Scientific Methods As Applied To Child Education In "the Children's Houses"

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My second test, was to have one of the children read the book to me. I did not interrupt with any of those explanatory remarks by means of which a teacher tries to help the child follow the thread of the story he is read­ing, saying for example: " Stop a minute. Do you understand? What have you read? You told me how the little boy went to drive in a big carriage, didn't you ? Pay attention to what the book says, etc."
I gave the book to a little boy, sat down beside him in a friendly fashion, and when he had read I asked him simply and seriously as one would speak to a friend, " Did you understand what you were reading ?" He replied: " No." But the expression of his face seemed to ask an explanation of my demand. In fact, the idea that through the reading of a series of words the complex thoughts of others might be communicated to us, was to be for my children one of the beautiful conquests of the future, a new source of surprise and joy.
The booh has recourse to logical language, not to the mechanism of the language. Before the child can under­stand and enjoy a book, the logical language must be es­tablished in him. Between knowing how to read the words, and how to read the sense, of a book there lies the same distance that exists between knowing how to pro­nounce a word and how to make a speech. I, therefore, stopped the reading from books and waited.
One day, during a free conversation period, four chil­dren arose at the same time and with expressions of joy on their faces ran to the blackboard and wrote phrases upon the order of the following:
" Oh, how glad we are that our garden has begun to bloom." It was a great surprise for me, and I was deeply moved. These children had arrived spontaneously at the
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