The companion text to Syra sōla is now available on Amazon.
Rūfus lutulentus, Rūfus et arma ātra, Agrippīna: māter fortis, and now Syra sōla all have companion texts, either as collections of additional stories via Expanded Readings (i.e. Rūfus et Lūcia: līberī lutulentī, Syra et animālia, and Rūfus et gladiātōrēs), or a parallel novella via Choose-Your-Own-Level Readings (i.e. Līvia: māter ēloquens). These books have a colored border, and more than one unique word count button to show the range throughout (depending on the level one reads), which corresponds the other Pisoverse books (i.e. light blue <50 words; dark blue 50-100 words; purple 100+ words). This word count button is intended to inform teachers of relative reading level, and help learners choose a book during Free Voluntary Reading (FVR). Thus, I refer to all these companion texts as “FVR readers.”
N.B. Even though the companion texts are all based on existing novellas, learners don’t need to have read the originals! They can exist independently as FVR reading options.
Syra et animālia is the latest addition to the FVR readers. The new companion text to Syra sōla features the most super clear cognates in a Pisoverse novella to date, with 60! In this book, Syra encounters various animals around Rome on her quest for a pet. Familiar Pisoverse characters make appearances throughout, such as the arrogant Terrex, who we learn has a pet ape he doesn’t like and never named, and a pet peacock he adores, named Pāvopapī!
Here’s how the FVR readers work, and can be used…
Aside from providing additional exposure to the vocabulary from the original novellas, the FVR readers support the transition to novellas at higher levels. For example, a learner understanding the 40 words of Rūfus et arma ātra will be in a much better position to read the 58 words of Drūsilla et convīvium magārum after reading the companion text, Rūfus et gladiātōrēs (49-104).
Rūfus et Lūcia: līberī lutulentī plays a special role in the series. The introductory Latin novella, Rūfus lutulentus, is so small in scope (20 unique words!) that it could be read within the first months of school without any assistance. However, the next Pisoverse novellas aside from Syra sōla have about twice as many words! Reading all of Rūfus et Lūcia: līberī lutulentī, then, will expose learners to a wider vocabulary net (70 words, over half of which are super clear cognates!). This wider net supports the reading of other novellas with 40+ words. The other FVR readers work the same way, providing a bit of scaffolding.
Here are ways to use the FVR readers…
- Shorter, Faster Reads
The shorter stories and scenes contained in the FVR readers can be read much faster than an entire novella. They still have a narrative focus throughout, but each story could be self-contained, which would be helpful in programs with infrequent, and/or a small amount of independent reading time.
- More Input
Simply put, the Pisoverse FVR readers are novel sources of input within a familiar context. They’re ready-to-read without any prep.
- Fast Processors
The shorter stories and scenes could also be more interesting for faster processors who don’t need as much repetition/recycled vocabulary found in the original novellas. For example, these learners might fly through novellas with low word counts. However, they would likely find the highest level of the Choose-Your-Own Līvia: māter ēloquens quite challenging, especially when reading independently during Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) time.
- Reading Activities
The stories in the FVR readers are taken from Pisoverse novellas that have accompanying supplemental materials in 8.5 x 11 size. I print those full pages from the Teacher’s Materials/Guide to use for various reading activities. However, I also read the stories as a whole class later on using the FVR reader in the smaller novella format. How?! I’ve found that learners don’t necessarily remember shorter texts they read a couple weeks prior, especially when reading activities have a particular purpose (e.g. Read & Draw, Read & Translate, competitive games, etc.).