A Prelude to Latin: Primi Gradus – First Steps Instructor’s Manual


The Primi Gradus Instructor’s Manual includes the Student’s Manual with all the answers and instructions for practical classroom teaching.

Release Date: Available
Format: Paperback (Print on Demand)

PREVIEW the first chapter!

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Course Description: Students will learn the fundamentals of Latin, play games, and memorize vocabulary during this year of Latin.

Course Prerequisites: There are none for this subject.

Course Objectives:

  • Students will understand the Latin alphabet and basic pronunciation.
  • Students will memorize Pater Noster.
  • Students will learn approximately 50 vocabulary words and be able to spell them correctly.
  • Students will be able to translate basic sentences.

Student Materials: Student book

Teacher Materials: Student book & teacher’s manual

Classroom Resources: overhead transparencies for workbook pages

Primary Teaching Methods:

Latin concept introduction, recitation, group work, games

Assessment and Evaluative Methods:

Individual recitation, tests, group work

Grading Criteria:

Effort and class participation = 100%        Grade reflected on report cards as a E,S, or N

Approximate time per week

Two classes a week, 15 min. per class.  Approximate homework per week is 30 min.

Course Sequence:


Quarter 1

Alphabet, pronunciation & accents

Vocabulary: Greetings, small talk, & good byes

Speaking exercises



Quarter 2

Review lesson I & II


Grammar: Cases and endings, singular/plural, noun jobs, and base




Quarter 3

Review lessons I, II, III


Review lesson III grammar




Quarter 4

Pater Noster, Review lessons I-IV


Grammar: conjunctions and declensions




Product Review

Composing textbooks for young students takes special care. For what we know is that good textbooks further spark the natural curiosity of young minds by nourishing them with a steady diet of coveted knowledge. What Daniel R. Fredrick and Deborah M. Loe have managed to achieve in their Prelude to Latin series is quite remarkable: within a four-volume set, they have rescued elements of a classical language education from the sole provinces of the university, for most universities have lost their initial interest in the classical world by squandering their opportunity to teach one of the foundational tenets of the humanities—Latin.

These introductory texts—designed for young students—recapture that initial classical spirit by achieving two important goals. First, the authors have made the initial learning of a complex foreign language interesting and fun for young minds. Second, this learning is presented relationally, proceeding from vocabulary through grammar to translation. This special combination makes learning Latin more accessible, congenial, and enlightening. This better prepares students for further linguistic study.
With Prelude to Latin, the authors make ample use of rhetorical hooks—starting with familiar words, using repetition to foster recursive learning, introducing contrary notions to illustrate comparisons—all of which allows students to build connections between Latin and English. This relational approach, as most educators understand, is valuable because students are best suited to grasp and retain related ideas.

These connections, I think, also broaden students’ horizons when they focus not only on the proper use of language (grammar), but also on the effective use of language (rhetoric). For what we hope is that the larger goal of gaining competence in language use will foster a competence in understanding abstract ideas. As teachers of language, we know that a grammatical and rhetorical understanding of language promotes a better comprehension of and a deeper sensitivity to the different states of the human mind and soul because human values are often given grammatical and rhetorical expressions in the form of statements, questions, commands, wishes, and prayers.

David Christopher Ryan
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, 2003

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