Page images

(1) To understand what he is reading;
(2) To be kept apprehensive and nimble-witted;

(3) To be made cultured and refined, within the limits of his powers, to appreciate humour, pathos, surprise, love, and other emotions.

The accuracy of sight will be largely secured by the teacher's use of the blackboard; the child at this stage translating script into printed symbols, and vice versa, without difficulty.

In order to acquire trained accuracy of ear, the teacher will have to set a good example of

(1) Clear enunciation ;
(2) Correct pronunciation ;
(3) Pure rendering of the vowel sounds ;

(4) Sharp, distinct utterance of consonants, especially of final consonants.

To this end simultaneous reaning should be largely made use of at first, after the teacher; but this must always be subsidiary to individual reading. The greatest fault of reading in general is the too great amount of simultaneous reading, behind which an inefficient, or idle teacher, screens his incapacity, or want of energy.

Moreover, the teacher should make a study of the use of the different parts of the organs of speech, and of the prevailing provincial faults of utterance of the district. He should know, for instance, that the different sounds of the Alphabet may be divided as below:






b, v.

g, j.

d, z, s.


1, m, n, r.

P, f.

q, k, c, ch.

t, 8, x.


[blocks in formation]

He should also write down in his note-book, or in an interleaved page of this Manual, the provincial false vocalization of his own district.

Thus in some parts of England the ā is sounded as e ; the ē as ā, etc.; in others little is called likkle, etc., etc. The great difficulty here is that the


teacher's own ear is generally at fault; he has been brought up in this wrong-doing. In this matter he must cheerfully and

willingly copy the purer utterance of the Head Teacher.

The teaching of Spelling should be properly associated with that of Reading, the difficult words being underlined in blue pencil by the teacher in his own copy of the reading-book, and written on the blackboard previously to the reading lesson proper, for learning and transcription by the class. These should be again noted in the reading, but so as not to interrupt too much the current of thought from the reading matter. The words should be broken up into syllables ; sometimes according to the etymology, but generally according to the phonetic character of the word. Thus “coming ” should be divided into “com-ing,in order to isolate the present participle ending; on the other hand," writing "should be divided thus," wri-ting," to mark the sound of the long i.

In thus learning to spell, two mental bonds are made use of

(1) The visual; and (2) The auditory.

In addition, verbal memory is fixed by muscular effort, either of the muscles of the organs of speech, or of those



of the fingers employed in writing out the words on slates. The teacher should not fail to call attention to the Form and Structure of the hard words as they are being read, nor to ask for the spelling of the word without the book. Anything which concentrates the attention, leads to success in learning. The same end is secured by letting the class pick out the hardest words for transcription.

Children of the working classes generally spell book words better than the names of things in the experience of their daily life but seldom mentioned in books. This should be provided for by lists of names of things in the street, etc.

READING METHODS. The various methods of teaching to read have been dealt with at some length in Part I. At this stage it will be generally found, that the method used by nearly all teachers is an unconsciously Combined Method. It will only be necessary, therefore, to summarize the methods of teaching to read for Examination rather than for any other more practical purposes.

THE LOOK-AND-SAY.-Since twenty-five per cent. of all the words of the English language are of irregular formation, to this extent every method of teaching to read must be purely Look-and-Say. This method generally ignores Spelling: in some cases, however, teachers teach the spelling of the more difficult words in the upper classes. The word is regarded as a whole, as in adult reading, and is fixed into the consciousness of the learner, by visual and auditory repetition. This is the method generally adopted, therefore, in classes above the Infant School. As a rule, there is too much of the “Say” of the teacher in it, and too little of the “Look” of the child, as proved by the unreadiness of the learner when tested in a book not before seen by him. The child ought always to be taught, and left,

[ocr errors]


to make an individual effort of his own to decipher the unknown word, and only helped when unable to accomplish this. The pernicious habit of guessing should be stringently checked.

THE ALPHABETIC.-In this method the letters are synthetically built up into syllables and words. When this has been long done the most common combinations and uses of letters are unconsciously acquired by practice; but the difficulties of the alphabet are ignored; and the children have to learn more by faith than by sight. As this method fixes the attention closely on the individual letters of words, it greatly assists the Spelling, and that is the most that can be said for it.

With unskilled teachers it is a favourite method; and this partly because it requires less power of analysis than the Phonic.

The PAONIC methods are various; but the common principle underlying all of them, is the association of the visual signs of the letters with the sounds or uses, rather than with their mere names; and the grouping together of combinations representing single sounds, as if they were single letters. Such compounds are regarded like the

Compound Radicals” of Chemistry ; thus ph, ow, final ng, etc., are regarded as simple elementary sounds. This is very elaborately carried out in the Robinson's Phonic method, but the Home and Colonial Phonic is more analytic. In Robinson's the word mat would be synthetically built up

of the sounds m, a, t (under the names of their sounds); but in the Home and Colonial mat would be given as a whole, and the uses or powers of m, a, t, would be deduced from this. Or the syllable at would be first given and then compounded with the initial m, h, p, r, etc. The difficulty here, as in all reading methods, is with the words of irregular formation, with silent letters, etc., high, though, etc.

THE PHONETIC.—This is a Phonic method, with different type to represent the various sounds required. The objection to it is the use of additional signs to make up the forty sounds used in ordinary speech and reading; these having to be afterwards dropped when the children have acquired a sufficient vocabulary to enable them to read from ordinary script or print.

This difficulty is met in the Phonic method by the use of diacritical marks over or under the ordinary signs (letters); but the type for even these has to be specially cast for the purpose. The Phonetic method also uses a different spelling from that in ordinary use, as Fonetik for Phonetic; and this frequently obscures the etymology or derivation of the word. Thus the initial ph generally marks a Greek origin of the word; but this is unseen in

the f.

THE COMBINED METHOD.—There are nearly as many combined methods of teaching to read, as there are individual teachers. Each forms, unconsciously in most instances, a combined method of his or her own. Thus the irregular words are taught on the purely Look-and-Say method, except that Spelling is resorted to for purely spelling purposes. Again, the Alphabetic method is incorporated, but it should be mostly used for the regular words or syllables only.

Messrs. Dalby and Isbister have published Primers and Reading Sheets which have furnished the most complete Combination Method yet published. This is, however, disfigured with too copious lists of words out of their organic connection, that is, outside of their uses as part of intelligible sentences.

« PreviousContinue »