THE METHOD AND THE MATERIAL 281
letters of the alphabet and all of the simple syllables, without ever having taken chalk or pencil in his hand.
We have, in addition to this, begun the teaching of reading at the same time that we have been teaching writing. When we present a letter to the child and enunciate its sound, he fixes the image of this letter by means of the visual sense, and also by means of the muscular-tactile sense. He associates the sound with its relative sign; that is, he relates the sound to the graphic sign. But when he sees and recognises, he reads; and when he traces, he writes. Thus his mind receives as one, two acts, which, later on, as he develops, will separate, coming to constitute the two diverse processes of reading and writing. By teaching these two acts contemporaneously, or, better, by their fusion, we place the child before a new form of language without determining which of the acts constituting it should be most prevalent.
We do not trouble ourselves as to whether the child in the development of this process, first learns to read or to write, or if the one or the other will be the easier. We must rid ourselves of all preconceptions, and must await from experience the answer to these questions. We may expect that individual differences will show themselves in the prevalence of one or the other act in the development of different children. This makes possible the most interesting psychological study of the individual, and should broaden the work of this method, which is based upon the free expansion of individuality.
THIRD PERIOD: EXERCISES FOB THE COMPOSITION" OF
Didactic Material. This consists chiefly of alphabets. The letters of the alphabet used here are identical in form