THE MECHANISM OF WRITING 277 he made a mistake and put * dito '. The Inspector repeated * dido \ The child was not in the least perturbed, he took the * t * he had previously laid down, but did not place it back in the box, but left it on one side of his table. * Dito' thus became * didona . . .* and then the child took that ' t * that he had put aside and used it to finish the word: 'didonato*. The entire word therefore was as if sculptured in his mind. He knew from the start that a * t * was necessary at the end. His certainty was so great that he was not in the least confused by the remark of the inspector. The latter was really amazed. "This 't'," he said, "makes me believe that a miracle in the history of education is about to take place." , Not one child alone, but many were there who showed the same surprising psychological phenomenon. They revealed a particular 6 sensitivity' for words, almost a ' hunger of their age' for an instinctive acquisition of language. The child evidently re-composed these words with the mov- able alphabet, not because he * remembered' them with the help of an ordinary memory, but because he had * sculptured * and * absorbed' it in his mind. It was from this sculptured and absorbed image that he * copied' the word, as if he * saw * it in front of him. However long or strange the word might be, it was simply reflected and fixed so that the child could reproduce it. It should also be remarked that this exercise was absolutely fascinating to the children who repeated it without fatigue, because it was a vital exercise. The children who thus composed words did not know either to write or to read. They were not * interested' in the written word. They acted, or rather re-acted, to a stimulus that instead of provoking an inferior reflex, produced a response corresponding to a creative sensitivity. THE EXPLOSION INTO WRITING Children who are able to retain in their mind, as if it were sculptured or photographed, a word and the corresponding alpha- betical signs, should be able to write and to read too.