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3.6 out of 5 stars11
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on February 12, 2013
This is a terrible book. I have also taught Latin students using books by Wheelock, Jenney, and Shelmerdine. All those books have their strengths and shortcomings, but each is far superior to Ecce Romani. One of the great rewards of learning Latin is acquiring familiarity with the concept of grammar, English as well as Latin. This book eschews grammar, in favor of rote imitation of word groups used in the series of readings that introduce each chapter. Unfortunately the result, which I have witnessed with my own eyes more than once, is that students are left hopelessly confused about what they are doing. For instance, a noun might appear in the genitive case in one of the readings. Fine, except that this is all the explanation the unlucky student will be getting from the authors. The English meaning, as used in that instance, might be given in a footnote to the reading, but from that limited exposure the student is expected to recognize the word in other contexts, with different case endings, without ever having been exposed to the concept of case or to the various case endings. In other words, students are expected to imitate, with no understanding of what they are doing or why. When I have worked with students who were required to use this book, I have seen how eagerly they welcomed supplementary use of a more traditional text, because they were finally given some intellectual framework for what they were doing, and could use that framework to understand the use of other Latin words as they were presented. The ongoing story about the experience of a fictional Roman family is cute, in fact one almost say cutesy-pie, and only resinforces the impression that the authors have no regard for the intelligence of their student readers, and nothing but disdain for the mission of training their minds.
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on August 24, 2014
I understand that the book was written for 9th graders. However, the story-line is more appropriate for 5th and 6th graders.

Aside from this... Although there is grammar in the text, it is located after the readings, and sometimes several chapters later. Such is the "inductive" approach to learning a language - learn by doing, and then figure out why later. Having used this text in addition to several others, I've found that is just does not work very well. Students (unconsciously or not) learn to find "crutches" in the readings (e.g. similarity to English, understanding by context, and reading the glosses). They show all the outward signs of textual comprehension without real understanding of what is going on. When they reach more advanced Latin, they have not yet learned the art of grammatical analysis, and they crash into a glass ceiling. Hard! Frustrated, they give up on Latin because it is "too difficult". Of course, I spent the better part of my time trying to offset these natural tendencies of the textbook with more intensive formation in grammar and vocabulary.

But why not just use a text that is more logical and age-appropriate in the first place? The series is not bad for a supplementary reader at the 5th to 8th grade levels, but hardly an appropriate choice for a high school. I've never understood why this seems to be the preferred series for high school Latin programs. The best I can figure is that the explicit multiculturalism in the textbook matches the philosophy that reigns in educational circles, and that the text doesn't make serious demands on the students. I think, however, that there are better ways to make Latin relevant and interesting to the student - without pandering or coddling.
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on October 21, 2015
The entire binding was pretty chappy on my purchase. The front cover was not held in place or glued to the spine of the bound pages. There wasn't much writing on the pages. But the binding is really inconvenient. I have to be call careful putting the textbook in my backpack.
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The Ecce Romani series uses a more modern approach to language acquisition - the inductive method. Students are exposed right away to vocabulary in the context of a story and are expected to use the associated picture, the vocabulary glossed below and the questions below the story to immerse themselves in the language. This allows students to comprehend a story even on the first day. Grammar is then introduced/explained to the student after they have used it in context. Reading comprehension is the goal. This method is more in line with how a modern language is introduced. When I was trained in this method in graduate school, we were encouraged to use dramatic readings of the stories as well to enhance comprehension. This method works well with students. They enjoy learning a language in a manner that is similar to their friends in Spanish. The stories help us move quickly because the students become invested in the lives of the characters as they travel from their summer home to Rome and encounter authentic Roman daily life (slavery, shopping, games at the Colosseum, marriage and a funeral). My students miss the characters when they enter Latin 3 and start reading the authentic Latin of Caesar, Augustus and Cicero. This text allows the teacher to be creative and innovative, yet supports the students with clear grammar instruction, online grammar/vocabulary resources and noun and verb charts at the end of the text. I use the level 1 text in 8th grade, level 2 in 9th grade, level 3 in 10th grade, and an AP latin reader in 11th grade. Students who use the Ecce Romani series do very well on the AP Latin exam.
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on September 1, 2014
I am giving this book a 3 star for one reason only: The price jumped from $32 last December when I ordered a copy to consider for a class I am teaching, to over $90 now that I have to ask the parents and students to buy a copy. If I had known that it would cost so much at this time I would not have chosen it, regardless of its merits. I feel as if I were caught in a bait and switch. Does Prentice Hall triple the price only in September, when the demand is high?

As for the approach of the book, it is certainly different than the way I learned Latin some years ago, but I am willing to give it a try, and I reserve judgement. Look at all the Amazon reviews, including those of the 3rd edition, which are more favorable than those of the 4th edition.
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on March 30, 2014
Refer to the review by "A reader" above. I would like to add to that review: as a student, I am confused by this book. Mostly, I am amazed that it is still in print and being used in college classrooms. The story is insipid and ludicrous, a kind of Roman Donna Reed Show (though perhaps that's unfair to Donna Reed.) The vocabulary is only sometimes given in lexical form, and occasionally in forms that have no grounding in the lessons. After two semesters working with this book, I am more confused about Latin than when I tried to learn it myself. Instructors: please do not insult (and torment) your students with this; there are other, more lucrative ways of doing that. Students: do not trust an instructor who includes this book on his or her list; change courses before it is too late.
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on September 9, 2015
Required for my son's Latin class.
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on July 31, 2014
Totally excellent intro to latino
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on September 24, 2012
This book as well as the 9 others ordered with Amazon all arrived on time as promised and in secure packaging.
The Latin text book Ecce Romani was in better shape than we expected, the hard cover was secure and pages were nice and clean. Thanks so very much.
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on November 30, 2015
fast shipping. Item as described
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