For the last two years, I have found a new way of relaxing- reading novellas in Latin! Initially I purchased my first novellas to explore using them in my middle school classroom. However one evening on a whim, I carried one with me into my son’s room as we prepared for the bedtime routine. After reading to him, we often read together silently. The novella hit the spot! It was comprehensible, it was compelling, and it was what I had energy for at the end of a busy day.
Although most of us think about novellas as a resource for students, they are also a resource for us as lifelong learners. Many of us want to spend more time interacting with our target languages outside of our classrooms, but our busy lives don’t always allow for it. Novellas are designed to be easy to read- from the glossary in the back to illustrations to a structure designed to support novice and intermediate readers. They are perfect for picking up and putting down.
As you start reading novellas, you’ll find your own personal preferences. Although there are many talented people writing Latin novellas, there are a few authors whose works I can never resist. Everytime Andrew Olimpi or Emma Vanderpool come out with a new novel, it ends up in my shopping cart immediately. Jocelyn Demuth’s Tres Fabulae Horrificae was super fun as it is a graphic novel. Novellas are also full of surprises; after reading Rachel Beth Cunning’s adaptation of Mostellaria, I decided to use it with students this coming year.
Reading novellas is also a great way to connect with students. Once you read a novella, you can do what every good reader does- share it! Post a review on GoodReads or another online site. If you have implemented free voluntary reading in your classroom, you can give a quick book talk or share a teaser. You could also reach out to individual students who you know might be interested in a specific topic, genre, or author. Nothing tells a student you know them quite like connecting them with a book they enjoy.
So this summer, bring a novella with you to the beach, the pool, or that hammock under the tree. Consider it light professional reading with a twist of novelty.
By: Katy Reddick
Strong Middle School, Durham CT