Edinburgh Local

Literacy through Latin

Literacy through Latin is a programme connecting enthusiastic student volunteers who know and love Latin, with classrooms in City of Edinburgh Council primary schools.

Students in Roman garb

The initiative was launched in Edinburgh by the University’s Classics Department in Autumn 2015, and most recently has been running in two P6 classes at Liberton Primary School. It was inspired by the Iris Project, an educational charity which believes that everyone should be able to learn about the ancient languages and cultures which have shaped our society.

Programme details

The programme doesn’t teach Latin – ‘the maths of the humanities’ - but aims to improve literacy through the medium of Latin grammar. Short fun lessons use Latin to show, for example, how many of our English words have Latin roots, how language works and how sentences are formed. 

This helps broaden pupils’ vocabulary and their understanding of English. It also helps them understand how language is structured, which will be very useful when they learn new languages.

There are lessons about Roman culture, such as their clothes, customs, architecture and food, and opportunities for dressing up and creativity. Roman civilisation is a fascinating mirror for the modern world.

The lessons benefit pupils and they are also good for the students. The volunteers value the teaching experience and the chance to share their university experience with the broader community.  


Please contact the Classics Outreach Officer, Lilah Grace Canevaro, if you have any questions, would like to arrange a talk for your school or other venue, or have other outreach ideas you wish to share.


Find out more

Literacy through Latin

Iris Project