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.
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!
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.