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often met with the plea that he is a poor writer. Granting that there be a valid excuse for his poor writing, there can be no excuse for carelessness or lack of neatness. This fact should be impressed upon the child. Care in three simple details will go far toward developing the neatness which we all desire. The three are these: proper spacing, careful punctuation and careful use of capitals. The prime requisite is proper spacing; an n” space between words, with an “m” space between sentences. If this be done the most illegible composition becomes readable and even neat in appearance. The second is care in punctuation. If the writer will punctuate, one can readily determine the meaning he wishes to convey, even though the thought be obscure and one's natural interpretation of the passage far different.

The teacher said, “The man was ill.”
“The teacher,'' said the man, “was ill.”

The fact that careful business men dictate their marks of punctuation shows that they, at least, recognize the importance of this. The third and last is the use of capitals. Judicious use of capitals makes a neater and more attractive, or, as the printers say, “more open” page. This catching the eye invites

" one to read, while a closely filled page does not. Try this for yourself. This plan will require a sentence that is only moderately long—but isn't that a virtue?

a Along with and akin to neatness and equal to it in importance, is accuracy. Be not content with doubtful or equivocal statements. Demand answers to the questions proposed, accept nothing else. Do not accept these unless they are clear, precise, definite, true,-in a word, accurate. This in composition work will require care in citing authorities, and involves the proper use of quotation marks. It will, if carried on in the child's notebook, produce instead of the usual slipshod notebook fit only to be discarded at the end of the year, a valuable reference book worthy of preservation for later years.

The early training of the child in these two qualities, neatness and accuracy, is a prime necessity, for it inculcates these as habits in his early character-forming period, and they will be of inestimable value to the child throughout his whole life.

From fables and hero stories to mythology and history, is but a step, and this brings us to the threshold of literature. As the child reads he is led to see that literature is based upon these two, and his knowledge of life and living broadened. He begins character study. He learns, as Lowell says, "of the beauty of stern-faced devotion to duty,” and becomes inspired with like purpose. Slowly and gradually as the child increases in mental power and appreciation, he is introduced to literature of higher and higher order, until at last before he leaves us, we give him a glimpse of the treasures of English literature. By this method the child is early prepared for good literature, and a fondness for it cultivated. “What we like,” says Ruskin, “determines what we are, and to teach taste is inevitably to mold character."

We should not lose sight of the value of formal memorizing. The wisdom of this is self-evident. We all remember the quatrain from Pope's Essay on Criticism on the use of new words, and it affords a convenient check on our desire to use words not yet sanctioned by good use. Again, those poems learned in early childhood linger with us all our lives. They may seem to be forgotten, but some day, an incident will stir them, a phrase recall them, and with them will come trooping a flood of memories of our happy childhood days. It is well to cultivate this emotional side, and memorizing affords the opportunity.

By an acquaintance with history and good literature, and the careful study of character, the child learns to interpret life. He sees as Bacon says, “All history is prophecy,” and learns to intrepret the present and predict the future in the light of the past. It is at this period of teaching that the largeness of the teacher is shown. The lessons drawn here, whether for good or ill, will have a lasting effect upon the child. It is remarkable how far the personal contact with a teacher will mold a child's thought and after life.

The result of this reading, memorizing and reproduction is shown in the higher grammar grades. By that time the child has a wealth of ideas gained from his previous readings, and is so familiar with them that they are practically his own. These he can use in his narrations and descriptions. He has become so proficient in sentence structure that he can express

himself clearly, logically, and from his varied knowledge, even interestingly.

The adage, “Learn to do by doing,” is ever true. In learning to write English this is well exemplified. Facility of expression is learned only by constant, patient, painstaking practice. Therefore the plan of requiring daily themes cannot be too highly commended.

In assigning a composition the first consideration is the subject. This should be chosen most carefully, for if it lacks interest to the student, or be contrary to his beliefs or beyond his powers, he will not work on it faithfully. Lack of care in this respect on the part of the instructor will cause the pupil to have a serious distaste, if not abhorrence, for all such work, which is just the contrary effect from that which we wish to produce. With knowledge of English comes appreciation; and with appreciation, culture; and that is the aim of all our teaching

The subject should not be too general, in fact it is hardly possible to make it too specific. More can be accomplished by directing energy into a few well-chosen channels than into many. When a subject is too general, the force is dissipated, the energy and interest lost, unity becomes well-nigh impossible, and the result is chaos.

When properly chosen, a subject is capable of division into parts. The topics of these parts or sub-heads will treat of the various phases of the subject, and lead up to, and bear directly upon it. This analysis is invaluable, and without it success is doubtful. These topics properly arranged in logical sequence will sketch the proposed method of treatment of the subject, and be the outline of the composition. The outline is the key to the composition, too much stress cannot be laid upon it, and it should be required in all cases.

The paragraph is the unit of the composition. Here we have the secret of composition writing. Could we but train our children to become efficient writers of paragraphs it would not be long before their essays would lose their crudeness and diffuseness, and become clear, logical entities.

In writing a composition, the topics of the outline become titles of paragraphs. Teach then 'paragraph writing, make


each a perfect piece of style, and this will go far to develop in the composition the finish that reveals the master. Treat each paragraph as a separate entity, develop the topic in the paragraph thoroughly, making the paragraph a brief but complete essay on its topic. The paragraph while complete in itself should conduce to the development of the plan of the whole. When finished it should be judged by its fitness for the designed end, and however perfect in itself, if not in harmony with the plan of the whole, should be discarded.

The theory is perhaps easy for the child to grasp, yet it is to some extent elusive, and when once thoroughly grasped, the matter is not at an end. Hence the practice of writing a single paragraph daily is invaluable. This would cover the composition requirement in the grammar grades, and would be a valuable supplementary exercise in higher work. This paragraph should be revised by the instructor and ordered rewritten and brought in with the next paragraph. This revision is most necessary, the skilled writer is not satisfied with his first draft, and should we be with that of a child? The familiar adage, “Easy writing, hard reading,” is well exemplified in any school essay. One should be satisfied, however, if the grosser errors are corrected in the rewritten paragraph. Too great severity here will ruin one's own nerves and the child's patience, with no good results. The revision should be on the plan of elimination. Take the most glaring fault of the class first; show that it is a fault by precept, example and rhetoric, and direct the attention of the whole class against this to the exclusion of all others. When this has largely been eradicated, turn to another fault, direct your campaign against this, continue in this way until the more glaring faults have been overcome. Then the attention may be turned to the cultivation of the ornaments of style, leading at last into the mazes of original master work.

The various paragraphs completed, next comes the assembling of the parts. Were the outline carefully made, they will fall quickly into place and form a composite whole. It may be, however, that after the paragraphs are completed another sequence would be more desirable. This is readily discovered by recourse to the familiar “deck of cards” plan, but this method of writing a composition by paragraphs has a special advantage, for the writer has the paragraphs before him on separate sheets which may be assorted as seems best. By the usual plan, one has only the topics before him on separate cards which are shuffled until a satisfactory sequence is developed. While this is most excellent in forming an outline, its value is less when it comes to assembling the parts, for it loses sight of the fact that a subject grows in the writing and may develop very differently from the original plans. We may, however, by whatever plan we please, arrange the paragraphs in their proper order. Should the connection between any two not be sufficiently evident, we have recourse to the familiar devise of a transition paragraph which is always perfectly legitimate and proper.

The composition is now complete, and should need but little polishing, for it is made up of units each perfect and complete in itself, yet written with the intention of becoming part of a whole.

If, therefore, we can train the child to a knowledge of paragraph structure and give him an insight into the mechanism of paragraph writing, and can develop a facility in the use of these principles, we shall have put him far on the way to becoming an adept in the use of English.

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