He said sixth-grade students in Indianapolis who studied Latin for 30 minutes each day for five months advanced nine months in their math problem-solving abilities. They advanced one year in reading, 13 months in language, five months in science and seven months in social studies.
Kanable said he will be tracking his students to see if those studies prove true for them, too.
He’s already noticed some improvements
“Our students, even at a very young age, are seeing the relationships between the Latin roots and our language,” he said. “Our language was built on Latin.”
Latin helps students understand the origin of English words, said Steve Krebs, the Latin teacher at Kokomo High School who travels to the St. Joan campus to teach seventh- and eighth-graders there.
When students see words like vision and vista, they will know it comes from visum, the Latin word for see, he said.
“They will have a sense of what words mean because they’ve had this Latin exposure,” Krebs said.
Having the Latin background should also provide a foundation for learning the Romance languages — French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian and Portuguese.
“If you learn Latin, it’s easier to learn other languages,” Smith said.
Many students said they were skeptical when they first heard they would be learning Latin this year.
“I thought, ‘Isn’t English hard enough?’” third-grader Cree Anders said.
Sixth-grader Seth DeCleene was nervous. He said he wasn’t sure he would be able to handle the lessons.
But in the months that followed, students started coming around — including DeCleene.
He said he’s come to enjoy the lessons.
“I like how we can learn the prayers and translate words when we go to Mass,” he said.
A group of third-graders in Kim Keogh’s class had ulterior motives.