​​​LATIN AND GREEK ROOTS CHALLENGE

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Why Study Latin and Greek Roots?

2016 Mean SAT Scores
SAT Subject TestReading
Writing
Latin685682
German645651
French643650
Hebrew629644
Italian617627
Spanish588595
Average for all Students494482


Why Latin and Greek?

Why Latin and Greek?  Why Roots?  Why the Challenge?  In a nutshell, this program recognizes the importance of Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes within the English language.  Students who have a command of roots and their meanings have a distinct advantage in vocabulary acquisition and retention, in reading comprehension, and in taking standardized tests.

Research shows that foreign language study in general, and the study of Latin in particular, contributes to students' advanced academic performance. According to the 2016 College-Bound Seniors - Total Group Profile Report, students who studied Latin consistently scored higher than other language students and the general population on the reading and writing sections of the SAT for the period of 2003 through 2016. For example, mean SAT Reading and Writing scores in 2016 for students who also took the SAT Subject Tests in the following languages were as follows: 

Why Roots?

Similar studies demonstrate the favorable impact that Latin study has on grade point averages, reading achievement, vocabulary skills, and even math problem solving skills.

Latin, in turn, is rooted in ancient Greek. The Latin language was heavily influenced by the Greek language, just as much of Roman culture was shaped by the Greek culture and intellectual thought. Therefore, study of Greek is also highly beneficial in advancing academic performance.

The 
National Education Report from the National Committee for Latin and Greek presents a compelling argument for the value of the study of Latin and Greek. This excellent video, hosted by Dr. Stanley A. Iverson, NCLG Chair, explains how Latin and Greek language study proves to be so beneficial.

Roots are the building blocks of the English language.  Understanding the meanings of roots helps unlock the meanings of words that contain those roots ... even if a student is not familiar with those particular words.

For instance, if a student understands that peri- means "around" (e.g. periscope - an instrument to view around corners; or perimeter - the measure of the boundary around an area) and that ge- (or geo-) means "earth" (e.g. geography - the study of or writing about the earth's natural features; or geology - the study of the earth's structure and composition) ... then he or she should be able to understand that the word perigee has something to do with "around the earth".  In fact, perigee means "the point of an orbit where the satellite is closet to the earth."

Understanding root meanings gives students the tool to identify the definitions of new words that they encounter.  They learn "to look within a word to find its meaning!"