While adults and older students balk at the idea of learning a foreign language that uses an alien alphabet, this is less so with younger kids who will be excited to learn something new and different. Dr. Christopher Perrin draws on this eagerness to teach youngsters the Greek alphabet, as well as the basics of pronunciation and limited vocabulary. This is by no means a Greek course, but it does provide an impetus for further study.
How Does This Work?
Greek Alphabet Code Cracker puts kids in the role of detective as they solve the "mystery" of the missing Greek urn. Fun illustrations and a variety of characters lead students through plenty of exercises and puzzles resulting in the final solution while teaching the Greek alphabet (and more). While this is a fun puzzle book, it is also intended for actual classroom use and is thoroughly educational while also quite entertaining.
Eight units are to be taught over an eight week period, 3-4 days a week for 20 minutes at a time. The author warns that teaching for longer installments increases the challenge, therefore lessening the fun aspect and becoming counterproductive. Six letters are introduced per unit in units 2-5 (there are 24 Greek letters), with unit one being an overall introduction and units 6-8 covering consonant blends, diphthongs, etc. Most aspects of Greek pronunciation are covered, including breathings; the subject of accents is left undiscussed.
Each unit has several exercises to be completed in the consumable worktext, ranging from copywork to decoding puzzles. In units 1-5, students transliterate words from English to Greek (writing English words with Greek letters according to sound) and vice versa. In units 6-8, actual Greek words are introduced, along with their English translations. Answers to all exercises are included in the back of the book on reduced student pages; materials are also included for making a cypher wheel that matches each Greek letter to its English sound.
Students will not be able to solve the mystery until they have learned everything in the book. Once the last unit is completed, a wrap-up section helps them complete the case while providing review. This is a student-directed course (there are no teacher resources), and the only time you will really need to commit is grading their work. While you could conceivably have younger or older kids use this book, we would recommend it for grades 1-4: students who can read on their own but aren't too old to be intrigued by a goofy mystery plot.
Our Honest Opinion:
If you don't intend to have your kids study Greek further, this book won't do them a lot of good. While it can be fun for children to learn something new "just because," what they will learn here doesn't go far enough to be really useful. If, however, you intend to have them pursue serious Greek study later, this basic introduction can be just what they need to get excited to learn more. The creative approach and genuinely educational material make an often daunting subject seem accessible and fun, and will likely even have your students begging for more.
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