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How to Keep Up With French Over Breaks

By Kathryn Thai, English, FLE & ESL Teacher
One of the main questions I receive as a French as a foreign language instructor is “how do I keep my child speaking French at home, especially during the school breaks?” For many of our EB families, French is not the primary language spoken at home, and it can be difficult to find ways to keep children motivated to learn and speak French while not in our bilingual school setting.
With the arrival of February break, I would like to share these three tips to help parents and caregivers promote French at home:

  1. Schedule playdates with other French-speaking children, from EB or elsewhere. Encourage them to play that game of tag while speaking French, or to switch the language of their favorite video game into French.

  2. Read a book in French with your child. If you do not speak French, ask your child to read to you in French and then explain to you (in the primary language spoken at home) what your child has just read. This is an excellent way for your child to connect with you in French, whether or not you speak the language. (If your child is not reading yet, ask her/him to tell you a story in French and then ask her/him to explain her/his story to you in your primary language.)

  3. Going on a long road trip or flight for February break? There are plenty of French-language podcasts available on streaming platforms such as Spotify created specifically for children that would be easy to play on your trip to Tahoe or out of town to see family. While there are many of these kinds of resources available, I recommend two podcasts produced by France Inter. “Les Odyssées” is a podcast that recounts the lives of famous historical figures such as Joséphine Baker, Molière and Ramses II, to name a few. This podcast is intended for children from 7-12 years old. For younger children, check out “Une histoire et…Oli.” Conceived as a resource for parents looking for short stories for children to listen to before bed, this podcast is beloved by children of all ages, but it is geared towards the Kindergarten/Grande Section to Third Grade/CE2.
These are only a few techniques to help encourage your child(ren) to keep up with French over the school breaks. If you would like more tips, or have specific questions, I would be more than happy to discuss them with you! Please contact me at kthai@eb.org. Bonnes vacances !  

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