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KATE VAN WAGENEN, PD.B.
PRINCIPAL PUBLIC SCHOOL No. 53, BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
NEW YORK CITY
AUTHOR OF “ DICTATION DAY BY DAY"
All rights reserved
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1916. Reprinted
THE MODERN SPELLER emphasizes the following points:
Teaching Spelling by the Dictation Method. It is a wellknown fact that children write a word correctly in a list, and write the same word incorrectly in a sentence. This difficulty exists because the sentence form is strange. When a pupil learns this, see, ball, as a list, the spelling of these three words constitutes the sum of the information gained in that lesson; but if he writes, See this ball, he has taken the first step in composition. It is because of this great gain that in all modern schools, teachers are beginning to recognize the advantages of teaching spelling by the dictation method.
Grading. The exercises are carefully graded so that the vocabulary, the context, and the punctuation marks are suited to the needs and abilities of the pupils. In addition, each new lesson contains but a few new words, which are placed in the margin. Every other word in the lesson is a review word.
Reviews. The dictation method, requiring the constant repetition of small, troublesome words, linked with the close grading mentioned above, constitutes a natural review. In addition, reviews are inserted in the earlier years at the close of every fourth lesson.
Meaning and Use of Words Taught from Text. As the average person obtains his knowledge of the meaning and use of words from reading, children should be urged and encouraged to learn the meaning of words, as far as possible, by reference to the context.
Interesting Content. The subjects dwelt upon interesi the pupil, and, if properly handled, pave the way for superior composition work. Some literary exercises are introduced, but they have not been permitted to overshadow the fact that the Modern Speller is designed primarily to teach spelling.
These lessons were used in manuscript form for several terms. The teachers put the exercises on the blackboard and the children copied them for home study. It was found, however, that this method wasted time - a fault that in our crowded curriculum seems almost a crime. A far weightier objection to this method was the fact that in classes, even of careful teachers, many children made mistakes in copying the exercises. They, therefore, studied them incorrectly; so that the teacher, besides dealing with legitimate difficulties, bore the added burden of eradicating errors that were firmly fixed in the pupil's mind. To overcome these two difficulties a book was prepared so that pvery child might have a printed page from which to study.
Thanks are due the following authors and publishers for permission to use copyrighted material: to Harper Brothers for the selections from Margaret Sangster's “Little Knights and Ladies”; to A. P. Watt & Son for the selection from Kipling's
Jungle Book”; to A. S. Barnes & Co. for the selection from the Teachers' Magazine; to the Public School Publishing Co. for the selection from McMurry's “ Classic Stories.”
The selections from “Sermons to Young Men” and “ Stories of the Psalms” by Henry van Dyke, and “Poems and Ballads” by R. L. Stevenson, are used by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons, the authorized publishers of the works of these authors.
The selections from Holmes, Larcom, Longfellow, Lowell, and Cary are used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized publishers of the works of these authors.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS
THE work of each year has been divided into two parts, and can be accomplished in the given time if the proper method is employed. One dictation exercise constitutes a day's lesson ; but, in addition, assign three or four words from the review lists which follow every fourth lesson. When the four dictations and the review have been taught, review the week's work and teach no new matter. Keep a list of the words misspelled daily, and on Friday drill on these. Do not waste time by repeating again and again what all the children know.
The words in the margin are the only new words in any lesson. Occasionally a review word is even inserted here to show the formation of plurals or of participles.
The first year that spelling is taught, allow no home work, but arrange, instead, two spelling periods a day. Use the morning for oral spelling and for copying both words and sentences two or three times, and the afternoon for oral spelling and the dictation of the sentences. At the beginning of the Third Year, home work may be assigned; but only after a thorough explanation on the part of the teacher.
Whenever unusual proper names, as Gessler, Siegfried, etc., have not been placed in the margin, it is because they are not to be taught; but it is wise to put them on the blackboard and permit them to remain there during the writing of the lesson.
Funk & Wagnalls' Standard Dictionary is the authority used in this book for spelling and syllabication.