Last week, we started Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) in what I’m calling Free Reading Fridays, which is 10 minutes of independent reading at the start of class just before we do some kind of team game. It’s a great way to end the week. I wrote about how first year Latin students have had 143 minutes of FVR so far, but that’s been in segments of 3-5 minutes in the middle of class, with students choosing class texts from their folder. Last Friday was the first day they were able to sit in the back and choose anything from our library…
I also put stories from last year’s Latin classes on display in the library, and of course, everyone had the option of reading Latin from their folder. However, only 4 students chose to do so, the rest opting for a novella. This interest in reading and books is great. However, having read Rūfus lutulentus (20 words) and Quīntus et nox horrifica (52 words), there are only a few more books in that reading level range.
We need more novellas.
Authors have certainly been busy (now with 50 titles available!), but that list spans books appropriate for first month first year students up through adults with a BA in Classics. A lot of novellas are out of bounds for independent reading. There are still very few books that first year students can understand this time of year. I know what you’re thinking—just wait to begin reading independently, right? That’s certainly one solution, but the stats I shared last week on what novellas have already contributed would suggest otherwise.
Without novellas, students would have received 39% less input. That’s just from two novellas (one not even in its entirety!), and just in the last two weeks alone! There aren’t enough books to continue that pace. Imagine if we read one novella with <100 unique words per week, or had enough of those for students to choose and read independently for the entire rest of the year without getting bored with the selection. I already have plans to add another Free Reading day during the week, perhaps working up to the first 10 minutes of every single class, as well as eventually making Free Reading Friday last 20-30 minutes! Oh, and I’m talking about first year Latin students. Just think of the possibilities! For that, though, we need more novellas.
It’s Nation Novel Writing Month. Let’s get to it! Need ideas? Here are my Novella Writing Guidelines.