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290               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

It was intended to make more pleasant the various exercises in
reading which have to be repeated so often; as a result the reading
is made clear and fluent.


I spread out on the big table the most varied and attractive
collection of toys; corresponding to each of them is a label on
which its name is written. I fold the labels and roll them up, mix
them together in a box, and have them drawn by lot by the children
who can read. They must carry the labels to their places, unfold
them very, very slowly, read them mentally without showing them
to their neighbours, so that what they contain remains an absolute
secret, and then go up to the table with the label enclosed in their
hand. The child must say aloud the name of a toy, and present
to the teacher the label that it may be verified; such a ticket then
becomes like a piece of money with which the toy named may be
acquired. The child, if he pronounces the word clearly, pointing
out the object with his finger (and the teacher can check the
accuracy by the card), takes the toy and can do what he likes with
it for as long as he likes.

This stage being finished, the teacher calls upon the first child
and then all the others, in the same order in which they took the
toys, and makes them draw lots for another label, which the child
must read at once and which bears the name of one of his com-
panions, who cannot read yet and, therefore, has not had a toy.
And then, politely, he must offer as an act of courtesy to
his unlearned companion the toy which he possesses as his right.
The offer must be made with kindly gestures, gracefully, accom-
panied by a salute. In this way there is eradicated any idea of
,grade, and there is inculcated the feeling that one must give out
of kindness to those who have no claim to possession, as well as
the sentiment that everyone, whether he deserves it or not, must
share equally in pleasures.

The reading-play was a marvellous success; think of the satis-
faction which these poor children felt over the idea that they