Frequently Asked Questions about
Learn to Read Latin
by Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russell

  1. How does LTRL differ from other Latin textbooks?
  2. For what level of student is LTRL intended?
  3. Is LTRL appropriate for home schooled students?
  4. What is in the TEXTBOOK and what is in the WORKBOOK?
  5. Is it necessary to use the WORKBOOK, or is the TEXTBOOK complete on its own?
  6. Is there a teacher's edition or an answer key available?
  7. What other support is available for teachers or home schoolers using LTRL?
  8. Are there sample syllabi available?
  9. Is it necessary for students to bring both TEXTBOOK and WORKBOOK to every class?
  10. Do students need to have a firm knowledge of English grammar before beginning their study of Latin through LTRL?
  11. What determined the content and size of each chapter?
  12. Why is the vocabulary listed first in each chapter?
  13. How are the vocabulary lists organized?
  14. How should the Vocabulary Notes be used? Is it necessary to memorize all the information in them?
  15. How many sections can be covered in a class?
  16. How should the Drills be used in class?
  17. Must students have learned new vocabulary in order to do the Drills?
  18. Why aren't there more short readings early in the book?
  19. Why does Chapter I have no verbs or Drill Sentences?
  20. There are over eighty Drill Sentences in Chapter 2. Is it expected that students will translate all of them?
  21. There are several sections that fall between chapters. How are these to be used?
  22. Why are there so many short and longer readings from Chapter 7 onward, and how does one choose among them?
  23. What are the Handouts, and how are they used?
  24. Additional questions?


    back to top

  1. How does LTRL differ from other Latin textbooks?

    1. The long-range goal of LTRL is to teach students to read Latin, not to translate it. All the Drills, Drill Sentences, and, most important, the readings taken from a broad range of Latin authors, were written or chosen to illustrate not only new morphology and syntax but also to emphasize the substantial rewards of reading Latin in Latin word order.
    2. With its WORKBOOK LTRL is designed to be comprehensive. No additional books need be purchased. For a fuller description of what is included in LTRL, see below.
    3. LTRL seeks to introduce students to the Roman world through the reading of actual passages of Latin literature. The authors represented in the text range from Plautus and Ennius to Macrobius, but the major authors of the classical period are most represented: Cicero, Caesar, Livy, Sallust, Catullus, Vergil, and Ovid. Thus LTRL is an introductory grammar and reader in one.



    back to top

  2. For what level of student is LTRL intended?

    LTRL has been used and is intended to be used by students beginning to learn Latin as early as 8th grade in middle school, by students in high school, and by students at the college level. LTRL assumes only a serious interest in learning Latin well and thoroughly.


    back to top

  3. Is LTRL appropriate for home schooled students?

    The authors believe that LTRL would make an excellent TEXTBOOK for home schooled students because of its comprehensiveness. Nothing new in Latin or English grammar is introduced without a thorough discussion. In addition, there are many brief imperative sentences in small capital letters that are addressed directly to the student. These are intended to make sure that no point that must be learned well is overlooked. The inclusion of extensive reinforcing drills in the WORKBOOK and the availability of an answer key for the WORKBOOK should also greatly aid the home schooled student. Finally, through this website the authors may be contacted directly for consultation by parents or students who are using LTRL to learn Latin. Questions and comments from those who are home schooling are encouraged by the authors, who are seeking to find ways to make LTRL responsive to the needs of the home schooled student.


    back to top

  4. What is in the TEXTBOOK and what is in the WORKBOOK?

    1. The TEXTBOOK

      Each chapter begins with a list of new words to be memorized. The vocabulary for each chapter has been chosen to provide students with words that appear commonly in as wide a variety of classical authors as possible. In many chapters certain pieces of morphology and syntax must be presented in conjunction with new vocabulary, but the vocabulary is placed first to emphasize its importance and to encourage its acquisition by the student as early as possible in the study of each chapter.

      Vocabulary Notes, which follow the word list in each chapter, include important information about the form of vocabulary entries and new morphology for ease of reference. These notes are meant to be consulted often as students master the material for each chapter. For the student who is curious about the development of the Latin language, information about word formation is also included.

      Following the Vocabulary Notes in each chapter, there is a short list of English words that are cognate with or derived from the new vocabulary in that chapter.

      Following the Vocabulary Notes in each chapter are sections introducing new morphology and syntax. There are regular indications throughout each chapter of when it is appropriate to turn to the drills provided in the WORKBOOK (see below on the WORKBOOK).

      Beginning with Chapter II the introduction of new material is followed by a section of short readings, unabridged Latin passages drawn from a wide range of ancient authors. Each passage is preceded by a brief introduction to establish context and is followed by vocabulary glosses for words that do not appear in chapter vocabularies.

      Beginning with Chapter IV each section of short readings is followed by a section of longer readings, also unabridged Latin passages. Included here are brief biographies of the authors and descriptions of the works from which the readings are taken.

      The sections of short and longer readings are organized in chronological order to provide the student with a basic knowledge of the history and development of Latin literature and to foster an interest in its further study.

      Beginning in Chapter X each section of longer readings is followed by a section of continuous readings. Two poetry passages (from Vergil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphoses) are presented with brief introductions and appropriate vocabulary glosses. Beginning in Chapter XI two extended prose passages (from Cicero's Oratio Prima in Catilinam and Sallust's Bellum Catilinae) are added.

      The TEXTBOOK contains a comprehensive Latin-to-English vocabulary list, a morphology appendix, and an index of authors and passages included in the TEXTBOOK.



    2. The WORKBOOK

      The WORKBOOK contains drills designed to be used in three ways: to reinforce new material as it is being introduced, to be assigned as written homework, and to be used by the teacher in remedial or individual work. Therefore, many more drills are included than any individual teacher might wish to use.

      Drills use new vocabulary only when new material requires it. For example, when third-declension noun morphology is introduced, it is necessary to make use of new third-declension nouns in order to drill new forms.

      When appropriate, drills that focus on English grammar are also included.

      Drill Sentences are also provided for each chapter. These sentences are synthetic Latin and have been written to allow comprehensive practice for all new vocabulary, morphology, and syntax introduced in a chapter. Care has been taken to reuse and thus reinforce vocabulary from earlier chapters as well. Drill Sentences include both sentences in Latin to be translated into English and sentences in English to be translated into Latin.

      The WORKBOOK also contains a series of Handouts, which provide useful summaries of new material in each chapter. There are between one and three Handouts for each chapter, and these may be torn out of the WORKBOOK (all pages are perforated) and used by teachers as part of their introductory lectures and by students as handy reference sheets while doing their homework.

      There are also several different synopsis forms included in the back of the WORKBOOK. These may be torn out and reproduced by student or teacher.

      There is a morphology appendix, a Latin-to-English, and an English-to-Latin vocabulary list for easy reference while students are doing their homework or studying for tests and quizzes.



    back to top

  5. Is it necessary to use the WORKBOOK, or is the TEXTBOOK complete on its own?

    Although LTRL is written to be as flexible as possible and to allow the individual teacher to shape her or his course, the TEXTBOOK and WORKBOOK should be used together.

    In the WORKBOOK are drills that reinforce new material as soon as that material is introduced. In addition, there are Drill Sentences with each chapter beginning with Chapter 2, which are designed to reinforce the new vocabulary, morphology, and syntax of each chapter. Care has been taken to reuse and thus reinforce vocabulary from earlier chapters as well. Drill Sentences include both sentences in Latin to be translated into English and sentences in English to be translated into Latin.

    Enough Drills and Drill Sentences have been provided for teachers to use some in class when introducing material, assign others for written homework, and use still others for individual or remedial work.

    The WORKBOOK also contains a series of Handouts, which provide useful summaries of new material in each chapter. There are between one and three Handouts for each chapter, and these may be used by teachers as part of their introductory lectures and by students as handy reference sheets while doing their homework.

    Thus, the reinforcing material that allows students to attain proficiency in new material is included in the WORKBOOK, and the authors intended the two books to be used together.

    As one proceeds through the TEXTBOOK and students become more proficient in Latin, a larger number of readings is provided, and readings are meant to form an ever larger part of the learning process. It is possible in the later chapters to choose among the readings in order to practice new morphology and syntax and thus reduce the use of the WORKBOOK. However, even in these later chapters new material is most efficiently reinforced with the drills provided for appropriate sections.


    back to top

  6. Is there a teacher's edition or an answer key available?

    There is an answer key for the WORKBOOK available through this website. This answer key is intended for teachers, parents of home schoolers, and individual learners. For access, please contact Yale University Press by emailing language.yalepress@yale.edu.




    back to top

  7. What other support is available for teachers or home schoolers using LTRL?

    Questions and comments may be directed via e-mail to either of the authors, Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russell.

    The authors are also interested in whether a workshop (of three to five days in length) would be useful to teachers using LTRL for the first time. This workshop would include sessions on course planning, teaching introductory material, practice teaching of various portions of the book (by participants as well as by the authors), and quiz- and exam-writing. If you are interested in such a workshop, please e-mail Karen Stickler at language.yalepress@yale.edu.


    back to top

  8. Are there sample syllabi available?

    The authors will gladly provide their own syllabi and give advice on the shaping of a syllabus. Those who are using LTRL are encouraged to e-mail their syllabi to the authors (akeller@collegiateschool.org or srussel @collegiateschool.org) if they are willing to have them made available.


    back to top

  9. Is it necessary for students to bring both TEXTBOOK and WORKBOOK to every class?

    The WORKBOOK is produced on perforated paper, and many students choose to tear out the pages containing the Drills and Drill Sentences that belong to the chapter currently being studied. Thus it is only necessary to carry the smaller TEXTBOOK along with a small number of WORKBOOK pages.


    back to top

  10. Do students need to have a firm knowledge of English grammar before beginning their study of Latin through LTRL?

    The prior study of another language may be helpful, but it is certainly not necessary.

    While knowledge of English grammar is helpful for the acquisition of a new language, the authors are aware of the increasing rarity of grammatical study in many schools. Examples are included, in both English and Latin, of each new element of syntax, and careful comparisons between the grammars of English and Latin are made whenever possible. English drills are often provided to reinforce basic grammatical concepts.


    back to top

  11. What determined the content and size of each chapter?

    In general, content was determined by a desire to put together morphology and syntax most easily taught together and to have a logical progression of topics from chapter to chapter. Vocabulary lists contain words that appear commonly in a wide variety of Latin authors, and in individual chapters words were included that fit neatly with the morphology and syntax of that chapter and allowed for the creation of synthetic Latin sentences that accurately reflected real Latin usage.

    The authors of LTRL found that more interesting and complex Latin sentences reinforcing new material could be written if care was taken in the choice of vocabulary and in the size of the vocabulary lists. The authors also sought to ensure that each new vocabulary word was used at least five times in the synthetic Latin sentences or short readings without straining real Latin usage in the synthetic sentences.




    back to top

  12. Why is the vocabulary listed first in each chapter?

    The vocabulary list is placed first to emphasize its importance and to encourage its acquisition by the student as early as possible in the study of each chapter.


    back to top

  13. How are the vocabulary lists organized?

    Vocabulary lists are organized by parts of speech. The overall organization for each chapter's list is as follows:
    • Nouns (first through fifth declension nouns listed separately and in alphabetical order within declension)
    • Verbs (first through fourth conjugation verbs listed separately and in alphabetical order within conjugation followed by irregular verbs)
    • Adjectives (first-second declension adjectives and third-declension adjectives listed separately and alphabetically within each type)
    • Other words (including prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions, and particles)



    back to top

  14. How should the Vocabulary Notes be used? Is it necessary to memorize all the information in them?

    Much essential information is included in the Vocabulary Notes, and the student should always read them. The teacher should identify the most important points that must be memorized by the student. Particularly in the early chapters, important information about the form of vocabulary entries and new morphology is also included in the Vocabulary Notes. This information is included for ease of reference, and the student should consult these Vocabulary Notes often while mastering the material in each chapter.

    Since many Latin words have a broad range of meanings in addition to those included in the vocabulary list, additional meanings of many words are included in the Vocabulary Notes. As students work through the drills, Drill Sentences, and readings, they should consult Vocabulary Notes for more specialized meanings of particular words in certain contexts. It is often useful for the teacher to turn back to the Vocabulary Notes while reading with students in class and to draw attention to these additional meanings.




    back to top

  15. How many sections can be covered in a class?

    The number of sections that may be covered in a class varies greatly according to the size of the section, the minutes of a class period, and the level of the class. Therefore, no general rule can be given. When introducing new material, it is important to turn as soon as possible to the drills to allow the student a chance for active reinforcement. Individual introductory classes should be organized so that they conclude with a drill and do not end with the introduction of a section to which a drill is not immediately attached. (For example, §2 does not have a drill, and classes should be arranged so that §2 and §3 are introduced on the same day and the drill for both sections may be begun.)


    back to top

  16. How should I use the Drills and Drill Sentences in class?

    Drills and Drill Sentences are intended to be used in three ways: to reinforce new material as it is being introduced; to be assigned as written homework; and to be used by the teacher in remedial or individual work. Thus, some drills will be done by students as soon as the teacher has finished introducing new material and at sight with the rest of the class. Others may be done on ensuing days at sight to give students further opportunities to master new material.


    back to top

  17. Must students have learned new vocabulary in order to do the Drills?

    Only vocabulary from earlier chapters is used in Drills unless new material requires the use of new vocabulary. For example, when third-declension noun morphology is introduced, it is necessary to make use of new third-declension nouns in order to drill new forms.


    back to top

  18. Why are there not more short readings early in the book?

    With a very few exceptions, LTRL does not change or abridge the readings that it includes because the authors believe firmly that the best way to learn to read Latin in Latin word order is to study unabridged Latin. The readings have been chosen to reinforce vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, but also to provide examples of patterns of word order of actual Latin prose and poetry. Because nothing has been abridged, readings are only included when students have mastered essential pieces of Latin morphology and syntax.

    It should also be noted that the synthetic Latin sentences in the WORKBOOK include, to best of the authors' abilities, only usages found in extant Latin. Often exact phrases drawn from classical authors have been included in these sentences, and thus the Drill Sentences assume a particular importance in the first half of the book.

    As students become able to cope with greater amounts of unabridged Latin, the number of Drill Sentences decreases.


    back to top

  19. Why does Chapter 1 have no verbs or Drill Sentences?

    In the first chapter the emphasis is on noun morphology and syntax and on the importance of understanding the concept of case. The authors believe that case represents the single greatest challenge to the English-speaking student. Experience has taught that drills and exercises in the WORKBOOK for Chapter I are the most efficient way of allowing a new student to acquire an understanding of this essential concept.


    back to top

  20. There are over eighty Drill Sentences in Chapter 2. Is it expected that students will translate all of them?

    LTRL includes more drills and Drill Sentences than most teachers may wish to use. How many sentences are to be assigned should be determined by the individual teacher. Many teachers choose to assign some sentences for written homework, while reserving others for sight translation in class and still others for work with individual students.


    back to top

  21. There are several sections that fall between chapters. How are these to be used?

    These sections on Roman names and numbers, on metrics, and on rhetorical terms, for example, should be studied as seriously as each chapter. Some of these sections even contain a few vocabulary words that the student is expected to learn, and all will greatly enhance the student's reading and appreciation of the authentic Latin passages in the chapters.


    back to top

  22. Why are there so many short and longer readings from Chapter 7 onward, and how does one choose among them?

    For several reasons, more readings have been provided than can probably ever be done in an ordinary introductory Latin class. First, the authors are committed to the idea that students learn to read Latin best through the reading of actual Latin passages. Second, the large selection available from Chapter 7 on is intended to allow teachers to make choices about readings based both on their own interests and the amount of class time available to them. Some teachers may wish to emphasize poetry more than prose, others the opposite. Some may have class four or five times a week, others three. Third, the authors hope that the wide choice of readings available will allow teachers to tailor some readings to the interests of particular classes. The different lengths of readings allow teachers to fit readings into the class time available.

    Because each passage has an introductory sentence that sets context and includes vocabulary entries for words that do not occur in the chapter vocabulary lists, each may be read at sight easily.

    All of the readings are chosen to allow practice in new vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, as well as to refresh students' knowledge of older material.


    back to top

  23. What are the Handouts, and how are they used?

    For each chapter, between one and three handouts are provided at the back of the WORKBOOK. These handouts summarize and present the essential new morphology and syntax in each chapter. Students have found these handouts an invaluable resource in mastering new material, and they often use them when they are doing their homework. Many teachers use these handouts as an teaching aid while they are introducing new material. In some cases, students remove the handout from the WORKBOOK and keep it before them as new material is introduced more formally by the teacher. (This can be particularly valuable when introducing new morphology.) In other cases, teachers have students remove the handout when they turn to the drills to reinforce the presentation of new material.


    back to top

  24. Additional questions may be addressed to the authors through e-mail. In general, questions regarding the use of LTRL at the college level may be directed to Andrew Keller; questions about its use at the middle and high school level may be directed to Stephanie Russell. However, both authors are willing to help new users in any way that they can.







    Last updated: 18 December 2012