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How can dc improve their French ?

(18 Posts)
nokissymum Mon 20-Aug-12 22:47:46

Dc are in yr 4 and 7 respe tively. French not great! Some of the children at their school seem to speak and write french very well. Is there a "method" that i havent cottoned onto yet ? Apart from living in france is there a secret to it ?
Ds reads whatever french sheet he's been given which usually has some kind of role play, but during exams they usually play a tape and then they have to write the answer. I was told listening to French radio might help,even if we dont undertand it.

trinity0097 Tue 21-Aug-12 10:18:57

The French teachers at our school use this site alot:

nokissymum Tue 21-Aug-12 16:03:13

Thanks for this, i'll take a look.

IndridCold Tue 21-Aug-12 17:48:20

The thing that helped my DS the most was reading storybooks in French, although this may only work if your French is good enought to help them if they get stuck.

It was very old fashioned (he brought it back from school) but reading a proper story put all the verb tenses and sentence structures into place. We followed it up by some more fun books - the translation of Diary of a Killer Cat was one we enjoyed!

There are also some good free podcasts on iTunes, if they have iPods.

Takver Tue 21-Aug-12 20:21:46

Completely unhelpful, I'm afraid, but your thread title reminded me of an old poem:

Weep not for little Leonie
Abducted by a French marquis
Though loss of honour was a wrench
Just think how it's improved her French


More seriously, both DH & I learnt french at school to age 16 (and I think both have O level grade B). He speaks it admirably, good accent etc, I most certainly don't. The difference is that his parents holidayed in France every summer as they live on the south coast near a port plus his school did lots of exchanges. I really don't believe that there's any substitute for actual contact, though how to achieve that more cheaply I don't know!

racingheart Wed 22-Aug-12 19:29:00

Best way to improve it is to go there. Get her to speak it to real French people. Let her watch cartoons in French, read books in French, get a French penpal etc. Learning languages on paper and in class has very limited success. Having to communicate with others is the best way, by far.

I learned because we went on French exchanges and we used to have French lodgers, so round the dinner table, conversation was half French, half English. And we watched a lot of French films. It was normal to think and converse in French sometimes. It never felt like a subject at school, just a way of communicating.

mathanxiety Sun 26-Aug-12 04:28:30

You can't beat immersion.

Lizcat Mon 27-Aug-12 08:32:42

Two things spring to mind first immersion years of French lessons got me no where 5 weeks over two summers got me a B at GCSE and a lifetime of good understanding and ability to communicate.
Also some languages click with some children and others don't. DD is at a school which encourages languages early neither French or Spanish have clicked with her the teacher's comment is well she tries hard. Mandarin is a different matter this has clicked she writes beautiful little characters ( better than her English writing) has cracked the difficult intonation and loves it.

Bonsoir Mon 27-Aug-12 18:02:46

Divorce and find your DCs a French stepparent? Worked well (for English) for my DSSs grin

Annelongditton Tue 28-Aug-12 10:28:32

DS has just returned from a summer camp immersion course in France. He has really tuned his ear in to understanding french and is far more confident with his speaking. This has been far more use than all our holidays in France, as he was forced to use his language skills.
His school french is very good, but it is geared towards passing exams not learning a language. Despite having native french teachers he is still taught to say "ne" and to sound the "ent" on the end of verbs, so he now thinks school french is a waste of time!
The camp was a very positive experience, he is now listening to French pop CDs and has declared half his clothes as unfit for their purpose! It has certainly broadened his horizons, which is a good thing as he is at a small school with a very academic emphasis and there are other things in life.

Summersbee Tue 28-Aug-12 15:33:12

There are some French and Spanish children's songs by A Green Mouse (une souris verte) which have translations and are great for singing along to - not pop songs, just fun traditional children's songs with no annoying English interruptions - jolly good for practising French aloud.

Honestyisbest Sat 01-Dec-12 21:38:05

Annelongditton which immersion course your DS do?

cory Sun 02-Dec-12 00:48:12

My English improved immensely just from reading books. I wasn't able to actually spend time in an English speaking country until I was in my teen, but reading had given me a very good grounding.

goralka Sun 02-Dec-12 00:53:34

this is a great site for language practice

SagelyEggnogging Sun 02-Dec-12 01:04:04

How about watching DVDs of films either subtitled in French or with the language changed to French for films your DC already know in English?

Also the BBC language learning websites are pretty good.

But immersion is what worked for me (getting a job and a DP in France at 18) grin

Ronaldo Sun 02-Dec-12 15:20:52

It is correct as some have said that one thing you cannot beat is immersion.

If you live with French around you then you grasp it quickly. Doesnt have to be France. Try Canada. They speak both there. Send your DC over for a holiday in a French speaking home.

Ronaldo Sun 02-Dec-12 15:22:59

The way we do it my home ( fwiw) is one week we speak exclusively French and the next entirely in English.

SuiGeneris Mon 03-Dec-12 09:15:03

Immersion is definitely best but I would avoid Canada, as the French spoken there is quite distinctive and often difficult to understand even for fluent speakers.

Try to offer as many favourite activities as possible in French. E.g. If you go skiing, put them in a French-speaking class (I did this from 4-5 and it helped a lot), get French DVDs, switch their computer games to French, subscribe to a French kids' magazine, buy them French music, etc. And of course make sure they use them every day without fail, using whatever motivational tools work for them.
My English became fluent when I was a teenager and for me what worked best were music (Beatles songs) and books- especially lowbrow ones that have limited vocab and are easy to follow. For example, as a young teenager I read scifi in English and then "graduated" to Jilly Cooper and idiocies such as the Diana biography etc. I would never have been allowed to read those in my home language but they were ok because they were in English and they worked fantastically in terms of moving from schoolgirl English to something more approaching native speaker level.

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