Category Archives: Blog

French Spelling Changes

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The Académie française, the institution that regulates official changes to the French language, has approved a proposal to change the spelling of approximately 2,000 French words.

This includes eliminating the accent circonflexe when it appears over the letters i and u, eliminating some hyphens (eg. week-end becomes weekend), adding some hyphens (vingt et un becomes vingt-et-un), and changing some accents.

In other changes, oignon (onion) becomes ognon. The accent remains in cases where the meaning would be too confusing without it. For example:

  • un homme mûr – a mature man
  • un homme mur – a wall man

Lest we panic, all official sources say that both the new and the old spellings should be considered correct.

Here is a link to an eight page document describing the changes.

How to Use L’Art de lire

Using L’Art de lire

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Here’s what you will receive in your L’Art de lire Package for each level:

  • 1 Student Workbook pdf
  • 1 Teacher Key pdf
  • Zip Files containing Mp3 Audio

Student Workbook

The student workbook has introductory vocabulary pages, story pages to read and colour, flashcards for vocabulary review, and exercise pages to put that new knowledge into practice.

You can print the entire student workbook at once and put it in a binder, or just print off the pages as you need them.

Teacher Key

The teacher key is much the same as the student workbook with some important differences. As expected, it has the answers filled in to save you time.

The teacher key also contains flashcards (towards the back of the book) that can be printed both sides so that you can use picture flashcards to review French vocabulary.

In addition, your teacher key pages are marked with a special symbol to indicate where to listen to the audio files.

Audio Files

The audio files need to be unzipped. Files can be unzipped by clicking “Extract all” in the file manager for Windows users, or by simply double-clicking in your Mac.

Each zip file contains several Mp3 audio files that are named like this:

  • lire-1-06 vocab.mp3

The 06 in the file name indicates that this is the audio for page 6 in the workbook. Use the names of the files to find the file you need for each lesson.

How to Review

As you go through the program, be sure to review the story regularly, if not daily.

You can use the audio to do this by choosing either to listen to the story all at once or by choosing the listen-and-repeat version of the story. Listen and repeat files are named with the word repeat in the name like this:

  • lire-1-08,9 Repeat.mp3

Just reading the story together is another great way to review. The stories help your students to understand the structures and flow of the language.

You can also review by going through the vocabulary flashcards that are provided at each level.

You don’t need to do a workbook page every day, but it’s a good idea to do something, even just listening to the story or a quick review of the flashcards.

Relax and Have Fun!

Have students colour story pages and other picture pages and draw their own pictures or make their own flashcards and posters.

Adapt the curriculum to suit the time you have available by taking advantage of the different ways to learn and review that are built right into the curriculum.

Having a busy day? Are you on the go? Bring the flashcards and review them. Listen to the story. Read the story. These are little things that you can review even when you don’t have time for a full lesson.

Nallenart makes it easy to include French in your homeschool!

Why don’t you include detailed French lesson plans?

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Occasionally I am asked why I don’t include detailed French lesson plans with L’Art de lire.

My observation is that the more complicated something is, the less likely people are to use it. That is why I have kept lesson planning simple and totally at the discretion of the teacher.

There is a twelve step lesson guideline page at the beginning of L’Art de lire 1. This brief overview is enough to get you started working through the book and using the teaching aids.

Use the vocabulary, audio, and story to introduce each unit.

Do the exercises in the workbook.

Use the flashcards, story, and audio to review.

It is as simple as that. If you have more time, do exercises and more review. If you have a little time, just read the story, listen to the story again, or review the flashcards. Continue reading

Mastering Those Difficult French Pronunciations

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Babies are born imitators. They copy our movements, expressions, and mannerisms. Eventually, they copy our speech, each child effortlessly learning the sounds of her own native tongue.

It can be more difficult for older students learning the sounds of a new language.

English speakers in North America and around the world often have difficulty mastering new French sounds. While many sounds are the same in French and English, there are several sounds that are so different they can hardly be described in English!

Here is an overview of some of these difficult pronunciations, and some tricks that will help you to master them and be on your way to speaking French like a native francophone. Continue reading

Homeschooling French with Confidence

driving the firetruck
This is a momentous week for me. Today my daughter is beginning to homeschool my oldest grandson, who is five years old. I am so excited for them as they begin their adventure!

While my daughter is among the most fearless young women I know, she still admitted to being a little nervous about taking on the task of home education.

Having been homeschooled herself, she is looking forward to having fun making homemade volcanos, working on art and crafts, and playing with math facts.

She also remembers that being homeschooled allowed her to get the academic learning done early in the day, leaving lots of time to play outdoors, imagine, and be creative.

She is excited to be able to give her children the same rich, positive experience.

Continue reading

Free Shipping on Downloadables!

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If the title of this post seems a bit ironic… it is! My shopping cart and Paypal have not been playing nice and they have been conspiring together to add shipping charges to downloadable purchases made from the Nallenart Shop.

It seems, however, that all is working well again. So if you have been having any trouble, it is now safe to order your individual workbooks, etc.

Thank you for your patience as I have worked to fix this.

Note: The software that caused this problem has now been replaced. I’m hoping nobody will ever be charged shipping on downloadables again!

Shipping Charges

Note: Thankfully, all orders are now being processed through one location, our cool Curriculum Shop.

I am still trying to get the difficulties with shipping charges worked out. I seemed to have everything set up properly and suddenly it all started to malfunction! I managed to convince my Paypal buttons not to charge shipping on downloadables, but then they weren’t charging shipping on anything!

My fix, for now, is to set up the downloadable products at the French Curriculum Club in U.S. dollars to charge NO shipping, and the hard copy products at the Shop in Canadian dollars to charge the rates set by Canada Post.

UPDATE: If you would like to order downloadables of single items from the shop, such as workbooks, these will need to be processed manually.

I apologize for any inconvenience!

Technical Difficulties

My apologies to those who have had trouble recently with the downloadables. It seems that my Paypal buttons have decided to start adding shipping charges to downloadable purchases, despite the fact that they were set up to charge NO shipping charges on downloadable material. I am working to find out just what the problem is and to get this fixed asap!
Thank you for your patience!

Forming the Negative in French – ne…pas

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To form the negative in French, we usually use two little words, ne and pas. We place ne in front of the verb and pas after the verb. English mostly gets by with one word, not. For example:

French     je vais     je ne vais pas
English     I am going     I am not going

We can see that ne and not are very similar; both can make the sentence negative. But where does this extra little word “pas” come from?

The word “pas” in French also has another meaning. It is a noun that means “step,” as in to take a step forward. If you are a ballet fan, you have heard of the expression “pas de deux” used to describe a dance for two people.

Linguists tell us that the use of pas as a negative came from people using pas in its original meaning of a step.

Just as in English we might say “I am not walking one step,” in French the expression at one time was “je ne march pas,” with the meaning of “I am not walking a step.”

This use of pas became extended to apply in other cases also, and so evolved into the present day use of pas in most negative sentences.

This process of turning a noun, verb, or adjective into a grammatical word is called “grammaticalization” by those who study the history and evolution of languages. The French use of pas is just one example of this.