Article updated June 2023 – Whether your child attends a bilingual school or an American school, whether you speak French at home or not, you’re probably wondering how to keep up his or her level of French during the summer vacations.
The important thing during the summer and long vacations is to break the routine, change habits, and take a break. This doesn’t mean that you’re not going to do anything with your child. It just means that you’ll opt for a different “strategy”, and do things differently.
For example, if your child has been attending classes regularly all year, lighten the pace. If he’s been reading a lot, try podcasts. If he’s had little grammar and conjugation, try doing a little more. If you’ve skipped French altogether this year, try creating an ambitious program for the summer. Finally, if your child attends a bilingual school, don’t try to redo the whole curriculum, but rather open him up to new things, using podcasts, books, and scientific discoveries…
Whatever the objective, it must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realizable and Time-bound) to be effective. To help you, I offer you my selection of activity books, comic strips, and novels according to your objective with your bilingual child.
To increase exposure to the French language, focus on speaking and listening
Here are a few solutions if you’re not a French speaker yourself, or if you’re short of time: listen to podcasts (find my selection here), watch TV in French (find my selection here), listen to stories in French, for example with Storyplay’r.
Reading and writing
- Have him/her write postcards to family, French-speaking friends, the French teacher…
- Ask him to write down a shopping list, a recipe…
- Read: Les p’tits livres offers a special summer subscription and/or visit to the Bay’s French-language bookshop so that he/she can choose books directly and have the pleasure of seeing and touching them…
If you’re more of a vacation notebook fan… here are Jules et Léonie
Jules et Léonie are vacation notebooks with a good academic level that follow a historical framework, with cheerful, colorful, and original graphics and layouts!
Developing new skills with smart apps
Aimed at children aged 3 to 8, Corneille is a fun, interactive app for learning to read.
Savio – Based on the French national education curriculum, children work playfully on spelling, grammar, conjugation, and vocabulary from CE1 level up to middle school.
Projet Voltaire – Designed for middle and high school students, it offers a training and refresher course in grammar, conjugation, and spelling, with a customized path, tests and exercises. The interface is a little austere, but progress is guaranteed.
Sign up for a summer camp
Get out and about, meet new people, and make new friends in a bilingual environment. Here are links to a few sites offering summer camps
Alliance française de San Francisco (San Francisco)
Au beau séjour (Oakland)
Bike Camp (San Francisco and Palo Alto)
Au p’tit monde (Palo Alto)
Berkeley Bilingual School (Berkeley)
Lycée français de San Francisco (San Francisco)
Petit pas (San Francisco)
Sea Surf and Sun (Half Moon Bay)
Alliance française de la Silicon Valley (Los Gatos)
EFBA (Mountain View, San Francisco and Emeryville)
Have a pleasant summer and I’ll see you in September for new articles on bilingual education.