For parents whose children are bilingual, a crucial question arises every year at the start of the new school year: How can they encourage their offspring to become fully bilingual?

It’s a lifelong journey until it becomes not only part of their history but also a personal choice and part of their identity. So, how do you approach each new school year successfully? How can we offer constant support? What tools and resources should be used?

Regardless of your child’s particular situation, whether he or she attends an English-language or French-language school, here is a series of pertinent tips and reflections on the importance of language exposure time, the crucial role of reading, and useful resources to make this bilingual journey even more enriching.

Language learning is greatly influenced by exposure time. So it’s a good idea to think about ways of increasing this exposure, even passively, to French. For example, listening to podcasts and nursery rhymes, or even entertaining and educational songs, can considerably enrich language exposure time.

What’s more, activities such as watching films, TV series, cartoons, or even documentaries in French are all simple, fun strategies for increasing this immersion. You could take advantage of the car journey to school, brushing your teeth, or even moments spent in the dentist’s waiting room to integrate these language activities. The key is to establish a routine because that’s how this exposure time will become a ritual.

You can check out my selection of podcasts and my list of films if you’re looking for new ideas.

The importance of reading in language learning is undeniable. To encourage this habit, several subscription packages are available. Take Bayard Monde, for example, which offers a variety of magazine subscriptions suitable for all ages. Your children could plunge into captivating worlds with titles such as “Les Belles Histoires”, “Wakou”, “J’aime Lire”, “Géo Ado” and “Un Jour Une Actu”. Another option, Les Petits Livres, offers a home library: by opting for a monthly subscription, you receive books directly to your home. Once you’ve finished reading, the books can be returned in the envelope provided. This initiative not only encourages the reading of books but also provides a recurring pleasure for the child with each new delivery. L’École des Loisirs offers an innovative formula whereby you receive age-appropriate books throughout the year. This method stimulates your child’s interest in reading by offering material that is always adapted to his or her level.

Finally, to support your child’s bilingual development, there is a range of useful resources available from kindergarten through to high school. Corneille, for example, is an option that will help your child learn to read as soon as he or she shows an interest in letters and the written word. Meanwhile, Savio can be an invaluable ally in supporting your child from CE1 through to 6ème, offering tailored support at every stage of his or her school career. And once they’re in high school, Projet Voltaire is an effective resource for consolidating their language skills.

If you have any further questions or would like to find out more about these topics, I invite you to attend my next bilingual educational café “Spécial Rentrée” on Friday, September 8 at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) as part of Les Ateliers d’Emilie. This will give you the opportunity to exchange ideas and share your experiences with other like-minded parents.To register, click here.

I wish all parents and their bilingual children an enthusiastic and successful start to the new school year.

Merci Emilie

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