Excerpt from Secondary Lessons, or the Improved Reader: Intended as a Sequel to the Franklin Primer
It is the Opinion of some, who have speculated much on the subject, and who are entitled to great respect, that reading should commence with the pronunciation of sentences, while spelling is made a subsequent busi ness. That this theory is incomparably better than that, which has come down from our fathers, and which has hitherto controlled our ractice, there is perhaps no reasonable doubt. But til it is proved by thorough experiments, the author must be allowed to believe that there is an intermediate course far better than either. For him it is hard to conceive, how the child is to arrive at such a ready distinction of one word from another, as even tolerable reading must require, with out meeting and surmounting the principal labors and difficulties of spelling. To distinguish cat from rat, for instance, he must observe the diversity of the letters c and r in the two words to distinguish eat from ate, he must observe the different arrangements of the letters; that is, he must spell mentally, if he does not do it orally. Beside, it is too evident from experience, that it is a very tedious thing even for those, who have an ordinary degree of acquaintance with the orthography of words, to read their first exercises in composition; and that those who have read volumes and libraries, without first learning to spell, are generally bad 3 llers and bad readers through the whole of their lives, owever much they may excel in information, or natural understand mg.
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