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Teach the child what is of use to a child, Rousseau said, and you will find that it takes all his time.

What is of use to a child interested in reading is explicit instruction in how the written language works - how it represents the sounds of speech, how it is produced with tools like pencils and chalk, how it signifies words and ideas. A program-specifically, the Spalding program-that provides such instruction absorbs children to an astonishing degree. It does indeed take all their time, or as much of it as teachers will allow.