NOAH WEBSTER'S SPELLER, 1783-1843: CAUSES OF ITS SUCCESS AS READING TEXT
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It was the spelling book ("speller"), not the "reader," nor even the primer, that was the basic instructional text used in American schools, from the 1750s to the 1830s, to teach children reading. Embodying the "alphabetic" method, spellers taught the child letter-sound correspondences (LSCs).
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-04, Section: A, page: 1511.