Fīlum Fātī Series

The Fīlum Fātī series is designed for beginning-level Latin students. The books are particularly aimed at a TPR- and TPRS-based curriculum but their focus on high-frequency words and structures will complement any textbook series. Engaging stories and natural, easy-to-read language make these books a wonderful introduction to reading extended Latin. They also reinforce cultural knowledge, since each story draws inspiration from Greco-Roman mythology and other familiar tales.

Parcae fīlum tortum texunt. The fates weave a twisted tale.

Students will love following the stories of modern teenagers drawn into the world of Greco-Roman myth, and since each book contains a full Latin-English glossary, the stories can be read together in the classroom or independently at home. Even higher-level students will enjoy the simple yet entertaining format — a perfect way to review and reinforce fundamental skills.

All the books in the series are available on Amazon.

Clāvis Apollinis

ClavisApollinisClāvis Apollinis, the Key of Apollo, is the first book in the Fīlum Fātī series. Quīntus is a typical boy who loves sports and games but doesn’t care for school. An unexpected gift from a facetious god gives him a new outlook on legends and heroes, and the courage to impress a girl that he’s fallen in love with. Clāvis Apollinis can be read very early in almost any Latin curriculum. The book uses only 168 vocabulary items, a third of which are easy cognates like mūsica and common conversational phrases like Salvē and Nōmen mihi est.  This introductory book focuses on core usage of noun cases and verb conjugations. Most of the vocabulary and structures are introduced in the first chapter, so students can read with increasing independence.

Iter Īcarī

IterIcariIter Īcarī, the Voyage of Icarus, is the second book in the series. We all know the woeful tale of Icarus. But what really happened when he flew too close to the sun? What if he found himself at the feet of Athena in the Nashville Parthenon? Would anyone believe him? Would Athena hear him? Can his new friend Clāra help him get home? Iter Īcarī uses approximately 330 vocabulary items, half of which are introduced in Clāvis Apollinis, the first book of the series. The book includes thorough usage of all noun cases and present-tense verb conjugations — along with pronouns, relatives and demonstratives — within the context of a meaningful and easy-to-follow narrative. To foster interest in authentic literature, each chapter begins with a relevant quote or saying, with translations provided at the end of the book.

Deus Pater (Coming Soon)

deuspater_coverDiāna is used to feeling lonely and bullied, and her new school doesn’t turn out to be the new start that Diāna’s mother hoped for. Everything changes when Diāna finds herself in the middle of a quarrel between two gods. Who is her new friend? Did her father really abandon her? Does she have the courage to help her family, a much bigger family than she ever imagined? Deus Pater expands on the vocabulary and structures introduced in the preceding books and includes usage of participles, the preterit and the imperfect. The book also touches on a broader range of mythology than its predecessors, sparking opportunities for cultural exploration. As with Iter Īcarī, each chapter begins with a quote from authentic Latin sources, with translations provided at the end of the book.

Fīlum Fātī (Coming Soon)

filumfati_coverQuīntus, Clāra, Diāna — each has been on an incredible journey to find inner courage, but the tale is just beginning. The Fates are bringing these three young people together, and all their mythological friends and foes will be joining them. Where is destiny leading them, will they make it there in time, and most importantly, whom do the fates really favor? Fīlum Fātī ties the three preceding books together in a moving narrative that defies time and space. The beginning will help students recall events from the previous books, and the ending will leave students with a sense of accomplishment. This final book in the series includes more frequent use of the preterit and imperfect and also introduces the future and subjunctive.

Scope of Content

Each word, idiom and structure is carefully chosen to ensure that students get as many exposures as possible. The new content of one book becomes the familiar foundation in the next, and the progression is very gradual and natural. The introduction of new language patterns is guided by the narrative, so the purpose of each structure is concrete and memorable. The chart below shows which types of structures are frequently used in each book.

In terms of word count, regular nouns and verbs are counted as a single word, regardless of how many forms are used in the book. Phrases and irregular forms are glossed and counted separately. Much of the vocabulary in a preceding book reappears in the next. For example, the 329 words of Iter Īcarī include many of the 168 words from Clāvis Apollinis.

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Free Teacher Materials

You can view the glossary for each book to help you decide which parts of the series will work best for your students and your curriculum. Glossaries give the standard dictionary form of regular nouns and verbs. Phrases and any forms that are irregular or significantly different from the word-stem are glossed separately.

Using the Books

The Fīlum Fātī series is designed with both students and teachers in mind. I believe a little teaching should go a long way. Students and teachers alike deserve the sense of reward that comes with being able to use new skills thoroughly.

My students are usually able to read Clāvis Apollinis comfortably after about fifteen hours of instruction. Imagine the pride students feel in reading their first Latin book after only a few weeks of class! Of course, you don’t have to begin the book that soon. You may have other objectives in your curriculum. What I want you to know is that it doesn’t take much time at all to get your students started in this series. And once you’ve started, the amount of new material in each chapter and book steadily decreases.

The vocabulary is also purposefully generalized. I want students to able to extract words and patterns from each chapter and use them to talk about their own lives and write their own stories. I want you, the teacher, to be able to do the same. Whether you teach Latin for acquisition or for classical comprehension, whether you’re filling in stories or paradigms, I want you to be able to use the series for more than just isolated reading practice.

Each chapter hinges around a core of concrete vocabulary. Students can learn these words quickly, and they’re easy to practice with props, visuals and actions. Those words appear over and over again in the chapter, and carefully-chosen contexts and word order make it easier for students to grasp variation in form. Even the typography and punctuation are thoughtfully designed to give your students helpful reading clues so that no sentence is ever too long or ambiguous. As the series progresses, these scaffolds gradually fade away. Old words and patterns are continuously recycled, and students feel a sense of worth in what they’ve learned.

What about the traditional classroom?

I teach Latin for acquisition. That’s what my students want. That’s not what everyone wants or needs, though, and I respect that. I believe that any teaching that effectively meets students’ and teachers’ needs is good teaching.

The Fīlum Fātī series isn’t a methodology-limited tool. The books are meant to help students of all ages and learning environments develop better instincts for reading Latin. An impeccable mastery of declensions and conjugations can help you decode any Latin sentence, but that mental process can be taxing. I want it to be intuitive, and I think that can happen early on. When my students go on to read excerpts from real literature, I want those classical sentences to trigger memories of what they read in these little books. I want them to be able to confidently look ahead at an entire sentence or paragraph and let their intuition start unraveling it for them. I want them to look at a page full of a Latin as a story, a poem or an account. I don’t want them to think of it as the laborious task of sorting out numbers, genders, cases, persons, tenses and moods. Even when my students do have to decode, I want them to have the desire to do so.

It’s a bit like math. I don’t think a lot of people sit around and do fractions for fun, but many people do use fractions for fun, meaningful purposes like baking, building and even art. The fractions become part of the fun. A kid who grows up in the family kitchen, for example, will probably grasp fractions much more quickly at school. Reading short novels is a great way for students to find the joy in the fractions of Latin grammar and do something with them early enough to kindle a continued interest in the language.

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