Imatges de pàgina

it to liis playfellow a year younger than himself, and in his broken language tells him there was “an O, an 0." And wben the other asked him where, be said, “In a hole, in a hole," and showed it him; which the lesser child then took such notice of, as to know it again ever after from all the other letters. And thus by playing with the box, and inquiring concerning any letter that appeared strange to bim what it was, the child learned all the letters of the alphabet in eleven days, being in this ABC character, and would take pleasure to show them in any book to any of his acquaintance that came next. By this instance you may see what a propensity there is in nature betimes to learning, could but the teachers apply themselves to their young scholars' tenuity; and how by proceeding in a clear and facile method that all may apprehend, every one may benefit more or less by degrees. According to these contrivances to forward children, I have published a New Primer; in the first leaf whereof I have set the Roman capitals, (because that character is now most in use, and those letters the most easy to be learned,) and have joined therewith the pictures or images of some things whose names begin with that letter, by which a child's memory may be helped to remember how to call bis letters, as A for an ape, B for a bear, &c. This hieroglyphical device doth so affect children, (who are generally forward to communicate what they know,) that I have observed them to teach others, that could not so readily learn, to know all the letters in a few hours' space, by asking them what A stands for? and so concerning other letters backward and forward, or as they best liked.

Thus when a child hath got the names of his letters, and their several shapes withal in a playing manner, he may be easily taught to distinguish them in the following leaf, which containeth first the greater and then the small Roman characters, to be learned by five at once or more, as the child is able to remember them; other characters I would have forborne till one be well acquainted with these, because so much variety at the first doth but amaze young wits, and our English characters (for the most part) are very obscure, and more hard to be imprinted in the memory. And thus much for learning to know letters; we shall next (and according to order in teaching) proceed to an easy way of distinct spelling

III.- How to teach a child to spell distinctly.

The common way of teaching a child to spell is, after he knows the letters in his alphabet, to initiate him in those few syllables, which consist of one vowei before a consonant, as ab, eb, ib, ob, ub, &c., or of one vowel after a consonant, as ba, be, bi, bo, bu, &c., in the hornbook, and thence to proceed with him by

little and little to the bottom of the book, hearing him twice or thrice over till . he can say his lesson, and then putting him to a new one.

In which course I have known some more apt children to have profited pretty well, but scarce one of ten, when they have gone through the book, to be able to spell a word that is not in it. And some have been certain years daily ex. ercised saying lessons therein, who, after much endeavor spent, have been se counted mere blockheads, and rejected altogether as incapable to learn any thing; whereas, some teachers that have assayed a more familiar way, have professed that they have not met with any such thing as a dunce amid a great multitude of little scholars.

Indeed, it is Tully's observation of old, and Erasmus' assertion of later years, that it is as natural for a child to learn, as it is for a beast to go, a bird to fly, or A fish to swim, and I verily believe it; for the nature of man is restlessly desirous to know things, and were discouragements taken out of the way, and meet help afforded young learners, they would doubtless go on with a great deal more cheerfulness, and make more proficiency at their books than usually they do. And could the master have the discretion to make their lessons familiar to them, children would as much delight in being busied about them, as in any other sport, if too long continuance at them might not make them tedious.

Amongst those that have gone a readier way to reading, I shall only mention Mr. Roo and Mr. Robinson, the latter of whom I have known to have taught little children not much above four years old to read distinctly in the Bible, in six weeks' time or under; their books are to be had in print, but every one hath not the art to use them. And Mr. Coote's English Schoolmaster seems rather to be fitted for one that is a master indeed than for a scholar.

Besides the way then which is usual, you may (if you think good) make use of that which I have set down in the New Primer to help little ones to spell readily, and it is this:

1. Let a child be well acquainted with his vowels, and made to pronounce them fully by themselves, because they are able to make a perfect sound alone.

2. Teach him to give the true value or force of the consonants, and to take notice how imperfectly they sound, except a yowel be joined with them. Both these are set apart by themselves.

3. Proceed to syllables made of one consonant set before a vowel, (section 5,) and let him join the true force of the consonant with the perfect sound of the vowel, as to say bay be, big bo, bre, &c. Yet it were good to leave ca, ce, ci, co, ct, and ga, ge, gi, go, gl, to the last, because the value of the consonant in the second and third syllables doth differ from that in the rest.

4. Then exercise him in syllables made of one vowel set before one consonant, (section 6,) as to say ab, eb, ib, ob, ub, &c., till he can spell any syllable of two letters backward or forward, as ba, be, bi, bo, bu; ab, eb, ib, ob, ub; ba, ab; be, eb; bi, ib; bo, ob; bu, ub; and so in all the rest, comparing one with another.

5. And if to any one of these syllables you add a letter, and teach him how to join it in sound with the rest, you will make him more ready in spelling; as if before ab you put b, and teach him to say bab; if after ba you put d, and let him pronounce it bad, he will quickly be able to join a letter with any of the rest, as nip, pin, but, tub, &c.

To inure your young scholar to any, even the hardest syllable, in an easy way,

1. Practice him in the joining of consonants that begin syllables (section 7) so that he may give their joint forces at once; thus

Having showed him to sound bl or br together, make him pronounce them, and a vowel with them, bla, bra, ble, bre, and so in any of the rest.

2. Then practice him likewise in consonants that end syllables, (section 8;) make him first to give the force of the joined consonants, and then to put the vowels before them; as ble with the vowels before them sound able, eble, ible, oble, uble, to all of which you may prefix other consonants and change them into words of one syllable, as fable, peble, bible, noble, bubble, with a b inserted or the like. Where observe that e in the end of many syllables, being silent, doth qualify the sound of the foregoing vowel, so as to make words different füom

those that have not e; as you may see made differeth quite from mad, bete from bet, pipe from pip, sope from sop, and cube from cub. Whereby I think them in an error that leave out e in the end of words, and them that in pronouncing it make two syllables of one, in stable, bible, people, &c., wbich judicious Mr. Mulcaster will not allow.

In this exercise of spelling you may do well sometimes to make all the young beginners stand together, and pose them one by one in all sorts of syllables, till they be perfect in any; and to make them delight therein,

1. Let them spell many syllables together which differ only in one letter, as and, band, hand, land, sand.

2. Teach them to frame any word of one syllable, by joining any of the consobants which go before vowels, with those that are used to follow vowels, and putting in vowels betwixt them, as black, block; clack, clock.

And this they may do afterward amongst themselves, having several loose letters made and given them to compose or divide in a sporting manner, which I may rightly term the letter sport.

When a child bas become expert in joining consonants with the vowels, then take him to the diphthongs, (section 9,) and there

1. Teach him the natural force of a diphthong, (wbich consists of two towels joined together,) and make him sound it distinctly by itself, as ai, ei, &c.

2. Let bim see how it is joined with other letters, and learn to give its pronunciation with them, minding him how the same diphthong differs from itselt sometimes in its sound, and which of the two vowels in it bath the greatest power in pronunciation, as in people, e seemeth to drown the o.

And besides those words in the book, you may add others of your own, till by many examples the child doth well apprehend your meaning, so that he can boldly adventure to imitate you, and practice himself.

Thus after a child is thoroughly exercised in the true sounding of the vowels and consonants together, let him proceed to the spelling of words, first of one syllable, (section 10,) then of two, (section 11,) then of three, (section 12,) then of four, (section 13.) in all of which let him be taught how to utter every syllable by itself truly and fully, and be sure to speak out the last. But in words of more syllables, let him learn and part them according to these profitable rules:

1. An English syllable may sometimes consist of eight letters, but never of more, as strength.

2. In words that have many syllables, the consonant between two vowels belongeth to the latter of them, as hu-mi-li-tie.

3. Consonants which are joined in the beginning of words are not to be parted in the middle of them, as my-ste-ry.

4. Consonants which are not joined in the beginning of words are to be parted in the middle of them, as for-get-ful-ness.

5. If a consonant be doubled in the middle of a word, the first belongs to the foregoing syllable, and the latter to the following, as pos-ses-si-on.

6. In compound words, every part which belongeth to the single words must be set by itself, as in-a-bi-li-ty.

And these rules have I here set down to inform the less skillful teacher how he is to guide his learner, than to puzzle a child about them, who is not yet so well able to comprehend them.

I have also divided those words in the book, to let children see how they ought to divide other polysyllable words, in which they must always be very careful (as I said) to sound out the last syllable very fully.

To enable a child the better to pronounce any word he meets withal in reading, I have set down some, more hard for pronunciation, (section 14,) in often reading over which he may be exercised to help his utterance; and the master . may add more at his own discretion, till he see that his willing scholar doth not stick in spelling any, be it never so hard.

And that the child may not be amused with any thing in his book when he cometh to read, I would have him made acquainted with the pauses, (section 15,) with the figures, (section 16,) numeral letters, (section 17,) quotations (section 18) and abbreviations, (section 19,) which being but a work of a few hours' space, may easily be performed after he can readily spell, which when he can do, he may profitably be put to reading, but not before; for I observed it a great defect in some of Mr. Robinson's scholars, (whose way was to teach to read presently without any spelling at all,) that when they were at a loss about a word, they made an imperfect confused sound in giving the force of the consonants, which if they once missed, they knew not which way to help themselves to find what the word was; whereas, if after a child know his letters, he be taught to gather them into just syllables, and by the joining of syllables together to frame a word, (which as it is the most ancient, so certainly it is the most natural method of teaching,) he will soon be able, if he stick at any word in reading, by the naming of its letters and pronouncing of its syllables, to say what it is, and then he may boldly venture to read without spelling at all, touching the gaining of a habit whereof I shall proceed to say somewhat in the next chapter.

IV.-How a child may be taught to read any English book perfectly.

The ordinary way to teach children to read is, after they have got some knowledge of their letters, and a smattering of some syllables and words in the lornbook, to turn them into the A B C or Primer, and therein to make them Dame the letters and spell the words, till by often use they can pronounce (at least) the shortest words at the first sight.

This method takes with those of prompter wits; but many of more slow capacities, not finding any thing to affect and so make them heed what they learn, go on remissly from lesson to lesson, and are not much more able to read when they have ended their book than when they begun it. Besides, the A B C being now (I may say) generally thrown aside, and the ordinary Primer not printed, and the very fundamentals of Christian religion (which were wont to be contained in those books, and were commonly taught children at home by heart before they went to school) with sundry people (almost in all places) slighted, the matter which is taught in most books now in use is not so familiar to them, and therefore not so easy for children to learn.

But to hold still to the sure foundation, I have caused the Lord's Prayer, (section 20,) the Creed, (section 21,) and the Ten Commandments (section 23) to be printed in the Roman character, that a child having learned already to know his letters and how to spell, may also be initiated to read by them, which he will do the more cheerfully if he be also instructed at home to say them by heart.

As he reads these, I would have a child name what words ne can at first sight, and what he can not, to spell them, and to take notice what pauses and numbers are in his lesson, and to go over them often, till he can tell any tittle in them, either in or without the book.

When he is thus well entered in the Roman character, I would bave him · made acquainted with the rest of the characters now in use, (section 23,) which

will be easily done by comparing one with another, and reading over those sentences, psalms, thanksgivings, and prayers (which are printed in greater and less characters of sundry sorts) till he have them pretty well by heart.

Thus having all things which concern reading English made familiar to him, he may attain to a perfect habit of it, 1, by reading The Single Psalter; 2. The Psalms in Meter; 3. The School of Good Manners, or such other like easy books which may both profit and delight him. All of which I would wish he may read over at least thrice, to make the matter as well as the words leave an impression upon his mind. If any where he stick at any word (as seeming too hard) let him mark it with a pin, or the dint of his nail, and by looking upon it again he will remember it.

When he can read any whit readily, let him begin the Bible and read over the book of Genesis (and other remarkable histories in other places of Scripture which are most likely to delight him) by a chapter at a time; but acquaint him a little with the matter beforehand, for that will entice bim to read it, and make him more observant of what he reads. After he hath read, ask him such gen. eral questions out of the story as are most easy for him to answer, and he will the better remember it. I have known some, that by hiring a child to read two or three chapters a day, and to get so many verses of it by heart, have made them admirable proficients, and that betimes, in the Scriptures, which was Timothy's excellency and his grandmother's great commendation. Let him now take liberty to exercise himself in any English book (so the matter of it be but honest) till he can perfectly read in any place of a book that is offered him; and when he can do this, I adjudge him fit to enter into a grammar school but not before.

For thus learning to read English perfectly, I allow two or three years' time, so that at seven or eight years of age a child may begin Latin.

V.- Wherein children, for whom the Latin tongue is thought to be unnecessary, are to be employed after they can read English well.

It is a fond conceit of many that have either not attained, or by their own negligence have utterly lost the use of the Latin tongue, to think it altogether unnecessary for such children to learn it as are intended for trades, or to be kept as drudges at home, or employed about husbandry. For first, there are few children but (in their playing years, and before they can be capable of any serious employment in the meanest calling that is) may be so far grounded in the Latin as to find that little smattering they have of it to be of singular use to them, both for the understanding of the English authors (which abound now-adays with borrowed words) and the holding of discourse with a sort of men that delight to flaunt it in Latin.

Secondly, Besides I have heard it spoken to the great commendation of some countries where care is had for the well education of children, that every peasant (almost) is able to discourse with a stranger in the Latin tongue; and why

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