THE METHOD AND THE MATERIAL 277
him trace it; the visual sensation, the tactile sensation, and the muscular sensation. In this way the image of the graphic sign is fixed in a much shorter space of time than when it was, according to ordinary methods, acquired only through the visual image. It will be found that the muscular memory is in the young child the most tenacious and, at the same time, the most ready. Indeed, he sometimes recognises the letters by touching them, when he cannot do so by looking at them. These images are, besides all this, contemporaneously associated with the alphabetical sound.
Second. Perception. The child should know how to compare and to recognise the figures, when he hears the sounds corresponding to them.
The directress asks the child, for example, " Give me o! — Give me i! " If the child does not recognise the letters by looking at them, she invites him to trace them, but if he still does not recognise them, the lesson is ended, and may be resumed another day. I have already spoken of the necessity of not revealing the error, and of not insisting in the teaching when the child does not respond readily.
Third. Language. Allowing the letters to lie for some instants upon the table, the directress asks the child, " What is this ? " and he should respond, o, i.
In teaching the consonants, the directress pronounces only the sound, and as soon as she has done so unites with it a vowel, pronouncing the syllable thus formed and alternating this little exercise by the use of different vowels. She must always be careful to emphasize the sound of the consonant, repeating it by itself, as, for example, m, m, m, ma, me, mi, m, m. When the child repeats the sound he isolates it, and then accompanies it with the vowel.