Charlotte Mason’s First Spelling Lesson, is the third suggested reading lesson as described in Home Education, Volume One. This lesson’s sequence can be used with any beautiful nursery rhyme or poem. Suggestions for poems are at Charlotte Mason Reading Lessons.
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Now we are ready for, what Charlotte Mason calls, the child’s Spelling Lesson, this lesson follows after Mason’s Reading Lesson and Sound Lesson in Home Education, Volume One:
1. Gather the letters from the previous day’s poem (that is, the Sound Lesson), in this case ” I like little kitty”.
2. Make “the word ‘coat’ with his letters, from memory if he can; … say ‘coat’ slowly; give the sound of the c. ‘Take away the c, and what have we left?'” (219). Here we are recognizing the phonemes of the word: c-oat.
3. Ask: “How would you make boat?” (Saying b-oat very slowly). Have the child make the word with his letters.
4. Ask: “How would you make float, goat, moat?” (If the child asks to make “note” we simply say, ‘No, note is [spelled] with other letters” (219).)
5. Write his created words on your board and have your child read “the column up and down” (220).
6. Now, bring out your words from the poem once again. Write your new words on new pieces of paper. Dictate sentences to your child to create, “I like her goat.”
7. Repeat with the remaining words:
warm = arm, harm, charm, alarm (pronouncing ‘warm’ as in ‘arm’)
8. After all sentences are exhausted, your child’s “new words are written in his ‘note-book’ in print hand, so that he can take stock of his possession in the way of words” (221).
After the Sound Lesson and the Spelling Lesson is complete with the first two lines of the poem, the next two days can work on the next two lines of the poem.
“By the time [your child] has worked ‘Little [Kitty]’ through he has quite a large stock of words; has considerable power to attack new words with familiar combinations; what is more, he has achieved; he has courage to attack all ‘learning,’ and has a sense that delightful results are quite within reach. Moreover, he learns to read in a way that affords him some moral training. There is no stumbling, no hesitation from the first, but bright attention and perfect achievement. His reading lesson is a delight…. Perfect enunciation and precision are insisted on, and when he comes to arrange the whole of the little rhyme in his loose words and read it off (most delightful of all the lesson) his reading must be a perfect and finished recitation” (221-222).