I Speak Latin

Welcome to I Speak Latin, the innovative elementary Latin curriculum for young learners! I Speak Latin’s proven teaching method uses students’ natural capacity for language learning to help them master Latin vocabulary and syntax quickly and easily, without tedious worksheets, charts, or chants.

I Speak Latin engages students right from the start, getting them up out of their seats to learn verbs through physical motions. Students soon converse about their daily lives—family, pets, sports, clothing, food, weather—all the while building a rich and varied Latin vocabulary. Lessons introduce vocabulary in natural groupings, based on context, and grammar is learned incrementally.

I Speak Latin is perfect for homeschools, co-op classes, cottage schools, or traditional classrooms. Complete scripts, pronunciation guides, and teaching tips make it easy for anyone to teach Latin.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is I Speak Latin?

I Speak Latin is an innovative elementary Latin program created by Dr. Andrew Campbell. This flexible curriculum introduces students to Latin in a natural and enjoyable way, providing them with a solid foundation for further study.

What makes I Speak Latin different from other elementary Latin programs?

I Speak Latin teaches students to understand and speak Latin directly, without the intermediary of their native language. Students make direct mental connections between a thing, action, etc. and the appropriate Latin word or phrase. The program makes use of conversation, physical activities, games, songs, and student-created picture cards to aid in this process. The course requires no translation, memorizing of charts, or worksheets. Instead, students master vocabulary and syntax by using them actively, in real-life contexts, just as they did with their mother tongue.

Why learn to speak a “dead” language?

Speaking Latin helps students learn vocabulary quickly and easily by using it in meaningful contexts. Using the spoken language also gives students an intuitive feel for Latin grammar and syntax that prepares them for more formal study of the language. Besides, speaking Latin is fun! Being able to express their own ideas and opinions in Latin keeps students engaged in the learning process.

Is I Speak Latin a complete Latin program?

I Speak Latin was designed as a stand-alone program for students in the middle or late elementary grades, but it can also be used as a vocabulary and conversation supplement to other Latin programs.

Is I Speak Latin secular?

Yes. I Speak Latin is a completely secular program.

What grade levels can use I Speak Latin?

To get the most out of I Speak Latin, students should be able to:

  • use the rules of phonics to decode unfamiliar words of more than three syllables
  • accurately copy an unfamiliar word of four or five syllables
  • focus on a conversation or activity for at least 20 minutes

Students in grades 3-6 will benefit the most from the program; experience has shown that the ideal age is 10 or 11. Younger homeschooled students can do the oral activities along with older siblings, if desired, but they should go through the complete program when they have developed the necessary skills. When in doubt, it is best to wait.

Can I teach I Speak Latin if I don’t know Latin myself?

Yes, if you are willing to learn along with your students, make mistakes, and have fun! The I Speak Latin text includes detailed scripts and pronunciation guides to help you, and free audio files are available for download.

One caveat: I Speak Latin requires active teaching; it is not a self-directed program.

How much time does it take to teach I Speak Latin?

Each lesson takes approximately 20-30 minutes to teach in a homeschool setting. At a rate of two new lessons each week, the active teaching time totals 40-60 minutes. Preparation time will vary depending on the teacher’s previous experience with Latin or other foreign languages, but teachers should allow at least 15 minutes to go over the script before the lesson and to collect and arrange teaching materials.

What pronunciation does I Speak Latin use?

I Speak Latin is available in both Restored Classical (orange cover) and Ecclesiastical (blue cover) editions. Other than the pronunciation guides, the contents of the two editions are identical.

How long does it take to complete the program?

There are 64 lessons in the program, and pacing is flexible. Suggested completion times are as follows:

Students who begin in… Can complete the program in…
Grades 3-4 Two years (=1 lesson per week)
Grades 5-6 One year (=2 lessons per week)

What do you recommend for Latin study after I Speak Latin?

I Speak Latin was originally developed to prepare upper-elementary students to begin using Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina per se illustrata: Familia Romana in 7th grade. The program provides a good foundation for other popular middle and high school reading-method programs such as Cambridge Latin and Ecce Romani, and for grammar-translation programs.

Younger students will need a transition text between I Speak Latin and programs for middle or high school. The most accessible texts I’ve found for such students are William Linney’s Getting Started with Latin books. The chart below shows some options for students who have completed I Speak Latin.

Completed ISL in… Use this next:
Grade 4 Grade 5: Getting Started with Latin

Grade 6: Keep Going with Latin

Grade 7: Lingua Latina per se illustrata: Familia Romana, Ecce Romani, Cambridge Latin, etc.

Grade 5 Grade 6: Getting Started with Latin and some or all of Keep Going with Latin

Grade 7: Lingua Latina per se illustrata: Familia Romana, Ecce Romani, Cambridge Latin, etc.

Grade 6 Grade 7: Lingua Latina per se illustrata: Familia Romana, Ecce Romani, Cambridge Latin, etc.

How was I Speak Latin developed?

Dr. Campbell first developed a conversational Latin curriculum for primary students at the Abbey School, a classical cottage school, in 2008. The following year he expanded and refined the program for use with elementary students, grades 3-6, at New England Classical Academy in Claremont, New Hampshire. The curriculum has been in use by homeschoolers and classical schools since 2011.

What materials will I need to buy?

The I Speak Latin text is an instructional guide for teachers. It is the only book you need to teach the course. There are no student textbooks or workbooks to purchase, and the MP3 audio downloads are free, making I Speak Latin a low-cost alternative to other programs.

As part of the I Speak Latin curriculum, students create their own set of picture flashcards that are used as in-class learning tools and for individual study and review.

The following student supplies are needed and can be found at any office supply or discount store:

  • Large (5″ x 7″) index cards (unlined on at least one side)
  • Index card file box
  • Colored pencils

Needed items for the teacher include:

  • White board or large pad of paper
  • Old magazines
  • Family photos
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

What grammar and vocabulary are taught?

To see what I Speak Latin covers, download a PDF of the complete Scope and Sequence.

Where can I find the free audio files?

Right here. They can also be accessed from the purchase boxes at the top of this page as well as from the top navigation bar on this site. Go to Curriculum>I Speak Latin>Audio.

I’d like to offer a course using I Speak Latin in my homeschool co-op, school or tutoring business. How does that work?

Please download the licensing information sheet, and get in touch if you have any questions.