THE METHOD AND THE MATERIAL 279
then began to cry out " r, r, r! r, r, r!': Little by little the baby understood that, when he took a letter in hand, the children, who were passing, cried out a sound. This amused him so much that I wished to observe how long he would persist in this game without becoming tired. He kept it up for three-quarters of an hour! The children had become interested in the child, and grouped themselves about him, pronouncing the sounds in chorus, and laughing at his pleased surprise. At last, after he had several times held up f, and had received from his public the same sound, he took the letter again, showing it to me, and saying, " f, f, f! " He had learned this from out the great confusion of sounds which he had heard: the long letter which had first arrested the attention of the running children, had made a great impression upon him.
It is not necessary to show how the separate pronunciation of the alphabetical sounds reveals the condition of the child's speech. Defects, which are almost all related to the incomplete development of the language itself, manifest themselves, and the directress may take note of them one by one. In this way she will be possessed of a record of the child's progress, which will help her in her individual teaching, and will reveal much concerning the development of the language in this particular child.
In the matter of correcting linguistic defects, we will find it helpful to follow the physiological rules relating to the child's development, and to modify the difficulties in the presentation of our lesson. When, however, the child's speech is sufficiently developed, and when he pronounces all the sounds, it does not matter which of the letters we select in our lessons.
Many of the defects which have become permanent in