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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

252              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

" The mistress, naming the consonants in the phonetic manner,
points to the letter, then to the card, pronouncing the name of the
•object which , is painted and dwelling on the first letter thus:

* m......mela* * give me the consonant m, put it in its place,

touch it.' In this way the defects in the child's language are
.studied.

" Tracing the letters as in writing begins the muscular exercise
which prepares for writing. One of our children of the * motor *
type, taught by this method, has reproduced all the letters with
the pen, about 8 mm. high, before she could yet recognize th,em,
and this with surprising regularity. This child succeeded very well
also in manual work.*'

" The child who looks at, recognizes and touches the letters
in the manner of writing is prepared for reading and writing
-simultaneously.

" Touching the letters and at the same time looking at them
fixes their images more quickly, owing to the co-operation of the
senses; later, the two acts are separated—looking (reading), touch-
ing (writing). Some learn to read first, others to write; it depends
on the type of individual."

I had, then, started many years ago, in its fundamental
characters, my method of teaching, writing and reading. It was
with great surprise that I noticed the ease with which, one fine
day, after a piece of chalk had been put into the hand of a defective,
he drew on the blackboard, firmly and in good handwriting, the
letters of the whole alphabet, writing for the first time; this was
done much more quickly than one would have expected. As is
said in the leaflets, children used to write eyen with the pen all, the
letters of the alphabet before they were able to recognize any one
of them. I have noticed this quite as much in normal children,
>and I am led to say that the muscular sense is the most highly
-developed in childhood, wherefore writing is very easy for children.
It is not the same with reading, which involves a yery long period
•of instruction and calls for higher intellectual development, since
iTmeatis Interpreting signs, modulating the accents of the voice