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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Having Fun with French

I need to post about something positive so I thought I would share the combination of products we are using for our french studies. I was scared at first that we wouldn't be able to have fun while studying french or that I would have to be fluent before I taught Camille or Danny- this is not the case. We're having a lot of fun and I'm very grateful.

I firmly believe that any foreign language learning needs to have multiple approaches: speaking/interaction, listening, reading and writing as well as learning about the culture and history of the language. Likewise, I'm not a huge advocate for computer learning and I haven't heard enough praises for this learning method to take the financial leap to try it. Here's what is working for us:

- LingaFun French Learning card game: $11.66 at
There is a CD that comes with the cards that pronounces each word that is on the cards. There are two decks of 54 cards and one is more advanced than the other. The cards themselves have numbers in french with pronunciation, a picture in the middle of the card that illustrates the french words which also have pronunciation and the english equivalent. The cards have multiple games to play: Solitaire, Crazy Colors (like Crazy Eights), Concentration, Gin Rummy, Go Fish! and War with detailed instructions. There are 3 Basic Rules that apply to each game:

1. Each sentence played must have three cards- 1 red, 1 white and 1 blue card.
2. The cards must be played in that order: red, white, blue
3. The player must attempt to pronounce the words on each card every time a card is played.
We're having a lot of fun with this, we can use the CD to check our pronunciation and Camille feels like we're playing a game instead of learning.

-French for Children by Catherine Bruzzone (with CD): $17.97 at
This book is fabulous for interactive learning, the CD is engaging and fun. This is by far the best product out there that I've found for children which I would use with any child of any age. The only drawback is that the book is non-consumable but has consumable activities within it. I just cut a plastic sheet protector to place over the page for Camille to work on. I don't feel the need to store worksheets of her work for this. The audio is fantastic, it's conversational, it is interactive and the songs are engaging and clearly understood.

-Berlitz French Language Pack: $17.79 at
Each language pack comes with The Missing Cat storybook and CD which also contains songs, First 100 Words: a vocabulary building book that features more than a hundred humorous illustrations. Also included are a Language Club Certificate that children can proudly display and Help Your Child with a Foreign Language, a practical guide for parents. We love this, we can read the book in English, try to read the French and then listen to the story in french as we follow along. I have purchased other Berlitz books with CDs since getting this but the Help Your Child with a Foreign Language book has been invaluable to me. This is the perfect start to building a french library for your child.

There are a lot of audio interactive games for learning french on the market, we are enjoying Hop, Skip and Sing French ($10.36), Twin Sisters French ($14.99 average price) and Springboard to French (out of print and uses cassettes).

Bonjour Les Amis videos, First Fun with French by Usborne Publishing are wonderful at our house too. We also like to play our movies in French with English subtitles when we can or just in French. We have audio CDs just for music but really the ones mentioned above fit our needs. If I had to suggest a start-up kit of products with prices it would be:

Lingua Fun French $11.66
French for Children $17.97
Berlitz French Language Pack $17.97
Twin Sisters French $14.99
Hop Skip, Sing French $10.36
Total price: $72.77

Of course the cost really doesn't end there but it also depends on how resourceful you are, the amount of free resources you have at your library, etc. We were able to get the three Bonjour Les Amis videos from a library sale for $5.



my5wolfcubs said...

Sounds so good! Now why isn't there a Hop, Skip & Sing Latin...hmm? I have a question about the LingaFun card game: are the colors for parts of speech or is the there a different reason?

Sebastian said...

I have three of the Berlitz Adventures with Nicholas sets for German. (I think the Missing Cat is part of the series) I really liked them. I thought that the format was a nice intro to the language.