If you want your child to improve his vocabulary, one of the most efficient way to do so is to teach Latin roots. Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin: Derivatives I, published by Laurelwood Books, is a program designed to teach Latin roots and derivatives and/or to supplement a more formal study of Latin. The workbook can also be used with the Olim, Once Upon a Time readers and workbooks. The vocabulary is matched up with the Olim readers, but since Emily isn’t studying Latin, using the derivatives book by itself worked just fine. If you are studying Latin as a language, however, I think that including a English derivatives program is a great way to ensure that your student makes those connections that will improve his English vocabulary as well as his Latin knowledge.
Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin: Derivatives I is a 144 page consumable workbook that is written for 5th and 6th graders, but can be used for older and younger students as well. The book includes 15 chapters and at the recommended pace of 2 weeks per chapter, would take most of a school year to complete. The assignments for each chapter are similar, including:
- Tracing Latin vocabulary and English derivatives
- Fill in the blanks
- Matching derivatives with Latin words
- Fill in the blank stories
- Multiple choice definitions
- Story writing using the target derivatives
- Word searches and crossword puzzles
One of the activities that I thought was particularly good was matching Latin words with their derivatives. For example, the Latin words malus, mala, malum (meaning bad) are part of the English words, malicious, maleficent, malice, malaria, and malodorous. I think this exercise will train students to dissect unfamiliar words, looking for their roots to help decode their meaning. (Emily has been studying Greek roots over the past year, and I’ve frequently seen her break down words to figure out their meaning. It’s wonderful to see your student actually using the knowledge that she has been studying for school!)
Emily really enjoyed this program. At 16, she went through the exercises at faster than the recommended pace. She especially liked the story writing and fill-in-the blank stories, saying that these exercises helped her remember the target words better. She said it was “too easy” and that she would recommended it for 10-12 year olds (which is exactly what the publishers recommend). The English derivatives were easy for her; there wasn’t much new vocabulary. The Latin vocabulary was new to her however, and I know that exposure to it will help her decode other English words. Although she considered it “easy,” she informed me that if I didn’t assign her this book next year, she would just work through it for fun! For some reason, she LOVES studying word roots!
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Read reviews of Olim, Once Upon a Time in Latin: Derivatives I Laurelwood Books’ Scripture Scribe series, Patriotic Penmanship, Olim Once Upon a Time readers and workbook (These look really fun!), or State the Facts, A Guide to Studying Your State at the Crew Blog.