266 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
MATERIAL FOR TRACING THE LETTERS
This consists of small cards bearing the letters of the alphabet
in sandpaper and large cards with letters grouped according to
similarity of form. A copy of each letter cut out of fine sandpaper
is fixed on a small card, the dimensions of which are adapted to
each letter; the cardboard is covered with smooth pink paper for
the consonants whilst the sandpaper is light grey; or the mount is
gf blue paper (or wood) for the vowels; the colours help the form
of the letter to stand out more distinctly from the background.
Similar mounts, but much larger, of cardboard or of wood,
carry groups of letters which are identical with the corresponding
letters on the small mounts, but they are combined in groups
according to contrast or similarity of form.
The letters must be beautifully shaped, attention being paid to
light and dark strokes. They are in the vertical style, if that is in
use at the moment in the elementary schools. It is the writing in
common use which determines this character of the material, which
does not aim at reforming the style of writing, which would be
something quite different from the intention which animates us.
That is to obtain facility in writing, whatever may be the style of it.
One begins at once with teaching the letters of the alphabet,
beginning with the vowels and going on to the consonants, which
are pronounced according to their sound. The sound is at once
joined up with a word so that it is clearly associated with the
The teaching proceeds according to the three stages already
FIRST STAGE. VISUAL AND TACTILE-MUSCULAR SENSATION
ASSOCIATED WITH ALPHABETIC SOUND
The teacher presents to the child a letter and says: "This
is * i';** she will go on to deal with the other letters in the same way.