I Am Reading Latin Series Set
By Marie Carducci Bolchazy
Illustrated by Kristie Stock
Translated by Mardah B.C. Weinfield
The "I am Reading Latin" series functions as an excellent opportunity to introduce your children to the Latin language as young as 4 years old. Through each story, primary children can learn:
- Quot Animalia? - the names of many common animals, and also Roman numerals for numbers 1-12 and 100.
- Quo Colore est? - many different colors and nouns commonly associated with those colors
- Quid Edam? - common breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods
- Quis me amat? - Latin words for family members
- I am Reading Latin CD - complete with Latin pronunciation of all four stories.
Experts recommend that children start a foreign language as early as possible.
Comments and Reviews
BUT THAT’S A BABY BOOK!
Although I have no children or relatives young enough to give the children’s series of Latin books to, I do delight in giving a copy to former Latin students as a baby gift for their children and to language teachers when they have their own children. I also like to use these four books in my college Latin class.
Marie Bolchazy created this series in order to respond to requests from customers for primary-level Latin books. Quot Animalia?, Quis Me Amat?, Quo Colore Est?, and Quid Edam? are written for 4- to 8-year-olds. But, just as adults learning to read English find children’s books helpful because they are manageable, beginning language students benefit from reading a Latin book written for children. While the repetition of words and sounds combined with the simple story line engage the students’ interest, the student is learning the language directly and reviewing vocabulary and forms.
One way I like to use these books is in a course called Understanding Spoken Latin. If I weren’t able to offer this one-credit course to upper level Latin students, I would incorporate the principles into the regular Latin classes. Because I want the students to concentrate on hearing the words and sounds instead of depending on seeing the spelling, I hide the Latin words and say them as I show the pictures. Then I give the students a list of ten words selected from the vocabulary to learn for their spoken vocabulary test the next week. Next we look at the pictures again with the vocabulary visible. The next week we practice again with the words hidden. Quis Me Amat? works particularly well because vocabulary the students are already familiar with (pater, familia, amat) increase their comprehension, and vocabulary extended from these words or others force them to listen to the pronunciation: patruus, consobrini, animadverto.
In my college elementary Latin course, I use Quid Edam? to present vocabulary for everyday foods, which (except for crustulum, mel, and mala) the students will not encounter in the Wheelock or other elementary texts. Last year one of my students consistently brought a box of orange juice to her 8:00 a.m. Latin class; because I couldn’t remember the Latin word, I used the occasion for reading Quid Edam? one day. I used the document camera to project the drawings. The students enjoyed the humor of the illustrations and the Latin asides written in them, chuckling and vocalizing each time vae appeared. The vocabulary reviewed their first- and second-declension noun endings and familiarized them with third declension nouns. The occasional verbs and adjectives provided good review in memorable contexts. After we found sucus, the glossary at the back with examples of English derivatives provided an English lesson.
Quot Animalia? is fun and helpful because the students are curious about animal names and can extend their vocabulary beyond their elementary text. Quot Animalia? also helps review singular and plural nominative forms in the different declensions and provides excellent practice with numbers. This year I will see if any student is up to the challenge of counting (in Latin) centum aranei. And I will pull out this book at the first sign of the class’ forgetting what the neuter plural is: animalia, animalia, ubique!
Likewise, Quo Colore Est? provides names of colors not available in the Wheelock text. The students were surprised at aurantiacus (to go with the sucus earlier) before they had a chance to make the connection between the spelling and sound. The illustrations provide a context for each color, and the three gender forms for nominative case are good review for later in the course when third-declension adjectives are being studied.
The practical vocabulary enhances the students’ conversational vocabulary and updates their etymological sense of an ancient language. Learning names of relatives, colors, food, and animals lets them see Latin as a living language, which indeed it is, as it lives on in the Romance languages and in English. The question words quot, quo, quis, and quid quickly become familiar in both sight and sound and can be modeled in other conversation in the class.
If you wish to use each book for particular review, this chart shows what each book is especially helpful for:
- Quot Animalia?: nominative singular and plural, numbers
- Quis Amat?: verb endings, nominative and accusative cases
- Quid Edam?: 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd- declensions
- Quo Colore?: 3rd- declension adjectives
No matter the age of your students, I think they will enjoy the diversion in class, while practicing their Latin simultaneously. They may also purchase a copy for their own young relatives and want to have their own copy to one day teach their own children the language they learned.
— Vicki Wine