We know about the Summer Slide and have some ideas of tips to avoid it. (Plus, I’ll be sharing even more tips over the course of the summer.) But one particular challenge can be keeping up French literacy skills for children in immersion or French as a Second Language programs. Children who study in French risk losing their basic linguistic skills as well as literacy since they may not even be practicing their speaking and listening skills over the summer.
Here at WPL we have books, resources, and programs to help keep French skills up over the summer. This summer we’re offering a Bilingual Story Time at 10am on Thursdays mornings at the Central location which is suitable for children ages 3-6 with a caregiver. Additionally, we have a number resources across formats from books to DVDs to online resources like Biblio Enfants — the French version of Tumble Books — many elementary school children are already familiar with this resource since it’s popular in classrooms and you can access it free of charge with your library card.
And, of course, leading by example is a great way to keep kids motivated. You can read to your child in French or in English and, if you’re a bit daunted by reading in French you can check out some of our newest our easy readers or try the Ben Entreprend series, an excellent collection of books that spell words out phonetically and cross out silent letters to simplify reading in French, or try one of our bilingual picture books and read as much French as you’re comfortable with. If you’re still feeling intimidated why not try Mango Languages and practice your French on the go with the device of your choice. By developing your own skills and reading with your child you can set an excellent example and teach your children the skills
Other fun ways to refresh children in French include taking advantage of audio-visual resources. Many of our children’s DVDs have the option to play the audio in French so why not have them watch the film in French to practice their language skills? You can even include closed captioning for an added literacy bonus.
And, of course, don’t forget to seek out French language versions of books your reader already enjoys. We have copies of popular books at all levels. Stuff your child is already reading like Geronimo Stilton, Captain Underpants, Pete the Cat (or, rather, Pat le Chat), and Big Nate just to name a few. There’s some for every mood and we have kinds of options from Canadian authors like Mélanie Watt (whose books are originally published in French) to some excellent translations of Robert Munsch and so many others I could go on all day!
So, parents of students learning French, don’t forget to keep them reading, speaking, and listening over the summer. Take advantage of this time to engage them in materials that you may not have time for during the school year and make sure they’re ready to take on the school year in September!