James on SSR

I got this from James this morning:


Today for the first time I tried SSR. It was in a Latin 2 class. We went for 30 minutes (!) without a peep and, as I could observe, actual focus on the text. I think this was because they could actually understand what they were reading, so no need for disruptions. (The reading was simple stuff they had seen in the textbook last year, but this time they were actually able to read it fluently, that is, without looking up nearly every word in the dictionary.)

The whole time I was itching to “do” something as a teacher. I basically felt silly just watching them read. But man! Imagine how much they gained from simply reading with quiet focus. Like gardeners we need to resist the temptation to be always checking and prodding the roots.




4 thoughts on “James on SSR”

  1. Great to hear, Jim. For us Latin teachers who basically don’t have any materials that are comprehensible for first and second year students (including textbook readings which are so vocab heavy!), this may be a workable solution–until we create the readings ourselves. A few of us are already talking about postponing all but the earliest stories from the first year textbook to be read as a “novel” during the second year. Then we can say that we “covered” the readings, just in an order that reflects the order of acquisition more accurately.

  2. I love it, James. I wish you many more “silly” moments watching your students UNDERSTAND the langauge you are teaching them 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing James. That is encouraging to hear the kids read for so long!

    Makes me think of when I first became a Latin teacher and was just trying to read through the Cambridge stories myself – I couldn’t even read those for the first time through without constant stopping and looking at the gloss, and re-reading. And that was after about 30 units of college Latin. Especially at that time I felt sympathy for my students who were also having to read stuff that they were not ready for. It’s just that then I didn’t understand much about language acquisition and was trying to help them in the wrong ways (grammar, vocab memorization, etc.).

    Now I enjoy reading in Latin all the time, especially the Vulgate and translated novels. What a difference. Makes me all the more encouraged to keep working on creating some easy texts for our students.

  4. Thanks you guys so much for the positive words. If anything, the experience has made me even more enthusiastic about getting some extended reading materials in place for next year.

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