Teaching and Learning Primary French
As a teacher and parent of young children, author and illustrator Richard Marshall wanted to develop a resource that could be used by classroom teachers and parents to teach the French language to young children in a way that was natural, fun and progressive.
" I thought about all the concepts that make for enjoyable learning and I realised that children learn and retain their learning when they are having fun, when the learning is in context and when the parent or teacher is enjoying teaching them. My own children love being read to, as most children do. We have fun putting on different voices for characters and guessing what might happen next in a story as well as exploring details in the illustrations. They also love discovering and discussing topics together with me as I read to them and this, I believe, develops creative thinking skills and nutures an inherent will to learn. I want my books and resources to enthuse the parent and teacher as much as the child and I hope they are enjoyed as much as I and my own children have enjoyed them."
The best way to learn a language
Apart from moving to the country where the language you are learning is spoken or having access to someone from that country twenty four hours a day, the only way to learn a language effectively is through making it enjoyable and learning in context.
This article from Pick The Brain website explains it very well:
" Language learning is essentially fun, or should be, if it is done naturally, in line with how the brain learns. We learned our first language quite well, without explicit instruction. Unfortunately, the teaching of second languages has been turned into a complex classroom ceremony, consisting of obtuse grammar rules, annoying drills, rote memory and tests. The result is that many people are discouraged from learning languages. Maybe they would not learn their first language if it were taught in this way. One of the most innovative thinkers on language learning is Stephen Krashen, who has pointed out that languages are acquired through meaningful input and not deliberate instruction. His insights are being confirmed by the latest research on how the brain learns, as described in an excellent book by German brain researcher, Manfred Spitzer, Learning: The Human Brain and the School for Life. As Spitzer says, learning takes place in the brain, not at school "
As Stephen Krashen says, many children are turned off learning languages because of the way it is introduced into schools - too little too late or too much at the wrong time. The optimum time for learning a language is straight from birth when a baby is hearing sounds for the first time and associating those sounds with objects, emotions and events. Then, as the child grows and begins to form words and phrases for itself, there will be a natural progression to learning two or more languages that are being introduced by the people around them. Of course this is assuming that the adults around the child can speak two or more languages in the first place and this, especially within the British culture, is not often likely. The Preston Bear stories will introduce young children to languages whilst they are learning to read and, with the supporting materials, help establish a desire for further learning.
Stories that teach French
The Preston Bear story books introduce the French language in context as the children learn along with the main character, Preston Bear.
Preston quickly discovers the frustrations of not being able to communicate with Nancy the French duck until Ontario, the bilingual Canadian Moose, saves the day. Preston learns about France and the French language whilst having fun adventures with his new friends.
The books are beautifully illustrated with original watercolour paintings by the author. Children love the bright colours and delightful characters and each scene can be displayed within a classroom or a child's bedroom to reinforce learning.
Preston Bear Arrives in France is the first book in the series and Preston learns about where France is and why we need to speak different languages. Preston is then taught the French words and phrases for greetings, numbers 1-10 and colours by his new found friends Nancy and Ontario as they embark on their first adventure.
Preston and the Supermarket Monster
The second book in the series and Preston and his friends are on a trip to a large French supermarket. This book reinforces the learning from the first book and Preston learns the French terms for directions, food items and telling the time in this funny and exciting adventure.
The concepts within the stories are supported and extended by teaching activities in a set of scripted lesson plans and activities and fun games to play on a interactive CD and even a very cuddly Preston Bear dressed in his favourite scarf and shorts.
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