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JOHN S HART, LL.D.,
PRINCIPAL OF THE NEW JERSEY STATE NORMAL SCHOOL, AUTHOR OF “ COMPOSITION
AND RHETORIC," “IN THE SCHOOL-ROOM,' " ENGLISH GRAMMAR," ETC.
STANDARD EDUCATIONAL WORKS.
JOHN S. HART, LL.D.
First Lessons in Composition.
THE NEW YORK
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
ELDREDGE & BROTHER,
NOTHING in school is usually so poorly taught as ComposiI tion. This is the uniform testimony of those conversant with the subject. Yet it would be difficult to name a branch that equals it in practical value. The ability to express one's knowledge readily and clearly, which is only another name for skill in Composition, both helps in acquiring knowledge, and multiplies almost indefinitely the value of it when acquired. The scholar who has this skill can thereby learn faster every other branch of study, and at the same time can turn every other branch to greater account. Why should a part of education of such primary importance be so generally neglected ? Is there any inherent difficulty in teaching Composition, which can justify this neglect? It is my assured conviction, on the contrary, that there is no branch which can be taught with greater ease, or with more entire certainty of success. The great mistake in the matter is that the study is not begun soon enough. Teachers wait till a scholar is twelve or fourteen years old, and then, all at once, without any previous training, tell him to write a Composition. They might as well tell him to make a steam-engine. Exercises in Composition should begin as soon as a child begins to read and write, and they should at first be of the simplest possible character, such as any child can write who can write his own name. The exercise, instead of being attended to once a month,