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Prima Latina - A Review

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It's hard for me to admit that to myself that they are old enough, but my baby girls are old enough to begin Latin. We recently had the opportunity to review Prima Latina through Memoria Press, and I finally gave up and acknowledged that my babies are growing up. The girls are thrilled. 
Prima Latina is an introductory program for students in grades 2nd-4th. It  is intended to precede Memoria Press' Latina Christiania I. Though it isn't necessary to complete this course before beginning Latina, it is a very nice way to gently introduce Latin and make tackling Latin grammar concepts much easier on both students and teacher. 
Prima Latina comes as a package which includes:
  • Student Book - The Student Book is nicely laid out and easy to read. I used it to do lessons with the girls orally, rather than have them write in it. You can view a sample here.
  • Teacher Manual - The Teacher's Manual looks just like the student book, but with the answers filled in. It also includes some tips, drill sheets, and tests. You can view a sample here.
  • Pronunciation CD  - Includes pronunciation as well as 4 hymns from Lingua Angelica.
  • DVDs - The instructional DVDs are geared directly to the student and include 9 hours of total class time. You can see a lesson sample here.
  • Flashcards - These are great for quizzing and drilling for daily practice. The cards in this set don't come in the same order as the words appear in lessons, so it takes some sorting. We prefer to make our own anyway; I think it really helps reinforce learning those vocabulary words.
 photo PL_completeSet_zps91680a55.pngThe lessons introduce 5 new Vocabulary words, Grammar, Derivatives, practical Phrases, and Prayers. There are 25 lessons, which take around 25 minutes each. There is a review after each 5th lesson. by the time students complete the course, they will understand the basic idea behind Latin Grammar (and that's a really big concept to grasp.) They will also know 25 latin expressions, 4 prayers, and their numbers from 1 to 10.
Older students could probably sit down and do a whole lesson within an hour. They aren't difficult lessons. But I make my students work slowly through it, watching the DVD one day, working in the workbook for two more days and quizzing each other daily. Some weeks, we've watched the same DVD lesson more than once, just to make sure we got it. 
Leigh Lowe is the instructor in the DVDs and the author of the program. Miss Leigh is a sweet teacher and she does an excellent job. However, it should be noted that Miss Leigh has a sweet southern accent that interferes with Latin pronunciation. I used one of her programs with my older students one year and they started giving "Navigo" an extra syllable, saying "Nah-We-Go-Uh". It should also be noted that this program uses an ecclesiastic pronunciation rather than classical. We usually teach classical, but I can see the practical side to learning ecclesiastic and opted to begin with ecclesiastic with this program. 
Prima Latina is an open and go program. It requires zero knowledge of Latin and zero hours of preparation. It really is fabulous to sit down and immediately start learning Latin. The program costs $90.90 for the complete package and well worth it. If you have knowledge of Latin and feel comfortable teaching it, the set can also be purchased without the DVD instructions or flashcards for $32.95.
Memoria Press carries many excellent products. Some of these have been reviewed by other crew mates, so you might want to take a look-see:


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"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo