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25. Sir Gammer Vans
..........Old Irish Story 62
Frances S. Hodgson 84
} From the Heroes of Asgard 64
PART II.-IN VERSE.
. Twamley 101
Mary Howitt 104
..G. Boase 108
..... Southey 110
...C. Kingsley 122
.Frances S. Hodgson 124
.Bernard Barton 129
ROBINSON'S PHONIC METHOD EXPLAINED.
ADDRESSED TO TEACHERS.
THERE are four principal methods Methods of
of teaching to read. FIRST, the Teaching Reading.
Alphabetic or old method, in which the child is taught to utter the names of the letters in their order, and then to say, if it can, the word they constitute. SECOND, the Look-and-Say method, in which the teacher points to and says the word as a whole, without either naming the letters or giving their powers, the child repeating it after the teacher, so that by frequent recurrence it becomes imprest on the memory. THIRD, the various Phonic methods, more or less perfect, in which the child has to give the sounds or powers of the letters, and not their names, in the order in which they occur, and from these sounds to ascertain what the word is. FOURTH, the Phonetic method, in principle and manner of teaching similar to the Phonic, but in which an enlarged and special alphabet of about thirty-four single letters is used, containing many new ones of an unusual form. Each letter stands for a particular sound, and that sound is never represented by any other letter; consequently, the irregularities of our language are avoided, and the power of reading books, phonetically printed, is acquired sooner than the reading of ordinary printed books by other methods. When the child can read phonetic books fluently, he is passed into ordinary books, the increased difficulties of which are soon overcome.
The first, or the old ALPHABETIC Comparison of
or name method, is the worst of the
four; the tiresome and time-wasting process of spelling words aloud rarely gives the child the power of saying them, and he has at last to be told them on the Look-and-Say system. The second, or LOOK-AND-SAY method, though tolerably rapid in its results, is very unphilosophical, as those results are entirely due to the memory alone. It is, however, a useful adjunct to the phonic method in respect to those irregular words in which the names or the powers of the letters are inadequate to enable the child to say them—as one, two, eight, rough, cough, &c. The fourth, or PHONETIC method, has never found much favour with the public, and probably never will, owing to its strange-looking alphabet. There remains, then, for us to consider the third, or the various kinds of PHONIC teaching, some of which have received a considerable amount of attention and public favour, and are used in the Normal Training Colleges for elementary teachers.
Good reading can, of course, be taught by any one of these four methods, but they are so manifestly dissimilar in principle and detail that it is impossible to conceive of them as possessing an equal value. The time necessary to acquire good and fluent reading will differ in all of them.
The PHONIC methods of teaching The
to read employ the powers or sounds Phonic Principle.
of the letters, instead of their names; thus the word THAW, which consists of only two sounds, is spelt in the common mode of teaching tee-aitch-ay-double-you, thaw, but in the phonic method simply by its two sounds, th-aw, thaw. Again, the word SHEEPISH, of only five sounds, is spelt by the common modeof teaching es-aitch-doublee-pee-7-es--aitch, sheepish, but by the phonic method sh-ee-pé-x-sh, sheepish ; the coinmon method being a circuitous mental process, and the phonic a direct one.
In most of the Phonic methods at Phonic Methods. present in use, no attempt is made
to give assistance to the child by means of italic letters and accents; the consequence of which is, that about fifty per cent of the words remain irregular, and not well adapted for phonic teaching, and must be told the child on the Lookand-Say system. For example, to give the powers of the letters in such words as psalm, debt, night, &c., does not enable the child to
say them any
if the names of the letters were given. In fact, such defective phonic methods are scarcely of more value than the Look-and-Say method itself.
The English language is very Irregularities
irregular in its orthography, and English Language. ( is ill-adapted in its ordinary state to phonic teaching. The object of the present adaptation of the phonic principle of teaching to read is, to increase the number of words which are regular or suitable for phonic teaching to about 75 per cent, leaving only 25 per cent of irregular words to be dealt with on the Look-and-Say system, instead of 50 per cent, as in the more defective phonic methods.
This object is effected by means
of a better classified Alphabet, conPhonic Principle.
taining a large number of digraphs or double letters to indicate simple sounds, as ee, ai, au, oa, oo, sh, th, &c.; by a number of diacritical marks or accents to indicate with certainty the exact sounds of letters, as c, c, in civic, g, ğ, in gorge, s, ş, in seas, th, th, in thin and then, &c.; and by the use of italics to show silent letters, as psalm, dough, debt, &c. By these means we secure, as far as possible, the exactness of the phonetic system, while preserving the ordinary orthography, and give the child greater help than is rendered by any other Phonic method. Difficulties are either lessened or altogether removed out of the child's way, and he reads with greater certainty and ease; he is enabled to say
Extension of the