Self Directed Reading: My take on Free Voluntary Reading

My intent is to catalogue readers in a way that allows students to create reading plans and reading goals. My level choices have much to do with our Latin program. We left the Ecce Romani textbook in 2016. We offer AP Latin as a 4th year option that meets at the same time as the Latin 4 class. There is an attempt to use high frequency vocabulary from Caesar and Vergil throughout the program. As our organic curriculum continues to unfold these consistencies seem to return every year in our program.

  • Personal preferences, family and friend themes are frequent in level 1
  • Home, travel and views of others are frequent in level 2
  • Roman daily life, education, history and literature begin to appear in level 3
  • Beauty, leadership, and memory offer chances for Level 4 to connect with AP

These ideas affect the leveling system for my program. Certain vocabulary becomes familiar based on the content created in our curriculum. Consider what vocabulary may become familiar more quickly in your program and adjust titles in levels as needed. I’m convinced that a title could be a level B in my program based on vocabulary but could be a level C in your program or the opposite could be true. As I observe students, it seems the exact levels are not as important as a progression for students to follow as long as the titles are placed in a level that is within reason for the title.

Blogs with FVR/SDR/SSR thoughts and resources. 

Mike Peto – Mike’s thoughts on Free Voluntary Reading are universal.  Although a Spanish teacher, his writing style and direction for Free Voluntary Reading helped me to understand some of the important components to consider to create a successful reading program.

Magister P.  – You can start a reading library with Magister Piantaggini’s published novels at an affordable price.  But don’t miss his thoughts on Free Voluntary Reading while you browse the Pisoverse.

Comprehensible Classics – Magister Olimpi is another author who offers an opportunity to build a reading library affordably with just one author.  His year in F7 posts offer fantastic insight into the day to day thought process of facilitating CI in a classroom.

John Piazza – A fantastic post about how to create a library and thoughts about the process of a reading program.  John has also put together some pdf readers from textbook sources which are a great way to add some varied reading material early on.  Just be careful as most textbook readings are more difficult than perceived as they do not always shelter vocabulary.

Latin Novella Database (LNDB) – Useful quantitative data about Latin novellas. The core word count data is extremely helpful to organize a classroom library with a simple progression of reading. But there is even more data with a syntax analysis of each title. This will become the place to start for the organization of a classroom library, although you may have slight differences as you observe students interact with texts based on your specific teaching and curricular context.

Books about reading

SSR Handbook  – This is the resource to use to start a program with research, examples and ideas for reading response activities.  Here are some thoughts about the important ideas to flush out in your mind as you start a reading program.  See more at the following posts.

  • Access to reading materials.  What are creative ways to add reading materials outside of purchasing as many of the book titles listed below?
  • Routine.  It’s important to start students with less reading time than you think they are ready to handle.  It is much easier to work up to more than it is to work down.  Students’ perception of the time is important.  Reading for short amounts of time often is better than reading one big chunk once and awhile.  Students start to develop a reading routine which is a powerful driver of acquisition.
  • Response.  Students want to respond to reading.  But response opportunities should be a formative process.  How can you vary response activities so that all types of students have a chance to interact with their reading and with other people’s thoughts? I use ideas from Lee Jenkins Optimize Your School to offer students formative feedback about their progress.
  • Report.  Don’t evaluate and grade but it is important to report.  Teacher/student conferences, written responses to student responses and informal conversation all are important ways to report back to students.

My posts about my own Self Directed Reading Program.

Reflections during the 1st semester of my self directed reading program that was sustained.

Readers with AP Latin themes for lower levels.

Example Reading Log – a simple log that I use so that students can monitor their progress.  This is used as evidence toward a student’s proficiency, but mostly in a way that they are engaging in reading.  This falls under an interpersonal rubric I use to score their day to day processing of Latin.

Titles below with pictures within a level can be clicked to a review focused on my observations with the title with students.

New to our Library

by Peter Sipes
by Peter Sipes
by John Foulk
by Emma Vanderpool
by Emma Vanderpool
by Enmma Vanderpool

Quot Animalia
Quid edam?
Quo colore est?

Level A 

by Lance Piantaggini at Magister P
by Lance Piantaggini at Magister P
by Lance Piantaggini at Magister P

by Lance Piantaggini at Magister P

Arma Virumque Numero (from prima luce)

Passer Catulli (from prima luce)

Quid Agis, Achilles?

Rena Rhinoceros

Rufus et Gladiatores

Rufus et Lucia:  Liberi Lutulenti

Taurus Rex

Urusus et Porcus

Level B

Agripppina Mater Fortis
by Lance Piantaggini at Magister P
Ego Polyphemus
by Andrew Stephan Olimpi at Comprehensible Classics
Familia Mala: Saturnus et Iuppiter
by Andrew Stephan Olimpi at Comprehensible Classics

Drusilla In subura

Familia Mala:  Duo Fratres


Quintus et Nox Horrifica

Level C

by Ethan Floyd

De Torta Natalicia

Drusilla et convivium magarum

Livia Mater Eloquens

Pandora:  Familia Mala Volumen III

Via Periculosa

Level D

Clavis Apollonis

Filia Regis et Monstrum Horribile

Lucia Heros

Piso Ille Poetulus

Romulus et Rex:  a prehistoric legend

Templvm Romanvm

Level E

by Andrew Stephan Olimpi at Comprehensible Classics
In vineto an intermediate level Latin reader by Laura Shaw
An intermediate level Latin text by Laura Shaw.
Fortuna Fortibus Favet. An intermediate level Latin reader by Arianne Belzer and Isabella Pelegrin
Fortuna Fortibus Favet: viae variae patent by Arianne Belzer and Isabella Pelegrin.

A New Latin Primer

Bellovesus in Gallia



Fortuna Fortibus Favet:  viae variae patent

Maximus et Caecilia

Perseus et Medusa

Level F

by Rachel Beth Cunning at Bombax Press

Calio:  Fabula Latina

Cloelia Puella Romana

De Claustro Magico

Fabula de Sciuro Nuciola

Fabula de Petro Cuniculo

Fragmenta Pisonis Volumen I

Ira Veneris

Itinera Liviae et Amicorum

Kandake Amanirenas:  Regina Nubiae

Leonidas:  De Ducibus Graecis I

Medea et Peregrinus Pulcherrimus

Tres Fabulae Horrificae

Level G


Winnie Ille Pu

Alicia in Terra Mirabili

Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis

Harrius Potter et Camera Secretorum


Acta Muciorum

Arbor Alma

Cattus Petasatus


Orbis Pictus Latinus


Fabulae Divales:  Fairy Tales in Latin

Fabulae Mirabiles:  Fairy Tales in Latin

Odyssea Magistri Craft

Dominus Quixotus:  Eques Ultimus

Level H

Fabulae ab Urbe Condita

Latin Readings for Review

Ritches Fabulae Faciles

Cupid and Pysche

Auctores Latini

Carmina Amoris:  A tiered reader

Social Criticism Through Horace and Martial:  A tiered reader

Daedalus et Icarus:  a tiered Latin reader

Reckless Love

Villians from Vergil, Livy and Sallust

Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius


  1. Thanks for your thoughts. I will be implementing a reading program in my Spanish classes next school year. I do prefer how you called it: Student Directed Reading. I believe it might take away some excuses of “If it is voluntary, then I do not volunteer to read!”…


  2. Hercules Made Easy SPQR (Kindle book) is really easy and interesting to read (part of Fabulae Faciles
    Tres mures caeci Again Kindle is fun to read.
    Where would you put “Epitome Historiae Sacrae” Lhomond/Carfagni
    Ora Maritima Sonnenschein and Pro Patria Sonnenschein are interesting, but aren’t page turners


  3. New Level A Pisoverse Books by Lance Piantaggini
    Level A
    Familia Mala: Saturnus et Iuppiter
    Rufus Lutulentus (20 words) (year 1)
    Rufus et Lucia Lutulentus (28 words)
    Syra Sola (due 29 Oct 2018)
    Piso Perturbatus (36 words)
    Rufus et Arma Atra (40 words) (year 1)
    Rufus et Gladiatores 49-108 words)
    Taurus Rex
    Urusus et Porcus


    1. Are you sure those are all by Lance? I put titles into the list after I have a copy so I can at least look at the book when questions arise. It looks like I need to purchase Rufus et Lucia and Syra when it is out.


    1. Fiona Cantrix was Lance’s first stab at a novella, in draft form, and I had printed a few copies as a test run. I still have a few copies for sententimental reasons (takes place at my school!), but I don’t think he would want it circulating now, given all the excellent novellas he has produced since.


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