In French Immersion, vocabulary is so important! From day one in Kindergarten, your child’s teacher will begin introducing routines and games to help your child learn the right words and expressions to be able to express themselves in French. If your child tends to be shy, though, or perhaps is nervous to say something incorrectly, building vocabulary can be a challenge. This can then lead to struggles in other areas, such as reading, because the context clues are harder to use when you don’t understand the words that you are decoding.
Here are 3 ideas to help your child strengthen their french vocabulary:
- Create fun opportunities for your child where they will be encouraged to speak in French. Spending time with francophone or French-speaking families is a great way to do this. Check out the Francophone Association of St. John’s and Canadian Parents for French for great activities! We also have a weekly, virtual French conversation class for kids at French For Life.
- If your child is nervous about making mistakes, try reading books with them that encourage perseverance and a growth mindset. Some suggestions are:
- You Can Do It, Bert! – Ole Konnecke
- The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires
- The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do – Ashley Spires
Other books on perseverance can be found on Reading Power’s blog.
By helping your child see the importance of trying new things, even when it’s hard, they may begin to feel more comfortable trying different words and expressions in French, despite not being able to say everything perfectly. Remember, it’s by trying and making mistakes in a new language that we make the most progress!
- Start a word wall at home. You can use this free word wall template from Teachers Pay Teachers or you free-style it to suit your home’s decor! This strategy works best when your child shares new words that they’ve learned at school each day. From there, make it a family project to add those words to the word wall. Maybe even have a little treat for every 25 words added to the wall!
As always, it takes time to move forward but it really is worth investing time into helping your child expand their vocabulary! As the vocabulary grows, so will their confidence :)
Mme Michelle is an Instructional Resource Teacher in St. John’s, Newfoundland and is passionate about helping students with diverse needs thrive at school and in the real world. She started French For Life in 2012 with the goal of helping French Immersion students get the support they need to become bilingual, despite academic challenges. Interested in learning more about French For Life virtual or in-person tutoring? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.