Julius Cæsar on page 185 contains sixty of the most necessary words in the language words that are in the vocabulary of every educated man and woman, but which the child would not voluntarily use.

The exercises in construction are designed to correlate still further, interest in the word with drill upon its spelling. It is certainly desirable for a child to associate "modest demeanor," self-control," and "august presence" with Washington; "patience," "sympathy," and "endurance" with Lincoln; and the time to fix the spelling of these words is while they are fresh with interest. The custom of observing the progress of the natural year has been utilized. For instance, the "Sleigh Ride" on page 39 with the "Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle" of Poe's "silver bells" will afford opportunity for impressing the spelling of sleigh, merrily, and nipping upon these little third-grade people.

The model letters by Hans Andersen, Phillips Brooks, Matthew Arnold, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Woodrow Wilson, together with several exercises in business and social correspondence, give distinct practice in letter-writing, the only form of composition employed by the average adult.

It is neither possible nor desirable in the short years of a child's school life to teach him to spell all the words in the language. But it is possible to give him the spelling of common words, and what is even more valuable, a 'spelling conscience" that will send him to the dictionary when he is in doubt.



The spelling book is usually considered the driest and most mechanical of the text-books, whereas, rightly constructed and used, it will become a source of highest culture; mastering the words of his mother-tongue, the child masters the thought of the race. To teach children to appreciate words and to discriminate between them should be a matter of conscience with teachers; for such appreciation insures not only a respect for correct form in spelling, but makes for character. "A man's power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so to utter it," says Emerson, "depends upon the simplicity of his

character, that is upon his love of truth and desire to communicate it without loss."

Acknowledgment is due for permission to use extracts from the writings of James Russell Lowell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alice Cary, John Townsend Trowbridge, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, Frank Dempster Sherman, and Louise de la Ramée to Houghton, Mifflin & Co.; of Helen Hunt Jackson, from "Poems" and "Glimpses of Three Coasts," to Little, Brown & Co.; of Henry van Dyke, from "Little Rivers," of Robert Louis Stevenson, from "Across the Plains," "Virginibus Puerisque," and "A Child's Garden of Verses," of George W. Cable, from "The Cable Story Book," of Eugene Field, from "The Eugene Field Book," and of Frank Stockton, from "Fanciful Tales," to Charles Scribner's Sons; of Hans Christian Andersen to Dodd, Mead & Co.; of Jane Andrews, from "Seven Little Sisters," and "Each and All" to Ginn & Co.; of Bliss Carman to Small, Maynard & Co.; of George William Curtis, from "Prue and I," to Harper & Bros. ; of Joaquin Miller, from "Complete Poetical Works," to the Whitaker and Ray Co.; of William Cullen Bryant, from "Complete Poetical Works," to D. Appleton & Co.; of Phillips Brooks, from "Letters of Travel," to Mr. William G. Brooks; of Matthew Arnold to The Macmillan Co.; of Rudyard Kipling to the author.

G. A.


THE purpose of teaching children to spell is to give them tools whereby they may express their thoughts in writing. The steps in attaining this purpose are (a) the oral and written spelling of detached words, (b) the writing of words in sentences and paragraphs dictated by the teacher, (c) the writing of words in original sentences in formal composition. The effort demanded of the child increases markedly in moving from the first stage to the last.


1. Make the lessons short, lively, and interesting. In the primary grades four or five new words, and in the grammar grades seven or eight, are usually all that can be mastered in one lesson, and are all that are necessary; for in the course of seven years, the child will acquire, by this means alone, a vocabulary of over eight thousand words. It is to be remembered that the child will learn incidentally many words from his reading; and also that in learning the spelling of one word, he is learning the spelling of all words containing the same phonograms.

2. Constantly and persistently review.

3. Have pupils discuss the meaning of each word, and illustrate it in sentences relating to their work in geography, history, literature, current events, etc. The words in the book have been grouped so as to lend themselves to use in connected discourse see page 25, last column, group VIII, A new broom sweeps clean; page 123, last group, England is especially fortu


« AnteriorContinuar »