Dr. Seussís Guide to Latin Grammar

LeaAnn Osburn
Barrington High School

One of the Latin teacherís toughest challenges is how to encourage students to undertake frequently needed grammar practice sessions and grammar reviews.  Most textbooks provide exercises or reading selections but these are quickly exhausted.  Many supplemental books also provide exercises but they are of the same type as those in the textbook.  Thus teachers are left searching for a new and different way to practice a concept or review with students Ė a way that will motivate and entice students to enjoy what is usually viewed as a dull chore.

One solution to this perennial problem can be found in the newly available neo-Latin translations of popular, nostalgic childrenís books such as Arbor Alma, Cattus Petasatus, Quo Modo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit, Ferdinandus Taurus, Regulus Vel Pueri Soli Sapiunt and even the venerable Winnie Ille Pu.  Any of these books can be used with the methods I will describe in this presentation but my examples will be taken from Dr. Seussís Cat in the Hat, translated into Latin by Terence and Jennifer Tunberg.

Students of all ages whether elementary, middle/high school or college students love the whimsical qualities of Dr. Seussís tales and remember the story from their childhood with fondness.  Thus the students do not necessarily have to be able to read every line of Cattus Petasatus to practice a selected grammatical item such as participles.  They can concentrate on the participles while remembering the plot of the book from childhood or refresh their memory by a glancing at the wonderful illustrations.   In this way, the review of a grammar topic can be entertaining (mirabile dictu) while providing them with the necessary practice needed to master the selected aspect of Latin grammar.    This presentation will identify which grammatical topics are encountered frequently enough in Cattus Petasatus to enable a review or a practice session to be done and will show different methods of review using examples from the text of Cattus Petasatus.