I don’t know French myself, can I teach my child using your program?
Yes, you can! L’Art de lire is designed to be easy to use. The lessons begin with the most basic concepts. The audio files walk the child right through the book, giving him or her opportunity to hear and repeat the words and phrases that are taught. The unique “story” approach makes the lessons fun and develops confidence by giving students a sensitivity to the flow of the language. Many homeschooling parents have written me to say that their children are “teaching themselves” using L’Art de lire. It is that easy to use!
L’Art de lire assumes that students are reading well in English. Instructions and explanations in the workbooks are given in English. Also, because L’Art de lire teaches children how to read in French, it is important that the children are already comfortable with their English phonics rules. Starting too soon could cause confusion for children who are not ready because some letters and letter combinations make different sounds in French. Generally, children should be ready to begin by grade three or four. Exception: Children who have been exposed to both English and French can begin earlier. They are already used to making the distinctions between the languages and would be familiar with the sounds of the French language.
If your children are not yet ready for L’Art de lire, you can begin with L’Art de dire, a completely oral program. L’Art de dire is a full curriculum that can be used over the course of the school year. Use your judgement. If your children are struggling with the 3r’s, perhaps you should consider postponing formal second language studies until those critical early skills are mastered. If you, as their homeschool teacher, are nearing burnout with all that you have to do, consider postponing second language studies until your children are a little older and able to do more work independently. If you and your students are keen and ready for French, L’Art de dire will get you off to a roaring start. However, you do not need to have completed any earlier program prior to beginning L’Art de lire.
Young children who have had less than three years of French should begin with L’Art de lire Level 1, especially if those years were in the primary grades. This ensures mastery of the first lessons and lays a complete foundation for the lessons to follow. Also, the first few years of French usually emphasize oral skills and younger children and even older children might not have been taught the phonics included in the earliest levels of L’Art de lire.
Most people should take about half of their school year on each of the first two levels. This allows at least two weeks on each unit in the books. Drill the vocabulary flashcards often and spend time reviewing with the audio files. Plan for one or two formal lessons each week and daily drill time: reading the stories, going through the flashcards and repeating the words and phrases using the audio files. Just “getting through” the material will not ensure mastery. Remember that developing confidence with the oral component is as important as finishing the written exercises in the workbook. Oral drill, repetition, reading the stories, and reviewing the flashcards and conjugations are crucial to success.
L’Art d’écrire is designed to follow L’Art de lire, and is written according to the guidelines for Grade 9 Core French (FSF1D) in Ontario, Canada. Download your L’Art d’écrire Sample Pages.