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H           APT          E           R        XVII


EXPERIENCE has taught me to recognize a distinct difference between
writing and reading and has shown me that the two acquirements
need not necessarily be made at the same time. In our first experi-
ment, writing precedes reading, though I know that this is in con-
tradiction to the common practice. I do not call 'reading* the
attempt which a child makes when he is verifying the word which
he has composed with the movable alphabet, that is when he is
: translating signs into sounds, as at first he translated sounds into
signs, because in such a verification he already knows the word,
having repeated it to himself many times as he composed it. (That
is, in a phonetic language.) '

I call reading the interpretation of an idea by means of
graphic signs.

The child who has not heard the word spoken, butwho recog-
nizes it on seeing it put together on the table in movable letters
and can tell what it means (the name of a child, a city, an object,
etc.), that child reads. This I say because the word 'read*
corresponds in written language to the word we listen to in spoken
language, which serves to receive the language transmitted to us
by others.