FVR Library Question

John sent this and basically cleverly answered his own question:

Ben,

I have a question for you and the blog members regarding the challenges facing teachers of obscure languages in establishing FVR libraries. For first year Latin students, comprehensible and compelling readings simply do not exist. I want to be one to change this, but it will take a long time. In the meantime, I am racking my brain about how to create a library that students can read from on their own. One idea I have is far from ideal, but it seems to me to be the only option. This is dual-language books. So I might take a very simple picture book, or an advanced kids’ reader with illustrations, and simply add Latin text to the pages. This way, students, even during the first semester of study, could pick up a book, any book, and learn something in/about Latin while they are looking at a book they are interested in. It is comprehensible input, it is chosen by students, and it is low anxiety, because the English is right there. I was wondering whether, in your opinion (and that of the blog members), this is a viable option for FVR when the alternative is to have no reading resources for year 1 and 2 students.

Thanks

John

My response is that yes, all we need is a kid’s book in English and then we have to go to the trouble of scotch taping the Latin or whatever language over the English. Instant Latin book. Instant library? No, it would take time, as John said, but hey, it’s a great way to solve a difficult problem.

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6 thoughts on “FVR Library Question”

  1. Question. You mentioned taping the Latin over the top of the English. Wouldn’t it be preferable to have both, since students could use the English to establish meaning? I have a few books in my collection that are bilingual, and some of the students really like that (although I suppose they could be lazy and only read the English, or not be advanced enough to correlate the two languages correctly).

  2. I am talking about creating a bi-lingual book, with both English and Latin text, to provide somewhat of an analogous experience to the L1/L2 reading class described over the past week. Low pressure, reading CI, constant reference to the English building connections in the unconscious mind, etc.

  3. I’m thinking no on the dual language visual deal. It’s one thing when they hear the L1 when reading L2, but another when they can read both. I really don’t know. We need Jody or Laurie to comment on this.

  4. When I studied Latin in Brazil…eons ago, we had to make dialogues and skits in class – and put on a school play. It totally astonishes me, that we pretend it is not a “spoken” language. Were the Roman’s mimes? Maybe this is the time to…revive it…

    Also, in my current school, 2 years of f.l. are required. I get the feeling…that some take it so they don’t have to “speak”…

  5. Two other possibilities:

    Write a book with the class through the year, then “publish” it and put copies out for students to read.

    Have the “advanced” students write their own book for other students to read. I use this as a “project final” for level 4AP. Students spend the last couple of class periods and final exam day reading their stories to one another. They go through the entire writing process from initial idea through first draft, editing, peer editing, first submission (to me) to final product. Don’t tell anyone, but the grade is based primarily on how seriously they take the project rather than how perfect it is. Of course, the students who take this seriously consistently turn in the best products. I take the ones of sufficiently good quality and interest and put them out for FV R. One of the strictures of writing is that they have to use vocabulary they already know and have a limit on how many words they are allowed to look up. I remind them that they are writing for an audience that doesn’t have as much language as they do, so if they have to look words up, the target audience will be lost. Unfortunately I have to keep reminding them of this because everyone else seems to want them to produce works of great literature when they write, so they think they have to “impress” me. The way they impress me, though, is by writing something that my levels 1 and 2 can understand.

    Remember that this writing project is level 4, not level 1 or 2. By the end of level 4 my students are ready for the challenge of this kind of output and are very proud of their work, justifiably so.

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