An Illustrated history & description Of Schools in the 18th & 19th Centurys.

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

J OHN LOCKE, in 1690, said of elementary school education in England, " The method is to adhere to the ordinary road of the Horn­book, Primer, Psalter, Testament, and Bible; these are the only books used to engage the liking of children and tempt them to read." " The ordi­nary road " was the same here. There were three reading classes in the schools — " The Psalter Class " for beginners, next " The Testament Class," and thirdly " The Bible Class," which went through about two chapters at each school session and was expected to spell the words in the portions read. For a long time spelling-books were lacking, and they did not become common much before 1750; but after that time for fully three-quarters of a century the spelling-book was almost the sole re­source of the school children for elementary instruc­tion. Advanced readers were in the market in the early years of the republic, but readers for the be­ginners seem to have been thought unnecessary. Thus the spellers of the forefathers did double duty as spelling-books and primers, and were a much more important institution than they have ever been since.
Previous Contents Next