Tips for Helping Students to Create Readers

Tar Heel Reader provides a great opportunity for your students to share their Latin compositions with a wider audience. If your students can write Latin at a level that matches their own reading comprehension, there are probably many other students out there who would benefit from this reading material, too.

If you are going to have your students compose and publish their own Tar Heel Readers, here is the essential ingredient: You MUST help your students to correct their Latin. This is extremely important. For the process to be a good learning experience for the students, they need feedback in revising their Latin compositions. For the final result to be useful to others, it needs to be written in grammatically correct Latin.

If your students label their unrevised work with the "Latin" tag and publish it, the odds are very high that it will end up in the "quasilatin" area. Readers with multiple errors are removed from the Latin area and put into "quasilatin." Eventually, readers in the "quasilatin" area will need to be deleted, since they serve no educational purpose of any kind.

In addition, even if your students publish work that has just a few errors in it, they will not benefit from having their errors corrected by the Tar Heel reviewers. So, to make sure that your students learn from the mistakes they make in their Latin, you need to have the students participate in a revision process BEFORE their readers are published in the Latin area at Tar Heel.

There are several ways you can assist your students in correcting their Latin:

Option 1: Compose in class as a group. Composing a Tar Heel Reader during class as a group is a great option. You, the teacher, can create a draft of a reader, priming it with pictures before class begins. Then, if you have a computer projector in class, you can then project the reader - use the Preview option available at the bottom of the editing screen - so that students can see the pictures and can compose the text together, with your feedback and input. It's easy to rearrange the pictures as you type in the text, and then delete any pictures you end up not using. You can then have the reader ready to publish by the end of class!

Option 2: Help students compose the text BEFORE they create the reader. Alternatively, you could work with students on their Latin composition before they create their reader. Then, when the text is in good shape and you have signed off on it, you can let the students type in the text and choose the pictures to illustrate it. To do this, each student will need their own Tar Heel Reader account.

Please use caution when deciding to give students
their own Tar Heel Reader account!

In particular, take this warning into account:
Please be aware that there is no special image filtering: the tool was designed to be used by teachers, not by students, especially not by young students. Even innocuous searches will sometimes return risque images of scantily clad human beings.

Option 3: Use your name as a tag. If you decide to have the students compose at Tar Heel Reader, without helping them with the Latin beforehand, you should not let them publish their work directly to the Latin area. Instead, you can have your students publish their readers for you to review online by having them use YOUR NAME as a tag - instead of the "Latin" tag. That way, you can review your students' work online but if won't show up in the Latin area yet. To find the readers tagged with your name, just change where it says "sampleteachername" to the name you have your students use to tag their readers for your inspection:

Looking at their readers online, you can give them written feedback so that they can revise their work until it is correct. When the Latin is in good shape, the student can remove your name from the tags and add the "Latin" tag to their reader so that it will show up in the Latin area.

Other options...? If you have other ideas for how to use Tar Heel Reader to promote and share students compositions, please add your comments below!


  1. You can also review your students' work after they have done it by having them save it as a draft. It is possible for many students to be using one (teacher's) account if you have access to a computer lab. If a student does publish a not-ready-for-prime-time book, you can "edit" it and then save it as a draft to get it back.

  2. To give feedback to individual students who have saved their stories as drafts on your account, you can add a page to their story with some comments. I chose a "teacher" image and wrote "magistra dicit: PORCA needs to be in the plural" (or whatever). Then they can delete the page when they have fixed the problem. I have Latin class only once a week, so this gives me time to write brief notes to them. -- Ann M

  3. Wow, Ann, what a great idea - I had not thought about using the draft mode as a way to communicate back with the students. That sounds great!!! :-)