Parenting & Family

French Immersion - learning to read

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 7th, 2020 9:56 am
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 22, 2015
93 posts
57 upvotes
Toronto, ON

French Immersion - learning to read

For parents with kids in French Immersion- my kids will be starting SK this September and French Immersion in Grade 1. I’ve opted for remote learning, however, I’m curious if the child is expected to read in English before they start French in Grade 1.

Is there anything I can do this year to prepare for French next year?
Will learning how to read in English affect learning to read in French? Should my focus be on French phonics?
8 replies
Deal Guru
Aug 26, 2002
13526 posts
5095 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Your child will pick up French phonetics when they start FI in Grade 1 and they will have no trouble reading and conversing in French soon enough. So we try to focus on English books when our kids reads at home. The advice given by every FI teacher we've spoken to is to get the child reading age/grade appropriate books... it doesn't matter if it's English or French. Both kinds of books will be beneficial to your child's language development.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2316 posts
1115 upvotes
Ottawa
rvs007 wrote: Your child will pick up French phonetics when they start FI in Grade 1 and they will have no trouble reading and conversing in French soon enough. So we try to focus on English books when our kids reads at home. The advice given by every FI teacher we've spoken to is to get the child reading age/grade appropriate books... it doesn't matter if it's English or French. Both kinds of books will be beneficial to your child's language development.
This is all correct. In terms of expectations though no they will not be "expected" to read in English. I don't think this is even an expectation in the English stream.
Deal Guru
Aug 26, 2002
13526 posts
5095 upvotes
Toronto, ON
fogetmylogin wrote: This is all correct. In terms of expectations though no they will not be "expected" to read in English. I don't think this is even an expectation in the English stream.
Yes, I glossed over that part in my response. I do recall that when my kids were in SK, they did bring home some learn-to-read books and the teachers asked the child to read with the parents. The books were colour coded based on difficulty and they were expected to advance higher and higher throughout SK.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2008
2143 posts
369 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote: This is all correct. In terms of expectations though no they will not be "expected" to read in English. I don't think this is even an expectation in the English stream.
In the GTA there is indeed an expectation to read, and as far as I can remember it's Grade 4. Our 3 girls have each gone through the stream, and each started learing English in Grade 4
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 17, 2002
7310 posts
728 upvotes
Toronto
Not by the beginning of grade one, though many kids are able to read basic kid's 4-6 letter word books by then. We did so in English in an attempt to improve it as he also speaks another language, French will be his third. You can start helping them learn at home using something like the BOB books, see if you can find used sets.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2008
2143 posts
369 upvotes
We have had 3 girls go through French Immersion and I can say defiinitely they will start to read English in Grade 4
Deal Addict
Aug 27, 2003
1567 posts
392 upvotes
There are lots of ways to help your child to learn a new language before they are even taught a proper lesson in it. We found music was a good way to start. There are lots of places you can find French children's songs. It gets them used to hearing how French words are pronounced. You can also watch children's programming in French on YouTube. E.g. you can easily find Peppa Pig translated into French. Kids don't really need to understand the words to know what's going on in those shows, but they'll start picking up on common words that are used.

Most children can pick up language fairly easily at that age. The FI1 teacher will usually spend about the first month speaking in both English and French, and then transition to all French. By December/January, I'd say most if not all of the children will understand what the teacher is saying to them in French.

As for reading, I don't think you have worry about doing it in French as long as your child is learning to read. What's probably most important at SK-age when learning to read is how to sound out a word based on its spelling. They'll carry that technique over to learning to read French since they're the same alphabet.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 21, 2004
8424 posts
1203 upvotes
What school board are you with?

Here at OCDSB, in FI for Gr1, English is actually not technically part of the curriculum. Yes they use it, but learning to read in English and writing/spelling in English is not. They actually don't start English until Gr 2.

Mrs Stock taught our eldest to read in SK and our experience is that by understanding how phonetics worked in English, he was able to readily apply it to his French with the new pronunciation. Learning to read is never a bad thing.

I think in general we've discovered that the expectation from the public school system is very low regardless of the stream. JK only expects you to count to 20 and SK 50. You can extrapolate what that means for the other subjects. We home school à lot in addition to keep our kids challenged and at their potential.

Top