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. EXERCISES 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 spoken language. The teaching proceeds according to the three stages already mentioned. 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.