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descriptive of incident and emotion, is what children like best, and therefore read best.
“The importance of accustoming children to put into their own words, the simpler the better, the substance of the passage read cannot be too strongly insisted on; in this way they are encouraged to think while they read.”—MR. YARDE.
MR. BARRIE and MR. MACLEOD report in the same sense.
“Children must have a pattern to imitate. They can copy a written word, or sing a bar of music, after the example set by the teacher ; let them hear a suitable example in reading, and they will succeed as surely as they do in penmanship or singing."-MR. WILSON.
“ The most fertile cause of failure in reading, especially in the lower standards, is the not training a child to discover words for himself. In such cases where a word is not known it is simply told by the teacher, or called out from below by a fellow-scholar, and then mechanically repeated by the child; and this repetition is often omitted. An unknown word is a complete block up, at which the child stands and gazes, waiting till it is called from below or told by the teacher, which the presence of the examiner prevents from being done.
"The only effective teaching of reading is that which enables a child to conquer his own difficulties himself, puts him in possession of a power at once to attack and discover an unknown word. . . . Six words so self-discovered will give more reading power than six weeks of repetition.
“A child (in Standard I.) ought to know at sight the chief syllables in the language, and be able to recognize and know them at once . . . and to attack a new long word by syllables, not by letters, only spelling where the syllable is unknown.
“ One cause of the indistinctness is reading with too great rapidity. Rapidity and fluency seem to be confounded. Another cause is the indistinct style of speaking in schools." MR. JOLLY.
“ There is a very prevalent opinion that any one can give a
reading lesson, and it is often assumed that no preparation for it is necessary. This is especially the case with girls, and the result is that many a young teacher's one great object in the lesson is to conceal her own ignorance. She has never attempted to enter into the difficulties likely to occur, she cannot without preparation frame suitable questions, or give her class clear explanations; and becoming conscious of her deficiencies, she dares not encourage the children to ask questions. Any unfortunate child of an inquiring disposition is promptly snubbed."-MR. HARRISON.
“The best cure for weakness in spelling is more reading." -MR. EDWARDS.
“Spelling is, I think, the hardest subject to teach. Teachers complain more of this than of any other part of their work.”—MR. JARMAN.
“Dictation depends very much upon the reading. Where reading is intelligent, the dictation is generally very good; where there is more or less lack of intelligence, mistakes will certainly occur. Some teachers seem sadly afraid of giving out more than one, or two, or three words at a time, and divide the passage so strangely that it is no wonder the children make mistakes. In some schools, too, evidence is not wanting that fewer mistakes would be the rule, if due care were bestowed upon the subsequent examination of the exercise. If the teacher's eyes are not sharp enough, mistakes will be overlooked, and the exercise will do the children little or no good.”—MR. FOSSELL.
“Good spelling is no doubt much more difficult of attainment than good results in any of the other elementary subjects, seeing that it depends in a great measure upon the . child's power of observation; the word must be impressed upon the rather than
and this can best be
done by both reading and writing much. In the lower Standards transcribing from the reading-books will be found one of the best means of familiarizing the scholar with the forms of words. Attention should be directed during the reading lesson, to all words exhibiting any peculiarity of form, and these should also be written out on the blackboard. The dictation lesson ought to be regarded rather as a means of testing than of teaching spelling; still its utility is not to be despised, provided it is preceded by careful preparation of the piece to be written, and followed by thorough correction of all mistakes. In spite of all that has been written to the contrary, the old practice of making children commit lists of words to memory, was, I venture to think, in many respects a good on as far it went, and one that is now too much despised and neglected; the spelling-book might still do good service as furnishing suitable material for home lessons." MR. VERTUE.
WRITING. (STANDARD 1.)
The character of the Writing in a school is generally an index of the presence or absence of neatness, precision, and order. This is especially the case with the copybooks.
Writing is the easiest of all school subjects to learn and teach; but, as a rule, the least taught. Even the dullest child may be taught to write well, as it is mostly a question of imitation, if the subject be at all properly taught; but a good foundation must be laid at a very early date; and carelessness or untidiness must be rigorously excluded at this and at later stages.
Very frequently children come up from the Infant School writing large, bold, well-shaped letters and words; and from too much practice with slate-writing for spelling purposes, the writing becomes worse month by month in Standard I. The “scribbling” habit thus formed becomes exceedingly difficult to eradicate afterwards.
In writing the ear is no longer appealed to as in reading; but the eye and “muscular sense ” of the fingers are depended on.
It is assumed here that the elements have been properly taught in the Infant School; but constant reference must be made to them throughout the year's work. The reader is, therefore, urgently advised to study the “Remarks on Writing" in Part I.
Every writing lesson in Standard I. should be accompanied by frequent use of the blackboard.
The slates should be ruled all to one pattern, and that as large as half-text; the pencils should be sharp and long. Nothing should be allowed to be rubbed out for correction.
The requirements for good writing generally are the following:
(1) Fluency.—That is, the writing should have sweep and breadth, rounded curves, full, flowing, and bold. This is specially to be attended to in Girls' Schools, and by female teachers, who generally make letters too flat-backed and straight. The latter fault makes the writing cramped, too much being crammed into a line.
(2) Legibility. This is secured by bold round curves, referred to in (1), the n, m, u, and i not being angular or pointed.
(3) Freedom and Rapidity.--As a rule, children in Standard I. (and throughout school life), write too quickly, and hence write ill; but the opposite fault of slow, overlaboured writing must be avoided, as writing is a practical, and not merely an ornamental, art.
(4) Well-shaped and Regular.-This requirement is partly comprehended in (1), but in addition(a) The Junctions, or joining of the letters together,
should be neatly and uniformly effected. (6) The Slope should be uniform, and not very
great. (C) The Thickness should be uniform in the straight
lines of h, k, p, and gradually increasing and diminishing towards, and from, the middle of the curves of a, c, e, and f, and parts of h, k, m, n, o, p, q, S, V, 2,