Roman Roads Review
Latin seems to be everywhere. You really can't get away from it. I think that it is a good idea for everyone to have a basic understanding of some Latin. If you know some Latin, it make understanding English words easier sometimes. Our 4th grader is always wanting to learn new languages, so I knew that he would want to use Picta Dicta Natural World by Roman Roads Media.
Roman Roads has multiple products. Picta Dicta Natural World is an online program and should be taken by elementary students and Jr. High students who are not taking a grammar course. Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder is also an online program and could be taken by Jr. High, high school, and college students taking a grammar course. Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric is a complete program for High School and above students.
We were able to review Picta Dicta Natural World and our fourth grader loved it. Picta Dicta is basically a "picture dictionary" of Latin terms. It is very easy to use, once you have everyone set up. I set him up with the Basic level which starts him off very slowly into the world of Latin. I am very glad that I had started him at this level. At first, we were very confused about why he was learning English when he was supposed to be learning Latin. Then I figured out that Picta Dicta is making sure that the student understands what it is in English first, and then they teach them the Latin. Very smart, Roman Roads. The Basic level walked him through some animal names. This was difficult for him, at first, as he's never heard any Latin before. It was new to me, as well, because I took Spanish in high school and college, not Latin.
Here's a short video that I took without him knowing it as he was learning some of the animals.
He was learning "ovis" and was so happy when he picked the right one (a sheep). Then he learned "gallina" (chicken) and sang a little song to remember the name. At the end of the video he learns "asinus", which he incorrectly heard as "asiBus". When I stopped the video, I went over this with him and helped him to hear and say it correctly.
Picta Dicta doesn't just teach "canis" as dog. The student is taught "animal that guards the home" with the picture of a dog. I think that this way gives a more deeper understanding of the words than a straight English - Latin translation. Look below at some screenshots from the Basic level.
I set myself up with the "Express" level. Yes! I was able to use a review product. The Express is great for adults who know English well and can go through the Latin a little faster. As I said earlier, I have no background in Latin, just English and a little Spanish. I did go through the lessons with our fourth grader, so I had a little practice before I started my account. As the Basic level started with English and then slowly moved onto Latin, the Express is just that - Express. It jumps directly in to the Latin. The difference is with the Basic level, they showed the name, picture, and a short description of the animal/fruit/body part etc. With the Express level, there is a history of the item and sometimes even a story or folktale about it. I really enjoyed reading these as it showed how important they were to the ancient societies.
With the Express level, they don't stop at just showing the word and then you pick the matching picture. That's just the first lesson. In the second lesson of the series, they show you the picture and you have to choose the word. Surprisingly, this was difficult as I had to think about it differently. The third lesson make you spell it. Yikes! I did better than I thought, though I had some typing errors (like hitting the enter button too early or typing to fast that I made a mistake).
To check out what Picta Dicta is all about, check out this video:
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