French Storytelling: Tips and Resources
Reading to your child in French is a great tool to promote language acquisition. Here are some tips to make storytelling engaging and find French books and online resources to help you get started.
Use Familiar Stories
Selecting the right material is key to captivate a young learner’s attention. Using familiar stories provides a familiar context in which the child can understand new words in French. In addition to fairy tales (Cinderella, Three little Pigs… etc.) most of the popular American children programs are also available in French.
Where to find French children’s books in the area?
The local bookstore Bonjour Mama in Kensington is a great place to find French new and used books for children.
L’Alliance Française’s library in Washington DC is also a great source.
The French High School Rochambeau in Bethesda organizes two book fairs per year (fall and spring). Gently used children’s books are usually sold for a low price (50 cents).
To avoid international shipping fees, we recommend checking the Canadian Amazon website (amazon.ca) to order French children’s books featuring popular characters such as Peppa Pig (Peppa cochon), Paw Patrol (la Pat’ Patrouille), Pete the Cat (Pat le Chat) and others.
Personalize the story and involve your child
Before telling a familiar story, ask your child what he likes the most about the characters or to recap the main events of the story. For example, Peppa Pig likes to jump in muddy puddles (Peppa Cochon aime sauter dans les flaques de boue). When you read in French, use movement, props or pretend play to get your child to participate in the story. Following Peppa’s example, you can tell your child every time you read “flaque de boue” to jump with you and pretend you are splashing mud. Making hand puppets of the characters, drawing or using play-doh and asking your child to help recreate the story with you, is also a great way to make storytelling engaging and fun.
However, if you are not feeling creative or feel you lack the language skills to tell a story, you can still engage in storytelling activities. Attending a French Storytime at the Chevy Chase library or using online resources such as The French Experiment are just few of many ways to expose your young learner to French material.