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How can I review Latin this summer?

This is a question I am asked a lot.  Parents are often concerned about the typical “backwards slide” that naturally occurs during the summer.  They are always looking for a few good tips on how to keep things “fresh” so students can begin the next year on the right foot.  The challenge is finding a FUN and ENJOYABLE way to keep up to speed in Latin.  Don’t kill the summer by repeating a text book or hammering away at grammar drills.  Instead, pick up a good book – a good LATIN book that is. 

Reading Latin is the BEST way to learn Latin and to fine tune those Latin skills you’ve been grooming all year long.  There are a great many Latin readers out there now to choose from.  There are also a number of classic children’s books that are now available in Latin.  Most have glossaries that will help with unfamiliar vocabulary.  You will want to look through the book to see if the grammar level is near your own.  Don’t be afraid to take on a bit of a challenge, however, practice using context clues to understand the story.  The following is a list of Latin books I have seen and enjoyed.  They are broken down by Latin level: beginners (grammar school or Latin 1), intermediate (Latin 2 – 3), advanced (completed a full grammar course).

So pick up a good Latin book to read as you enjoy your summer vacation. For as Cicero once said, “Otium sine litteris est mors.” [Leisure without literature is death]

Beginners:

  • Libellus de Historia: A, B, or C – This is a set of three readers I created along with Erin Davis for Classical Academic Press.  These are perfect for grammar school students who are in their early studies. You have three levels to choose from, each telling stories of interesting people and fascinating events from across the spanse of time and history.  Look for ALL 3 readers on the Classical Academic Press website.
  • I am Reading Latin Series – Here is a set of fun stories for the beginning Latin student written by Rose Williams. Enjoyable for the most novice student.
  • E-readers on Headventureland – Headventureland has provided a great many electronic Latin readers on their gaming website.  Here students can choose from a variety of short stories.  Don’t know a word?  Just click on the words you don’t know and the English meaning appears.

Intermediate:

  • Libellus de Historia C  – The last of the Libellus series is perfect for those transitioning from beginning to intermediate stories.  It will also be a lighter and enjoyable read for those who are well into their intermediate level studies.
  • Fairy Tales in Latin  – A collection of 12 familiar fairy tales in Latin.  Each story is relatively short, 500 – 1000 words.  The grammar will vary, but due to the great familiarity of the stories students should have little problem following along.  Great opportunity to enjoy using what they have learned while challenging themselves just a bit.
  • Aesop’s FablesReady to sink your teeth into some real Latin?  Laura Gibb’s has created an intermediate Latin reader based on these fabulous fables.  You can also read a collection of Aesop’s Fables online at the Bestiaria Latina blog site.
  • Children’s Literature – There are many many children’s books that have been translated into Latin.  You can find most on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Your local bookseller just might carry a copy.  Titles include: Olivia, Ferdinand the Bull, Walter the Farting Dog, and many more.  Most will include a glossary in the back to help with unfamiliar vocab.   Grammar levels will vary.

Advanced:

  • Dr. Seuss has several titles in Latin that would be fun for ADVANCED STUDENTS.  The translators wanted to stay true to the ryhming style of Dr. Seuss.  It makes for a wonderful read, but it is challenging Latin.  Titles include: Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Winnie Ille Pu – This Latin book once made the New York Times Bestseller list!   Now you can read Milne’s classic in a classical language.  This is for ADVANCED STUDENTS, meaning you will need to have completed a full Latin grammar course such as the Latin Alive series.
  • The true Classics – Hungry to read some true classical literature?  There are a number of readers out there for advanced students, readers that guide you through the writings of the most well-known Latin authors.  I highly recommend the Legamus Reader Series, published by Bolchazy-Carducci.

2 Responses to “How can I review Latin this summer?”

  • Resa:

    As a homeschool mother, I am considering purchasing your Latin Alive, Book 1. We have done the first two books of Latin for Children, but I want to challenge my 14-year-old more. Is Latin Alive a curriculum that my son can do independently? My son is also interested in learning Spanish at some point. What are the benefits of sticking with Latin?

  • Karen Moore:

    Resa,

    If you will contact me via the LAyahoo group (see link in blog roll) I can give you a more thorough response. I am limited here by space. The short answers:
    1. I am very cautious about advising students to tackle Latin on their own. He might be able to do so very well. It really depends on the individual. This is a text that many home school students use.
    2. You can read my lengthy response to the benefits of Latin at this link:
    http://classicalacademicpress.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=16&zenid=7996a2fb0b1fedfbaaf7d2dc4888ce95

    Again, you are welcome to contact me at the Latin yahoo group.
    -Karen

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