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Suggestion for a Form series Latin reader for each level

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    Suggestion for a Form series Latin reader for each level

    I'm finishing up teaching my children Third Form Latin this semester, and I have really appreciated the bite-size way the Form series introduces Latin. Having a background in Asian languages and NOT in Latin, I have appreciated being able to learn Latin while I teach my children Latin. My educational and work background is in second language acquisition, and when I first looked into the Form series two years ago, the one aspect that stuck out to me that I thought could be improved on was regular access to comprehensible input. I don't find the exercises in the workbooks to be enough input to build confidence. I didn't find any reader that accompanied the Form series, and so I went out and found a product we could use alongside the Form series (Lingua Latina: Familia Romana). It's worked great, going through one lectio per week for the past 75 weeks or so. But rather than suggesting a change before I used your material, I thought I should get some experience first. And, now, after finishing Third Form Latin, I would like to recommend that Memoria Press consider putting together level appropriate reading material for each Form level (at least the first three levels), using the vocabulary and grammar that is studied in the Form series.

    For example, for First Form, the material could simply be a series of numbered sentences or a simple paragraph of repetitive material for each chapter--e.g. The farmer likes the horse. The poet likes the farmer, etc. Repetitive material is not just okay; it's necessary at the early stages of acquisition. By the time a student gets to Second and Third Form, the types and numbers of sentences that Memoria Press could put together for each chapter could be in the hundreds. Language learners need lots and lots of comprehensible input, and usually that comes in audio form in early stages of language learning (at least it should, in my opinion). But with Latin, we have different goals--reading comprehension.

    My children have a great number of vocab words from the Form Series that that they have to work very hard through flashcard review to keep fresh enough to recognize it when they see it. The words they don't have to review as often are those that they've encountered through regular reading in context through Familia Romana. If a reader is not in the works, please consider this idea as a next step to the great curriculum you've already developed. Thank you--YuQiu

    #2
    Interesting idea.

    I literally have Familia Romana sitting right next to me as I type. I had pulled it off my shelves to consider its use as a summer project. My 6th grader is just about to finish SF Latin. We have worked like dogs to ensure his mastery of vocab from both FF and SF using the Hacks I posted about earlier this year. We drill forms, grammar, and vocab for nearly 30 mins *each* day. At this point, I feel like this book might be somewhat enriching, and yes, would provide a sense of accomplishment for him. Certainly, it can be used as a practice book over the summer.

    I can see a beneficial use for a leveled reader to accompany the Forms, and possibly especially since "every other" Latin program out there seems to be translation based. That element might make the Forms seem more "recognizable" for the mass audience, and especially for those who are comparing and contrasting Latin programs in the early stages. Even if the prospective user doesn't quite understand the genius of the Forms, as we all know, just getting started with the Forms is the goal. However, it's true that the Forms don't look like other elementary Latin programs.

    The biggest downside I can see is that a newer user might lose track of the Order of Things when learning Latin, and begin to prioritize the reader over Latin mastery. That would be a less beneficial use of time in the homeschool. If there were a reader produced, and now that I do know how to teach (and learn) Latin, I would probably assign a reading passage only on quiz days, to enrich and accompany that day, to reinforce and enliven our Latin studies on that day.


    Really, it's quite a good idea.





    Jen
    DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

    DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

    DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

    DS, 11 yrs, 6M: complete!

    All homeschooled.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for this recommendation. We take all recommendations from our customers seriously, and our curriculum reflects that. Cheryl Lowe was very committed to students not translating before they had mastered the grammar forms though and wanted students to concentrate their time on that. Our students have done very well on the AP Latin exam as 11th graders based on Cheryl's program (2017: 5 students took it and all got 5's; 2018: 11 students took it and 10 got 5's and 1 got a 4). So we know the program works as it is written.

      But we do get requests for readers regularly for those students who are ready for more. So we will put that back on the table as a consideration. You may see a supplemental reader someday. Personally, it sounds like a lot of fun to me!

      Tanya

      Comment


        #4
        Tanya,

        How does Lingua Angelica fit in with this? It is included in the same core package as First Form Latin, as well as listed in the recitation portion of the LC teacher guide. Should we be just listening to the music at these levels or is it okay to add some of the translation/parsing from the student book? I’m not quite sure how we should be utilizing this resource as we go.
        Holly,
        mom to:
        DD 16 & DS 13--8M
        DD 11 & DD 8--3A
        DS 4--jr. K

        Comment


          #5
          Holly,

          We use LA in our classrooms based on the students' knowledge and ability. With Latina Christiana, we just introduce the songs and prayers, memorize them, but don't parse anything. By First Form Latin, our students can do a little of the parsing, so we just do what they can do. Our LA books go with our students from year to year, and they add to their work as they learn more grammar. So they may revisit the Pater Noster 4 or 5 times as we continue to add parsing based on their continuing knowledge. When I was teaching, I liked to put the verse or prayer on the board that I wanted to talk about, and we went through it together that way. We would put the English underneath each Latin word, parsing if we could. If not, we just listed the vocabulary word. Then we would try our hand at an English translation.

          We never spend more than 15 min. a week on this exercise because we just don't have the time for it. But it is a good way to introduce students to what it looks like to translate an entire piece of text. And you can sing the songs too if the spirit moves you!

          Tanya

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks! That is very helpful!
            Holly,
            mom to:
            DD 16 & DS 13--8M
            DD 11 & DD 8--3A
            DS 4--jr. K

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by tanya View Post
              Holly,

              We use LA in our classrooms based on the students' knowledge and ability. With Latina Christiana, we just introduce the songs and prayers, memorize them, but don't parse anything. By First Form Latin, our students can do a little of the parsing, so we just do what they can do. Our LA books go with our students from year to year, and they add to their work as they learn more grammar. So they may revisit the Pater Noster 4 or 5 times as we continue to add parsing based on their continuing knowledge. When I was teaching, I liked to put the verse or prayer on the board that I wanted to talk about, and we went through it together that way. We would put the English underneath each Latin word, parsing if we could. If not, we just listed the vocabulary word. Then we would try our hand at an English translation.

              We never spend more than 15 min. a week on this exercise because we just don't have the time for it. But it is a good way to introduce students to what it looks like to translate an entire piece of text. And you can sing the songs too if the spirit moves you!

              Tanya
              Thank you, Tanya. That's very helpful! Even though we've done MP Latin for years, we've never worked through the LA books. I received our order of those and spent a few hours the other night trying to figure out what a normal week of Latin teaching would look like with LA included.

              Your ideas are helping to push my thoughts along. Thank you!
              Mama to 5 Sweet Ones

              2019-2020:
              9th grade DS: At a University-Model School this year plus Henle I at home
              7th grade DD: Mostly 7M Core and MPOA SFL
              5th grade DD: 5M
              3rd Grade DD: The one that doesn't fit nicely in a core ;) R&S 3rd Grade Math and Grammar, TS II, Prima, some MP2&3 Lit, CSII, Mammals
              2 yo DS Pudding Pie

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by tanya View Post
                Thank you for this recommendation. We take all recommendations from our customers seriously, and our curriculum reflects that. Cheryl Lowe was very committed to students not translating before they had mastered the grammar forms though and wanted students to concentrate their time on that. Our students have done very well on the AP Latin exam as 11th graders based on Cheryl's program (2017: 5 students took it and all got 5's; 2018: 11 students took it and 10 got 5's and 1 got a 4). So we know the program works as it is written.

                But we do get requests for readers regularly for those students who are ready for more. So we will put that back on the table as a consideration. You may see a supplemental reader someday. Personally, it sounds like a lot of fun to me!

                Tanya
                Hello Tanya,
                Thank you for your reply. I appreciate MP taking recommendations seriously. I have younger children who will be using the Form series in a few years, and I'd love for them to have access to these types of readers.

                Based on my experience training language teachers, I either disagree with or misunderstand what you've said above. I just don't see how the statement "very committed to students not translating before they had mastered the grammar forms though and wanted students to concentrate their time on that" fits with the sequence of work MP provides--i.e. there is a workbook with translation exercises in each chapter. That's a good thing, and those are done on the way to mastery, not done after mastery. There is no mastery without using and seeing a grammar form in many contexts, which is why there are exercises to help strengthen the grammar forms. So, I'm glad there is a workbook with translation exercises. I believe a reader would help strengthen those grammar forms more, as well as reinforce the vocabulary. If MP or Cheryl Lowe or anyone was committed to students not translating before mastering grammar forms, children would die by the wayside of the Latin road.

                And this is another reason why I'm recommending a reader--not just for vocabulary reinforcement but grammar mastery.

                I'm unsure of what I said that seems to have challenged the MP program, but after two weeks of thinking about this, I don't know what else to say except that I'm sorry to have challenged you or MP in some way. Otherwise, I don't know how to interpret your response on why a program that I thought I was praising needed to be backed up with data on how well your curriculum is already doing, without needing suggestions. (Besides the fact that the AP exam isn't the goal for some teachers; enjoying learning and enjoying the journey is the goal for some of us.)

                I was hoping to benefit and be benefited by the community with some more thoughts on using the Form series, but if MP is defensive with responses in the forum, I don't think I'll be posting anymore. Thanks again for your response. And again, I'm sorry for being offensive and causing this type of response.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hello, Yuqiu.

                  I am sorry that you feel I was criticizing you or that I came across as unhelpful. You are correct that our Forms books have lots of form drill practice that could be considered translation. And certainly by the end of Second Form, our students are translating sentences, but they are specific to the concept that we are teaching. When I talk about Cheryl's philosophy of no translation before mastering grammar forms, I am talking about students translating primary sources or stories written that include vocabulary and grammar forms that students don't yet know. It is impossible to find a reader that is ordered with the same vocabulary and grammar that our students know. We have the same philosophy about phonics. We don't ask our kindergarten students to read books that include phonetical concepts they haven't learned, so we tightly control their reading until they are comfortable with the entire alphabet, long vowels with silent e, blends, etc. We give them the time to build their mastery and confidence before handing them Little Bear in first grade.

                  After your original post, Michael and I did discuss how we could eventually add a little reader that would continue to honor Cheryl's philosophy. We are taking your suggestion seriously. We really like what you wrote here:
                  "For example, for First Form, the material could simply be a series of numbered sentences or a simple paragraph of repetitive material for each chapter--e.g. The farmer likes the horse. The poet likes the farmer, etc. Repetitive material is not just okay; it's necessary at the early stages of acquisition. By the time a student gets to Second and Third Form, the types and numbers of sentences that Memoria Press could put together for each chapter could be in the hundreds. Language learners need lots and lots of comprehensible input, and usually that comes in audio form in early stages of language learning (at least it should, in my opinion). But with Latin, we have different goals--reading comprehension."
                  This is exactly the kind of reader we could write that would stay true to our philosophy.

                  Right now, we have Lingua Angelica, which gives our students the example of what it looks like to translate from Latin to English, but as I said earlier, that is only introduced in our classrooms approximately 15 mins. a week because it does include concepts our students don't know. The bulk of our Latin time in the classroom is spent learning and practicing vocabulary and grammar forms (including the form drills and sentences written specifically for that purpose in the workbook).

                  I'm sorry that I made you feel uncomfortable and judged here. That absolutely was not my purpose. I was only intending to clarify why we don't have readers for our students at this time. I hope you will continue to communicate with us here on the forum. We welcome your views and opinions.

                  Tanya

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