Lessons were taught in a religious atmosphere. The alphabet was written out in verse form, like a prayer, usually over three lines. Pupils made the sign of the cross before the "alphabet prayer" and said, "Christ's cross speed me." They then recited the letters, by name and sound, like this:
"'A' ('a' by itself) per se 'ah,' 'b' per se 'boh,' 'c' per se 'see.'" At the end of the alphabet they said, "and per se and", which is how the word ampersand - the name for the amp; symbol - originated, followed by "amen."