In my experience self directed reading, when students read what they choose, engage in extension activities to go deeper with their reading and monitor their progress, adds a rich element of acquisition to our Latin program. Students begin to write in Latin with vocabulary from the stories, which are many times not structures I have focused on in lessons. My hope is to continue a series of reviews of the many titles in our library with the purpose of offering as much information to teachers and readers as possible. We read 3 times a week. At the beginning of the school year we started with 5 minutes per session in levels 2-AP with 2 sessions a week for individual reading time and 1 session a week for book club with groups that student chose based on their preferences. Level 1 will start reading 2nd semester. The upper levels have worked their way up to 8 minutes of reading per session at this point in the year.
These reviews will be written from a teacher’s perspective who observes students reading habits in our program. Level 3 students have participated in self directed reading for 4 semesters now as I started reading with students their 2nd semester of Latin 1. Some of the level 3 students have read 15 or more Latin books in this time frame. This does not include the text we read as part of the curriculum that sprinkles history, mythology and student driven stories throughout the year.
Our library has many of Magister P’s novellas. We also have class sets of 35 of a few. Piso Perturbatus to use in conjunction with introducing students to family in Latin 1 and Piso Ille Poetulus with audio and teacher supplements as an introduction to Latin poetry at the end of Latin 2 or beginning of Latin 3. Each of Magister P’s titles offers a comprehensible story that offers frequent reading repetitions of high frequency vocabulary while offering Novice or early Intermediate level Latin readers a balanced introduction of reading Latin that they can handle. Syra Sola continues the trend with a comprehensible story that offers the Novice level student opportunities to read and understand place, preferences, motion, descriptors, and comparisons in Latin centered around places in Rome with interactions between young Romans about their preferences.
As Syra considers where many Romans might congregate she leads students to explore places such as the Roman Subura, Forum and Colosseum. She considers wanting to be alone which offers students numerous reading repetitions with structures like Syrae placet and esse solum. While she considers where Romans congregate and where she wants to be alone even the novice reader has ample opportunities to acquire prepositional phrases of place with the ablative and motion toward with the accusative case. When considering spaces that are full of Romans readers understand crowds of Romans expressed with a partitive genitive in Latin.
Syra Sola mostly remains in the present tense which is suitable for Novice level readers. As the reader explores different places with Syra they will come across animals in Latin in her travels. Although the story remains simple, rich details are expressed with many more grammar constructions such as various uses of the ablative like the ablative of instrument, the future verb tense and superlative adjectives.
The sheltered vocabulary offers a Novice level Latin reader opportunities to acquire some of these grammar constructions as a student is not bogged down by a lack of understanding of the plot of the story. Syra Sola fits well in a progression after the Rufus titles and Piso Perturbatus. A dedicated reader will be able to turn the pages fairly quickly. My students progress to Drusilla in Subura and Agrippina from Syra and Piso. Thanks to Magister P, students can easily read 6 or more books with a similar level. Don’t wait and add to your Latin acquisition now!