His Dictionary is the only Christian dictionary ever written! Interesting that this was published around the same time as our nation was being formed, making his definition of words the same as what our founding fathers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution and Declaration of Independence! Something to think about. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.
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Please private message your e-mail or mailing address to the authors. I did some research and learned that if you attended school in the United States during the late s and well into the s, you likely learned spelling using this book.
Because it was usually printed with a blue cover, it soon became known as the Blue-Back Speller. It was the first of a three-volume collection originally titled A Grammatical Institute of the English Language.
Webster added a grammar in and a reader in Noah Webster, Jr. He has been called the father of American scholarship and education. As a teacher, he learned to dislike American elementary schools because they were often overcrowded and the teachers underpaid. Therefore, American children should be taught using American books that fostered republican ideals. The American people were the proper judges of correct speech, he maintained, and spelling should be simplified to agree with how words were actually pronounced.
Webster observed that children pass through distinct learning phases in which they master increasingly complex or abstract tasks, and that they learn most easily when complex problems are broken into their component parts so they can master one part before moving to the next.
He consequently arranged his speller to present words and the rules of spelling and pronunciation in an orderly manner that progressed by age, beginning with the alphabet and moving systematically through the different sounds of vowels and consonants. Syllables followed, with simple words coming next, then more complex words, and finally sentences.
The speller was also intentionally secular; it did not mention God, the Bible, or any biblical events, although later in his life he did add some religious themes.
It was the most popular American spelling book of its time. By it had sold 15 million copies, and some 60 million by In fact, his earnings from the speller allowed him to spend many years working on his famous American Dictionary of the English Language, first published in When I was in first grade, I learned to read with the Dick and Jane books. I loved the pictures of Jane, Dick, Sally, Spot, and Puff and the stories that opened the world of reading to me.
Every time I see pictures of the books, they bring back happy memories. Did you have a favorite textbook when you were in elementary school, and if so, why did you like it? Please share your memories! Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history.
She is also an author, editor, and publisher. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Book 2, The Return, released in April. Posted by.
The Blue-Backed Speller – Forgotten Intellectual Legacy of the American Revolution
Webster's Blue-Backed Speller
The Original Blue Back Speller