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As a method of teaching spelling, Dictation is deservedly popular. But as it offers opportunities of teaching other subjects, there is a danger of its real object being overlooked. It will therefore be necessary to guard against dictating more than can be thoroughly examined and corrected; for without examination and correction the exercise is positively injurious. English spelling is very irregular, and certainly does not come by nature. Difficulties there are, and the task of overcoming them is a troublesome one to most boys. A considerable number of words may, however, be reduced to rule, and although I would not exaggerate the importance of rules, yet there are some of such general application that a knowledge of them will prove useful; but rules are only helps after all.
Paraphrasing is a capital exercise for training the minds of boys. It compels them to observe the exact meanings of words. It tests how much of a given passage they understand, and to what extent they can find suitable equivalents for words and phrases a difficulty which boys experience at the outset.