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Ten Books to Help Your Kids Learn French

It might be that you’re a native French speaker, or that your partner is. Maybe your grand-mère was Francophone, or maybe you spent a semester in Avignon, Brussels, or Casablanca and hope that your kids will have the same opportunity someday. In any case, you want to help your kids start learning French. 

Right you are. There’s a constant stream of research telling us that our kids will benefit from learning another language. In fact, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages keeps a running list of the benefits of language learning, as shown by research studies. The advantages fall into three categories: language learning supports academic achievement, provides cognitive benefits, and affects attitudes and beliefs. In short: languages are seriously good for kids.

And why French? Any family link to the language is reason enough, but if you’re looking for more, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development offers 17 good reasons for parents and school principals to choose French. Their list features facts such as “French is, along with English, the only language spoken on all five continents,” it’s “an introduction to an incomparable cultural universe,” and it’s “the language of international relations.”

So, where to start? There are countless books available to parents who want to help their kids learn French at home. Here’s a roundup of ten of the best, covering an age range of two to twelve. Each book listed includes help with pronunciation—either written or audio—so that even if you don’t speak any French, you can make sure your child’s on the right track.

My First French Book

2-5 years

With bright artwork in a "look-and-say" format that encourages adult-child interaction, My First French Book offers toddlers and their parents an enjoyable introduction to basic French vocabulary. A complete English-French word list at the end of the book rounds up the 200 vocabulary words, adding a helpful pronunciation guide as well as basic language tips.

My French Sticker Dictionary

3-6 years

Sticker lovers will have fun making their own sticker dictionary as they learn new words. They’ll choose the illustration labeled in French, and move its sticker to the corresponding illustration labeled in English. Two-page spreads cover themes such as “at the zoo,” “in the classroom,” and “in the vegetable garden.” There’s pronunciation help with each French word, and a complete vocabulary list at the end of the book.

French for Children with Three Audio CDs, Third Edition

3-10 years

French for Children covers topics such as “talking about family,” “saying where places are,” and “saying what you like to do.” It includes an illustrated guidebook with fun facts, an activity book full of puzzles, and three audio CDs to guide your child through the course with songs, games and activities. What’s more, you’ll have access to free print and audio downloads.

Color & Learn Easy French Phrases for Kids

4-8 years

Color & Learn Easy French Phrases for Kids’ colorable illustrations are accompanied by French words, along with their pronunciations and English translations. Vocabulary covers such basics as numbers, colors, and the days of the week. Helpful conversational phrases include essentials like "What's your name?" and "Where's the bathroom?" 

First words French

5-8 years

Travel publisher Lonely Planet presents 100 French words for kids. The vocabulary is relevant, but not exclusive, to travel, covering topics such as food, transport, animals, and weather. Each double page features one word with a simple pronunciation guide, paired with a bold, fun illustration to give the word context. First Words - French comes with access to an online audio pronunciation guide online where you can hear each word spoken clearly by a native child.

Un deux trois first french rhymes (+ cd)

5-8 years

Un Deux Trois introduces children to traditional French rhymes that are easy to pick up and fun to repeat. Gorgeous illustrations bring the songs and games to life on the page, while an accompanying CD makes the rhythms, tunes, and pronunciations clear. A guide at the end of the book explains the rhymes and how some of the games are played, and highlights useful phrases.

Teach Me Everyday French - Volume 1

5 years+

Kids and their families can listen, learn and sing along with classic songs for children in this dual-language book and CD set. Teach Me Everyday French’s 32 colorful pages feature lyrics and key vocabulary words, while the CD features the songs and narration in French and English. A second volume follows this introduction, focusing on adventures across the four seasons.

French Club Book 1

7-9 years

French Club Book 1 is an activity-based approach to French, with games, stickers, puzzles, and an accompanying CD of songs and stories. It includes tips on spelling and usage, an answers key for parents, and a “help your child” section at the start of each unit. And yes, if you and your child enjoy this one, there's a French Club Book 2.

Have you and your child already started exploring French together? If you have any favorite books to recommend, please add them in the comments below. Thanks. 


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