READING 293 Not all the children reach the same standard at the same age, and since none of them is, I do not say forced, but not even invited, or in any way attracted, to do what he does not want to do, it happens that some children, not having offered themselves for learning, have been left in peace, and can neither write nor read. If the old method, which dominates the will of the child, and crushes out his self-expression, does not think that it ought to force him to learn to write before the age of six, no more do I think so! However, I could not decide without long experience whether in every case the age of the full development of spoken language ought to be that which it is suitable to choose for encouraging the development of written language. In any case almost all normal children brought up by our methods begin to write at four years of age, and at five they can read and write at least as well as children who have finished the second elementary class; that means that they could pass into the second or third class at an age a year or two below that of the present -day admission to the first class. THE EXERCISE FOR NON-PHONETIC LANGUAGES The simple reading game described above was taken up again, modified and adapted for learning reading in languages which are not phonetic, like English, Dutch, etc. The essential exercise, which in its general principle may be of general application as in phonetic languages, consists in pre- paring a series of objects and a corresponding set .of labels on which are written the names relating to them; after the card has been read it is placed near the object which corresponds to it. For the phonetic languages, the exercise aims at raising interest in the written word; recognition of the object present makes the child feel that he has discovered a secret, and the act of placing the label satisfies him and opens up a round of intimate activity. By this time the internal motor has been set going, interest has been kindled, and the communication between the source of life and mastery over externals has been established.