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A good pronunciation is far more important than orthography, for even an adult speaks daily twenty times as much as he writes; but both are necessary, and by using proper methods can be acquired without much difficulty. The object then of this book is, as before intimated, the rapid acquirement of the art of Reading with a clear and correct pronunciation, without especial regard being had to the ulterior process of writing words on paper.

Children properly taught should speak well at three years of age; and, by means of very short daily lessons, ought to acquire the alphabet and learn regular words of one, two and three syllables by five years of age. At about five they may begin with the Pronouncing Reading Book, and may read it through twice or thrice in the next year, and at the same time have their first lessons in writing. At six a more advanced Reading Book printed in ordinary unmarked type may be used, and along with that spelling may be taught by writing short extracts from the reading lessons or by copying the Rules of Grammar and Arithmetic. Frequently writing these will more deeply impress them on the memory and make them better understood than the common plan of learning to spell by heart. The dictation also of words involving principles in Orthography and those puzzling words that are alike in sound but different in spelling will be of great service.

The plan adopted in this Book to effect the proposed saving of time and also to make reading pleasant to children is described below.

Words are regular when subject to fixed principles of orthography. They then do not contain any letter having other than its normal or most usual power or suggesting any sound not actually in the word, nor any silent non-significant letter. Such words are said to be spelt phonetically : they are easy to learn, and there is but little uncertainty as to their pronunciation. Thousands of words that are now irregular will be made phonic, and consequently easy to pronounce, if we get rid of useless silent letters and indicate the precise sound of such vowel and consonantal letters as have two or more powers.

First as to words ending in our and participles ending with ed. Webster writes or instead of our, as arbor, color, favor, honor, labor, rumor, which is not only easier but is identical with the latin from which these words are derived, and this practice may eventually become general. To end the participle with t instead of ed is more phonetic and therefore, as before remarked, more easy. A child can read askt, brusht, past, pluckt, slipt, spelt, stept, better than asked, brushed, passed, plucked, slipped, spelled, stepped. For the same reason the old form of 'd is used instead of ed in such words as form'd, lean'd, skill'd, drown'd, steerd, roam'd, By this method we also avoid the disagreeable and pedantic habit of pronouncing these as words of two syllables. A few other licenses not sanctioned by published works have also been taken for the like end, as center, saber, scepter, instead of centre, sabre, sceptre.

Some think that in reading the Sacred Scriptures the syllable ed should always be pronounced in participles; they never however use it in daily life nor secular reading, and few would insist on perplexing a child with two forms for one word.

Secondly.The expedients used in Walker's, Webster's, and other pronouncing dictionaries are largely employed here. Useless silent letters are printed in

italics, and letters with dots, or diacritical marks, are used in twenty varieties, whereby the pronunciation of vowel and consonantal letters having more than one power, is in general precisely indicated. Silent letters that do not appreciably increase the difficulty of learning, as in the words buff, class, dull, kick, better, manner, robber, are not noticed; because, though silent, they usually show that the preceding vowel is short and accented. Nor is the silent e in such words as chance, judge, fade, ride, tone, printed in italics, because it either shows the quality of the preceding consonant, or points out that the foregoing vowel is long and like its name in the alphabet.

A GENERAL RULE for spelling aloud any word that perplexes a child is to pass over all italic letters, and never utter the final e.

A few words so spelt will make this plainer :-yacht, frightened, beautiful, people, knave, phthisis, wrinkle, could forebode, heaven, billow—spelt aloud either by the powers or names of the letters (this book being equally adapted to both) would be yat, fritnd, butiful, pepl, nav, thisis, rinkl, cud, forbod, hern, billo. The facility with which a child can read words thus abbreviated compared with the common method of naming all the letters is remarkable.

Sometimes even these expedients will not give us the exact pronunciation, but it is commonly so near that when aided by the context a child will seldom need assistance. A list of the most irregular words, the pronunciation

whereof cannot be indicated without altering the spelling, and a key to the pronunciation are given on page XIII. Though difficult as isolated words, and calling for special effort of the memory, these words express such common notions and occur so often that they are more easy to learn than is generally supposed.

The article the is pronounced two ways, as the, with the vowel sounding like e in err, when followed by a consonantal sound; and as thee before words beginning with a vowel sound. The article a must always be pronounced like a in aloud ; to call it ay, like its name, is very unpleasant. My is spoken two. ways, more commonly perhaps as rhyming with thy, but often like the second syllable in dreamy. The first sound is used when the emphasis falls on the word ; but good taste will decide which is the proper sound to use in all cases.

To misplace or omit the aspirate (indicated by h) is a mark of defective education, but there are many instances in which words aspirated when alone lose the aspirate in a sentence. We say a history, and an historical account, a heresy, and an heretical opinion, the h being silent in the adjectives. Aspiration makes the syllable emphatic, but as two emphatic syllables cannot exist in immediate contiguity, the aspiration is annihilated. The same principle is applicable to monosyllables, and it is evident that in such sentences as these, “Why has he hurt his hand ? " How high he holds his head ? only the emphatic words should be aspirated. To aspirate all would be as unpleasant as to aspirate none.

When a child cannot say an irregular word, this should at once be called out, for to spell it would be useless.

In teaching, no word should be passed by if wrongly pronounced, but it should be repeated until got right. Careful and thorough teaching will lead to a clear articulation and a saving of time in the end.

“ The Pronouncing Reading Book” differs in some respects from most other reading books. The pieces are not divided into Lessons," for the same length would not suit all schools, some allowing less time for reading than others, and all children of the same age are not equally proficient. Some of the pieces are intended to last an infant class for a week, the teacher recapitulating each day what has been done before, and then taking up the story where it had been left off. Children, as we know, are fond of tales, but the reading a child gets at one lesson can seldom embody more than a simple anecdote destitute of plot and, consequently, of the interest that makes a little story so delightful to children; and although young children will read a useful lesson on the science of common things when desired by their teacher, they certainly will not do so for their own pleasure. The selections in the following pages will, it is hoped, not only gratify a child in School, but also in its leisure hours at home.

The subjects of the book are arranged in classes for convenient selection. They are not intended to be read through exactly in the order they stand, for that might not always be advisable. The mechanical difficulty of reading the various pages of the book will be found to differ very little, but some subjects less easy than others may require explanation from the teacher.

Long words are not divided into syllables, for children do not always require the same amount of assistance in

It is generally sufficient even in very long words, to tell the child to spell half first and the remaining half afterward.

The views here announced are not merely theoretical, but have been tested for four years in two infant schools in Wakefield with very satisfactory results.

this way.

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