READING 299' We had taken a great step; we had leapt from the mechanism to the spirit of reading. Today, the following, which is the favourite among the games, is played in this way. First, absolute silence is established; then there is presented a box containing folded labels, on which is written a long sentence describing an action. All the children who can read come up and draw a label by chance; they read it mentally once or oftener, till they are sure that they have understood it right, then they give the open label back to the teacher, and set about what has to be done. Since many of the actions require the assistance of companions who cannot read, and many lead to the using and moving about of objects, a general movement develops, which grows in a wonder- fully orderly manner, whilst the deep silence is broken only by the subdued scuffle of little feet running lightly and by voices singing songs—an unexpected revelation of spontaneous perfect discipline. Experience has shown us that composition must precede logical reading, as writing precedes the reading of words; and that the reading which conveys meaning must be mental and not vocal. Indeed, reading aloud implies the employment of the two mechanisms of language, the articular and the graphic, which makes the work more complicated. Who does not know that an adult who has to read a passage in public prepares himself for it by getting the meaning of it beforehand by mental reading, and that reading aloud is one of the most difficult intellectual actions?* Children, then, who are beginning to read in order that they may interpret thought, ought to read mentally. Written language, when it reaches logical thought, ought to be kept apart from articulate language. It really represents language which transmits thought from a distance, whilst the senses and the muscular mechanism are silent. It is spiritualized language which brings- into communication all mankind. Education having reached such a level in the Children's Houses, it follows as a consequence that the whole scheme of" work in the elementary schools would have to be changed.