Teaching Literacy with Latin

Teaching Literacy with Latin

After School Classics

Program Overview

The Paideia Institute partners with universities, schools, and community organizations to offer introductory Latin classes for elementary and middle school students. Our textbook, Aequora: Teaching Literacy with Latin, introduces the basics of Latin vocabulary and grammar, Roman culture and mythology, and connections between Latin, English, and Spanish, all through games and activities designed to show students that learning Latin is fun! The Aequora curriculum is shaped by a belief that everyone should have access to Latin and by a vision of Classics as an inclusive, diverse, and socially engaged field. 

Program Manager

Hello! My name is Aminata Hughes and I manage the Teaching Literacy with Latin program. You can read more about me below or check out this article about the Relaunch of our Outreach Programming.

Get Involved

The Paideia Institute develops sites by working with: 

  • Public schools seeking to incorporate Latin in the school day curriculum.
  • Universities and high schools seeking to create service-learning opportunities in Classics.
  • After-school enrichment programs serving at-risk youth. 
  • Latin students who want to make a difference by volunteering to teach in their communities.

Looking for places to volunteer? Take a look at our list of sites looking for volunteers!

Current sites

Here are some of our currently active Teaching Literacy with Latin sites:


So, you want to start a Teaching Literacy with Latin site. That's great news! Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!) that can help you set up your new site. Please feel free to contact us at any time.

About Teaching Literacy with Latin

When was Teaching Literacy with Latin founded? 

Teaching Literacy with Latin was founded in 2013. The first site was located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, at Still Waters in a Storm, a one house school room. 

How does the program work?

Teaching Literacy with Latin is entirely based on our Aequora curriculum, taught in weekly sessions by volunteers at local partner schools or community centers during after-school hours. The curriculum includes a textbook, a teacher's manual, and a game appendix. The textbook includes 11 units, each of which consists of three lessons: see here for a sample. 

What are the benefits of studying Latin?

About 80% of English vocabulary comes from Latin and Greek, and research shows that students who are exposed to the classical languages score higher on standardized tests and have improved literacy outcomes. Studying Latin may also have knock on benefits for math, coding, history and of course, grasping Romance and non-Romance languages. Beyond that, learning Latin is fun! 

Do you have any other Latin curricula? 

Yes we do! Elementa is our school Latin day curriculum for young learners and Living Latin is for older students.

How do you pronounce Aequora?

Ae creates a dipthong in Latin that is pronounced like the long I in English. The classical pronunciation is eye-koh-rah. The stress is on the first syllable. The word aequora has many meanings; in this case, it refers to "still water", an homage to our very first site. 

How can I support Teaching Literacy with Latin? 

Thank you so much! You can support Teaching Literacy with Latin and our other Outreach missions here

Getting Started

How do I start a Teaching Literacy with Latin site? 

The key is to find a local K-8 school or community center that can host the program. It all works very smoothly if you already know a school or community center in your area that might be interested, or if your institution has an outreach and service-learning center that can provide assistance. If not, please contact us and we'll be happy to help!

How long is the typical session and where does it take place? 

Teaching Literacy with Latin classes are generally 45-60 minutes long and meet once a week. Partner schools or community centers generally provide a space, such as a classroom or a library, in which Teaching Literacy with Latin sessions are held. 

Does the program run year-round?

It does in most cases, but a new Teaching Literacy with Latin site can be started at any time (see below).

How many students do we need for a 15 week program? 

There is no requirement on the number of students, but Teaching Literacy with Latin classes typically have 15-20 students each.

How many volunteers do we need? 

There is no requirement on the number of volunteers, but Teaching Literacy with Latin classes typically have 3-5 volunteers each.

Is there an age requirement for students?

No, there is no age requirement. In the past, Teaching Literacy with Latin has been successful with students as young as 3rd grade and as old as 9th grade.

Is there an age requirement for volunteers?

Short answer, no. Generally speaking, though, Teaching Literacy with Latin volunteers are students enrolled in high school or college. Graduate students have acted as volunteers and coordinators, too.

Does it have to be the same student volunteers each week, or can there be a group of several volunteers who rotate in based on availability?

Volunteer logistics are very flexible. Typically, there is a group of student instructors who divide up duties and rotate in based on availability. 

Can we start in the spring semester?

Yes, absolutely! A new site can be started at any time during the school year.

Can we run Teaching Literacy with Latin as a summer or winter camp? 

Yes, of course! We also offer the chance to apply for a grant to support your summer camp. Read more about it here.

What are the costs to the school or district to set up the site?

The program is entirely free!

Will the program be on-going year to year? If so, would we have to reapply each year? 

The program runs on an on-going basis, and we proceed on the assumption that you'll already be all set with training, etc. going forward, so there is no need to reapply (though we do offer further assistance whenever needed).

Does Paideia offer teacher support and training?

Yes. Teacher training based on our curriculum is available upon request. Training sessions typically take the form of webinars with our Outreach manager.

I'm still confused. How does all this actually work?

Don't panic. We're here to help! The main thing is to establish a partnership with a local school or community center. Once such a partnership is in place, running your Aequora site is a relatively low-maintenance task: it's mostly a matter of coming up with a schedule, organizing volunteer logistics, and making sure all the students have a copy of the curriculum.