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white substance of twice its bigness. The sand is separated by a wire sieve, and returned into the pot, to be again heated and repeat the operation with fresh grain. That which is parched is pounded to a powder in mortars. This being sifted, will keep long for use. An Indian will travel far and subsist long on a small bag of it, taking only six or eight ounces of it per day, mixed with water. The flour of mays, mixed with that of wheat, makes excellent bread, sweeter and more agreeable than that of wheat alone. To feed horses, it is good to soak the grain twelve hours: they mash it easier with their teeth, and it yields them more nourishment. The leaves, stripped off the stalks after the grain is ripe, tied up in bundles when dry, are excellent forage for horses, cows, &c. The stalks pressed like sugar-cane, yield a sweet juice, which being fermented and distilled, yields an excellent spirit; boiled without fermentation, it affords a pleasant syrup. In Mexico, fields are sown with it thick, that multitudes of small stalks may arise, which being cut from time to time like asparagus, are served in deserts, and their sweet juice extracted in the mouth by chewing them. The meal wetted is excellent food for young chickens, and the whole grain for grown fowls.
SKETCH OF AN ENGLISH SCHOOL, FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE PHILADELPHIA ACADEMY.
It is expected that every scholar to be admitted into this school, be at least able to pronounce and divide the syllables in reading, and to write a legible hand. None to be received that are under years of age.
FIRST, OR LOWEST CLASS.
Let the first class learn the English Grammar Rules, and at the same time let particular care be taken to improve them in orthography. Perhaps the latter is best done by pairing the scholars; two of those nearest equal in their spelling to be put together. Let these strive for victory; each propounding ten words every day to the other to be spelled. He that spells truly most of the other's words is victor for that day; he that is victor most days in a month, to obtain a prize, a pretty neat book of some kind, useful in their future studies. This method fixes the attention of children extremely to the orthography of words, and makes them good spellers very early. It is a shame for a man to be so ignorant of this little art, in his own language, as to be perpetually confounding words of like sound and different significations; the consciousness of which defect makes some men, otherwise of good learning and understanding, averse to writing even a common letter.
Let the pieces read by the scholars in this class be short; such as Croxall's fables, and little stories. In giving the lesson, let it be read to them: let the meaning of the difficult words in it be explained to them; and let them con over by themselves before they are called to read to the master or usher, who is to take particular care that they do not read too fast, and that they duly observe the stops and pauses. A vocabulary of the most usual difficult words might be formed for their use, with explanations; and they might daily get a few of those words and explanations by heart, which would a little exercise their memories; or at least they might write a number of them in a small book for the purpose, which would help to fix the meaning of those words in their minds, and at the same time furnish every one with a little dictionary for his future use.
THE SECOND CLASS
To be taught reading with attention, and with proper modulations of the voice, according to the sentiment and the subject.
Some short pieces, not exceeding the length of a Spectator, to be given this class for lessons (and some of the easier Spectators would be very suitable for the purpose). These lessons might be given every night as tasks; the scholars to study them against the morning. Let it then be required of them to give an account, first of the parts of speech, and construction of one or two sentences. This will oblige them to recur frequently to their grammar, and fix its principal rules in their memory. Next, of the intention of the writer, or the scope of the piece, the meaning of each sentence, and of every uncommon word.*=3Ehis would early acquaint them with the meaning and force of words, and give them that most necessary habit of reading with attention.
The master then to read the piece with the proper modulations of voice, due emphasis, and suitable action, where action is required; and put the youth on imitating his manner. Where the author has used an expression not the best, let it be pointed out; and let his beauties be particularly remarked to the youth.
Let the lessons for reading be varied, that the youth may be made acquainted with good styles of all kinds, in prose and verse, and the proper manner of reading each kind—sometimes a welltold story, a piece of a sermon, a general's speech to his soldiers, a speech in a tragedy, some part of a comedy, an ode, a satire, a letter, blank verse, Hudibrastic, heroic, &c. But let such lessons be chosen for reading, as contain some useful instruction, whereby the understanding or morals of the youth may at the same time be improved.
It is required that they should first study and understand the lessons, before they are put upon reading them properly; to which end each boy should have an English dictionary, to help him over difficulties. When our boys read English to us, we are apt to imagine they understand what they read, because we do, and because it is their mother tongue. But they often read, as parrots speak, knowing little or nothing of the meaning. And it is impossible a reader should give the due modulation to his voice, and pronounce properly, unless his understanding goes before his tongue, and makes him master of the sentiment. Accustoming boys to read aloud what they do not first understand, is the cause of those even set tones, so common among readers, which, when they have once got a habit of using, they find so difficult to correct; by which means, among fifty readers, we scarcely find a good one. For want of good reading, pieces published with a view to influence the minds of men, for their own or the public benefit, lose half their force. Were there but one good reader in a neighborhood, a public orator might be heard throughout a nation with the same advantages, and have the same effect upon his audience, as if they stood within the reach of his voice.