Literacy Development in French Immersion

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Literacy Development in French Immersion 2017-05-29T21:09:21-04:00

Parents have questions

The very first question ever asked about French immersion was, “Will it affect my child’s English language skills?” More than 40 years later, this is still a central concern among parents. Parents need support, including access to the vast body of reassuring research on immersion.

Every spring at registration time we still hear, “But I won’t be able to help him at home: I don’t know any French!” Parents deserve a response to their concerns.

Then, starting around grade 4, parents (and teachers) find it a challenge to encourage immersion students to do leisure reading in French! They need ideas.

The aim of the following articles is:

  • to help parents understand literacy (reading and writing) development within immersion so they can better understand how to support their children
  • to share information on strategies and resources of interest to both parents and educators.
  • Getting Ready to Read in an Immersion Kindergarten

    With a strong language-based kindergarten experience, your child will be prepared to venture into literacy with confidence. Having been "immersed" in the French language in kindergarten will give him what is needed to learn to read in a second language.

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  • Yes, Parents, You Can Help!

    You’ve made that big decision to enrol your child in an early French immersion program even though you know absolutely no French yourself! Now you’re wondering how you can possibly help when it comes to literacy. Here are a few hints.

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  • Tips on Using a French/English Dictionary

    Those who attended the workshop "How to be a great immersion parent" at the CPF Alberta conference in October 2005 appreciated an opportunity to open up a French-English dictionary and find out how to use it effectively.

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  • Help Them with Writing in French

    Parents typically feel helpless when it comes to assisting their children with writing in French. Experienced immersion mom Beth Chetner suggests the solution is to focus on the skills that they need to develop in order to take responsibility for their own writing, not the language itself. After all, you won’t be there to help in the university dorm or business office!

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  • Gifts of Literacy for Immersion Students

    Want to slip a "literacy" gift under the tree or into the birthday presents this year? Great idea! Following are a few tips to help you make the best selection.

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  • Early Literacy Programs and French Immersion

    Research indicates that children who struggle learning to read in French will also struggle learning to read in English. This fact reinforces the need for Early Literacy Programs within our immersion schools.

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  • You Know More French Than You Think

    That’s partly due to shuffling the cans and cereal boxes to find the English side, but it’s mainly because an estimated 75-80% of English words either come from French or share a Latin root with their French equivalents.

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See also:

Report of Current Research on the Effect of the Second Language Learning on First Language Literacy Skills

 

When extra help is needed

For many years it was widely thought that early immersion is only suitable for students who experience no academic challenges. However, a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence indicates that children who struggle to learn to read in French will also struggle to learn to read in English. Today the goal is to give all children the gift of fluency in a second language. For more information, see our section on Learning Difficulties in French Immersion.