Self directed reading has been a positive for my students this past semester. A big reason for that is because of the hard work some authors have completed to publish a variety of materials. My goal is to share my observations of how students are interacting with titles as I learn more about what they are reading and why. Student directed reading of comprehensible materials is one of the most powerful ways we can facilitate comprehensible input for students.
Recently I purchased a copy of Familia Mala: Saturnus et Iuppiter by Andrew S Olimpi for the SDR library. It has quickly become a student favorite. I’ve discovered that materials for the Novice reader tend to struggle to accomplish compelling input. There is a fine line with repetition and a compelling narrative. Familia Mala walks the line of repetition and compelling, while retelling myths from antiquity. It literally brings about comprehensible antiquity.
Students enjoy learning about the myth of Saturn and they often tell me with confidence that they understand it from the Latin. Many of them have continued to read Via Periculosa and Filia Regis also authored by Olimpi. They comment on enjoying the style of a complete story line with just enough support with images throughout the text.
Familia Mala is a fantastic title to start a free reading program or a class novel reading. It is comprehensible, yet students do not seem to be deterred by repetition. Many of my level 2 and 3 students read it as well as a leisure read that keeps them engaged with Roman mythology. An early Novice learner will be able to read this title but many of my students emerging into Novice High or Intermediate Low choose it.