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“Words, when well chosen, have so great a force in them, that a descrip
"Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains
"Language is the amber in which a thousand precious and subtle
Copyright, 1890, by A. S. Barnes & Co.
W. P. 12
ONE of the chief errors in the education of the children of the present day is the teaching of various subjects without showing the intimate relation which exists among them. In the higher branches, as mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, etc., the importance of this principle is well recognized ; but in the subjects taught in the public schools, it is, as a rule, completely overlooked. The pupil, so to speak, stores away each subject in a separate compartment of his mind, so that a knowledge of one proves of but little assistance in learning another.
In spelling, more than in any other subject, it is possible to make use of this principle, and in this book an earnest effort has been made in this direction. There are a certain number of useful words which the pupil must learn in any event. The question therefore arises whether it is of more benefit to teach him these words abstractly, or to combine them into various exercises which will prove both interesting and instructive. This book has been prepared with the conviction that the latter is the wiser plan.
First.—The dictation exercises serve to teach composition and punctuation in addition to spelling, and the pupil is required to write the words as he uses them in after-life. Again, these exercises have been chosen with a view to giving him additional interesting facts concerning the mis
cellaneous subjects taken up in the various grades, and they thus form the basis of object lessons on such topics.
Second,—The homonyms may serve for memory exercises as well as for spelling, and, by introducing the pupils to the best thoughts of the best authors, they are really elementary lessons in literature.
Third.—The synonyms teach discrimination in the use of words, and thus encourage the correct use of the language.
Fourth.-By learning words from their etymology, the pupil not only remembers the meaning of the particular words learned far better than otherwise, but also immediately recognizes all similarly formed words.
Fifth.-The letters teach letter writing, -one of the chief uses to which the pupil will put his knowledge of spelling.
Sixth.-The lessons on diacritical marks and words often mispronounced are designed to teach the use of the dictionary, and to call attention to correct pronunciation. At the same time, the words selected for the various grades are such as are best adapted for the pupils, both in meaning and in spelling.
While considering all these secondary matters, the selection of a carefully graded list of words—the great desideratum in a Speller—has not been overlooked. All words which present little difficulty, as well as all those which are so rarely used as to be almost useless to the pupil, have been omitted.
In conclusion it may be asked why it is that, with all the efforts that have been made to teach correct spelling, so many children go out of the public schools with very little knowledge of the subject. The answer suggests itself to allit is due to the unphonetic nature of our language. Even this difficulty may be surmounted.
It is a well-known fact that most words present some special difficulty in spelling by reason of a peculiar combination of letters. Any teacher who has kept lists of the
NOTES TO TEACHERS.
ways in which pupils usually misspell their words, will bear testimony to this fact. The pupil always writes a word as he has seen it. When he writes it incorrectly, he has either seen it imperfectly, or the impression made upon his mind by the word as a whole has been so dim that he has forgotten it.
In order to aid the pupil in seeing these words correctly, such parts of them as present special difficulties have been printed in bold-faced type, and it is hoped that the words in this form will make a lasting impression on the mind. It has not been deemed necessary to continue this plan after the first two sections, when the pupil has acquired the habit of noticing particularly such parts of a word as require special attention.
The plan was tried with eminent success by a number of teachers before it was here adopted, and it is hoped it will meet with equal favor among those who use this book.
NOTES TO TEACHERS.
THIS book has been divided into eight sections, to adapt it to graded schools, but where one section contains too much matter for a particular class, the end of it may readily be left for the next, or if it contains too little, the first lessons of the next section may be taken.
Dictation Lessons.—Let the pupil study the words at the heads of the lessons and look over the exercises. The teacher should then dictate the exercise instead of the mere list of words. Should a lesson be too long, the teacher may readily assign a certain number of words at the head, and stop at a corresponding point in the lesson. With this object in view, the words have been arranged in the order in which they occur in the exercises. In the higher grades, only a few new words have been introduced into the dictation exercises,