Tips For Parents:
How to Foster French Fluency
French Art Tutorials
Children need to "interact" with language to understand its practical applications in their daily lives.
Art tutorials in French help students practice listening skills in real time. They interpret oral instructions, and can infer meaning by observing the tutor 's actions.
Developing language in tandem with practicing fine motors skills, such as drawing and painting, engages different parts of the brain and facilitates language acquisition.
Many art tutorials are available in French on YouTube.
Videos with French audio AND subtitles
Did your seven-year-old ask to watch Disney's Zootopia again? Perfect...now let's turn this into a learning opportunity. The following strategy works best with videos familiar to your child.
If your child remembers the movie's characters and key plot elements then he/she can use this previously acquired knowledge to interpret and understand unfamiliar French audio and subtitles.
There is a wide range of French content on streaming services like Netflix, including cartoons, anime, and documentaries. You can often also set the audio and subtitles in DVDs to French.
Journaling is a quick, effective way to help children communicate thoughts and opinions. The key to helping kids write is to provide them with potential subjects, prompts, and topics of inquiry.
The term "Writer's block" refers to the inability to create new ideas. To mitigate this challenge, guide students with questions that push them to develop their ideas (for example, do you think the protagonist of Wonder is a good role model? What challenges did he face? What would you do if you were in his place? Why might you encourage a friend to watch Wonder?)
Make your phone a learning tool
In addition to downloading educational French apps, you can help your child develop language skills with the following tips.
1) Set the phone's default browser settings to French so
queries are automatically directed to the francophone version of websites.
2) Make your default home page a fun French website for
games and lessons. This will drastically increase the likelihood your child starts to use these sites on a regular basis.
3) If your child has reached an advanced level, you can change your phone's OS language setting to French. (Just make sure you know how to switch it back!)
Comics and graphic novels can be useful for practicing French. Here are 5 ways they serve as learning tools:
1. Children are more likely to learn if they find the reading materials to be engaging and interesting.
2. The illustrations in comics and graphic novels serve as visual aids to infer the meaning of difficult words and sentences.
3. Reading comics regularly helps make reading a hobby and can create an interest in reading more complex books, such as novels.
4. Comics can help kids practice and review commonly used vocabulary French terms and expressions.
5. Comics are generally short quick reads, which can help children develop more confidence when reading. You can also ask your child to write a very brief summary or journal on the comics they've read.
Listening to audiobooks can be an effective to practice French daily.
Rather than listen to Taylor Swift's latest hit, play a French audiobook during your drive to work or morning run. Audiobooks develop listening skills and can help you learn proper pronunciation and new vocabulary.
Many platforms offer free audiobooks, such as the Overdrive app. You can borrow popular titles such as Harry Potter et la coupe de feu, and the app will automatically return the title on its due date so you don't incur fines. You can change the speed of the audio recording depending on your comfort level, and even set a timer or "sleep" function.
E-books are usually more portable than physical books, and you can download hundreds of them for free. You can even access electronic versions of various comics, graphic novels, manga, and magazines. Another advantage of e-books is that they require far less memory to store than audiobooks.
E-books often enable you to highlight and save important and/or difficult passages. Many e-book apps include embedded dictionaries and thesauruses, so you can instantly look up the definition of unfamiliar words.
The aforementioned Overdrive app offers an e-book library larger than its audiobooks collection. You can usually borrow titles immediately rather than be waitlisted.
Diaslearning.com offers several free original illustrated French e-books for a younger audience.
Word searches and Crosswords
How can kids develop their vocabulary without having to study lists and memorize words?
One simple method to build vocabulary is by completing French crosswords and word searches.
Crosswords help children interpret and understand the different meanings and applications of French words. Word searches help teach correct spelling. Children are generally more engaged when completing word searches and crosswords because they tend to view them as leisurely activities as opposed to tedious drills.
Click on the PDF symbol to download a sample beginner-level French word search.
Clubs and "language buddies"
Many Extended and French Immersion schools lead clubs in French, such as robotics clubs, yoga clubs, board game clubs, and even anime clubs.
There are francophone clubs in many core French schools with a focus on promoting the many diverse and multicultural states in the French-speaking world. French is not only widely-spoken in France, Quebec, and Belgium, but also in nations such as Haiti, Mauritius, and the Ivory Coast.
Multiculturalism clubs can promote diversity and the French language by teaching facts about francophone cultures.
Local teachers can establish monthly correspondence with teachers from francophone communities, such as those in Sudbury, Winnipeg, New Orleans, or Lyon, just to name a few... This provides the opportunity for classes and clubs to pair up with "language learning buddies". They can discover the experiences of other students in a different city, province, country, or continent.
Weekly goals and learning targets
In addition to identifying effective strategies to help learn French, we must plan how to implement them.
If the best strategies are not consistently used, their results are diminished. Think of it this way: if you had a routine with the very best physical exercises, but did not workout on a regular basis, you would not obtain optimal results.
Each week, write a very simple short plan for learning French. Change things up every few weeks so your learning plan does not become redundant. Feel free to take a day off each week. The weekly plan should also be modified based on your child's age, level, and particular needs.