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Cornell School has a supply of homemade hornbooks that can be used for writing practice. The information below will explain how lessons can be done using the hornbooks.
Hornbooks - The wooden paddle-appearing boards with a handle are pretty much like the hornbooks of old. Hornbooks started out being made of animal horns which were treated and then could be written on. The letters were on them and often other things like a poem. Children were required to have one for school. This goes back for several hundred years. Eventually, paper and leather and other such substances were used which could be mounted on wood. The handle could be on any side of the board. Children basically learned to read just like they do today by learning the letters and then how each sounds and then putting a combination of letters together. About the time this school opened, they were probably not used anymore, but they make an interesting lesson for the students.
These hornbooks have the letters done in scroll writing which was used at the beginning of this school. It can be pointed out to the students that in old books, often found in antique shops, they can find this beautiful writing as people usually signed their names in the front of the book.
The booklets are used to practice these letters, Remind the students that writing is really a form of art work and that they should go slowly and see how nicely they can make them. (demonstrate a couple of letters on the board)
Penmanship was regularly practiced in the one-room schoolhouse. Students, in developing their cursive script, would repeatedly copy maxims like "lost time is never found" or "He is most powerful who governs himself". The students typically used the Spencer Platt Spencerian Book to practice their cursive script.
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