French Input

French the natural way: reading to speak fluently

Coucou les French learners,

je profite des derniers jours d’été, I am enjoying the last summer days here in Germany.

Dans la région de la Thuringe.

I also enjoy watching how my learners are improving little by little through reading and listening to French. It is always kind of magical to see how the brain processes the input in another language and then produces output naturally and effortlessly.

Lately, I have received so many beautiful testimonies proving my motto!



The path to fluency

Most people think (and I did too) that you have to practice speaking in order to become fluent in another language. However, as we now know now that second language learners go through similar stages as first language acquirers, there is no need to practice output.

Stephen Krashen in 1981 wrote: … One can acquire in a second language or a first language, without ever producing it. There are several arguments for this intake hypothesis. 
… as mentioned earlier, there are several studies showing that delaying speech in second language instruction, when active listening is provided, causes no delay in attaining proficiency in second language acquisition, and may even be beneficial … Also, there are suggestive informal accounts of language acquisition in other cultures, where active listening is stressed. …. Finally, there is the well-established fact from child language acquisition studies that comprehension normally precedes production. Production, in fact, need never occur.” 

This week, in my Spanish class I asked my students to fill in a reading reflection sheet (created by amazing experienced teacher Bryce Hedstrom). I hadn’t seen them last week and had asked them to keep reading a graded reader by themselves. To my delight, most of them had actually finished to read their books and their reflections were fantastic.

One learner explained that when she called her Spanish friend, she naturally said some Spanish structures she had read!

The Spanish readers at the school library and one of my learner’s reading reflections.

Another French learner told me he read Le Petit Prince and Le petit Nicolas which he enjoyed. Last week, when he had to call a shop in France, for the first time he felt confident speaking in French and he could maintain a conversation over the phone.

Gaston Lagaffe

Une histoire et un livre

Last Saturday, I added a new longer story (26 minutes) to season #4 about three princesses forced to live in la Basilique de Notre-Dame de Fourvière in Lyon.

You can actually read the story in this captivating reader by Kristy Placido Nuits mystérieuses à Lyon. In fact, I have just added the review into the playlist: Critiques de livres! This is my little bonus video to you this week, yeah!

Happy French acquisition and keep reading!

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

French the natural way: les fables

Coucou les French learners,

Are you feeling overwhelmed with French?

Many of my learners want to travel to France and/ or be ready for a French examination. At one point they do feel overwhelmed. They want to know certain grammar points or to be able to pronounce some difficult words in French. I also do feel overwhelmed with German and Portuguese too.

However, the answer is simple: #inputaloneissufficient

The conditions to acquire a language

How does language acquisition take place? Research over the last four decades has shown that:

1. We acquire language when we understand what we hear and read, that is, when we get “comprehensible input.”

2. We need to receive a massive amount of rich compelling (highly interesting) comprehensible language input in order to make good progress in acquiring a language.

3. Second language learners go through similar stages as first language acquirers.

4. Acquiring a language and learning about the language are not the same thing.

5. Consciously learned rules of the language are not helpful in real communication; they are only helpful when we take a written grammar or vocabulary test, and sometimes in editing our writing.

6. We should not feel defensive, anxious and threatened in a language classroom.

Source: Beniko Mason

When wanting to be ready in French or in any other languages, listen and read everyday. #trustheprocess

Jean de La Fontaine

For the second episode of season #4, I am sharing another fable of great fabulist Jean de La Fontaine. He is one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He published 240 fables in total. In his fables, Jean de La Fontaine used animals to mock the King, Louis XIV and his court making them funny to read.

Jean de La Fontaine had an interesting life and he truly reinvented the genre of the fables. You can watch the film, Jean de La Fontaine, le défi to learn more about him.

Les fables de La Fontaine avec l’exemple du Corbeau et du Renard.

Reading the authentic fables of La Fontaine is challenging, even for French natives. That is why I would rather tell you the story of the fable in a comprehensible way so that later on you can read and comprehend the authentic text.

Recently, I purchased a collection of fables level A1 books from the book company CIDEB which are written comprehensibly.

I intend to tell you more interesting fables in the near future!

Here is the latest one about a lion (who would be King Louis XIV) and a mouse or a rat (who would be a poor subject of the King). Enjoy!

For more fables by Jean de La Fontaine, watch season #3 Le corbeau et le renard and then listen to me reading the fable.

Also watch Le rat des villes et le rat des champs and listen to me reading the fable.

Merci du fond du coeur, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your encouraging and inspiring comments on my videos. They always make my days!

Happy French acquisition!

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)


French the natural way: boost ton cerveau !

Coucou les French learners,

Today is la rentrée in France. French children go back to school and the beaches and holiday resorts are now empty until les prochaine grandes vacances, next summer holidays!

“Tell me about your holidays…”, “You didn’t follow us on Instagram?”

Read more information with numbers about going back to school in France. Also watch a video to find out if school is obligatoire, compulsory in 1 jour 1 actu article.

Booster le cerveau

The other day, my Dad shared this very interesting article about how to build a brain like a gymnast. The first thing that came was to READ! According to the author, Aytekin Tankthe world’s most successful people tend to have one thing in common: their thirst for knowledge and their love of books. Barack Obama reads an hour a day. Bill Gates reads one book a week.

If you think reading in another language is too hard, start with with very easy books. Even one pleasant, satisfying experience can change your attitude. “In one study, English teachers in Korea who did not feel confident engaging in pleasure reading in English themselves were introduced to easy children’s readers and they became very enthusiastic about introducing reading into their classes (Cho, 2012).” Books with only a few words on each page are good a way to start with. Little by little, you will understand more and more language, and you will be able to read longer books.

Recently, I purchased some level 1 books from the book company CIDEB and I find the books are perfect to start reading in French.

Here is another great easy book to start with in French Brandon Brown dit la vérité by Carol Gaab.

Evan Williams says about reading: “The information we consume matters just as much as the food we put in our body. It affects our thinking, our behavior, how we understand our place in the world. And how we understand others.

Now to boost your brain even more, here is an informative French article about the food you should add to your diet (to have your brain running at full speed!).

Histoires Pressées

Learn French the natural way Season #4 is finally up and running!!! I am excited to share a new brand video telling a cute and fun story about a cat.

This short story is entitled Soupçon and comes from a lovely book by French author Bernard Friot , Histoires pressées.

My goal is to tell you stories taken from French books so that they are easier for you to understand and to read later on. I also hope it inspires you to read in French!



Happy French acquisition!

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

French the natural way: bonne fête !

Coucou les French learners,

Vous avez passez un bon week-end ? Did you have a good weekend?

Last Saturday 25th August, we celebrated my son’s saint, Saint Louis. It is the French practice of celebrating one’s “saint’s day”. Almost every day in the calendar has a saint’s name assigned to it, some have more than one (January 6 has five). When it is your “name day”, we will usually wish you ” Bonne fête “. It is not a big thing, but it is the custom to acknowledge it. Although, we should really celebrate your name day la veille, the day before the actual day as the Catholic tradition says.

Géraldine, comme une française explains the name day in more details in an informative video.

Saint Louis

In a previous newsletter, I told you how important it was for me to teach my children about French culture and history. I also wrote about the fact that a language is much more than words, it is a culture, a tradition, a history.

Saint Louis is a big part of French histoire. He became Roi de France, King of France, Louis IX at the age of 12 following the death of his father Louis VIII the Lion. However his mother, Blanche de Castille, Blanche of Castile, ruled the kingdom until he reached maturity.

Louis IX is a popular king because he lived in all simplicity in le château de Vincennes . He developed French royal justice, in which the king was the supreme judge to whom anyone could appeal to seek the amendment of a judgment. He banned trials by ordeal, tried to prevent the private wars that were plaguing the country and introduced the presumption of innocence in criminal procedure.

Saint Louis is often represented under un chêne, an oak tree where he would sit and listen to people who came to complain. He would always judge fairly.

Louis IX rendant la justice sous son chêne, gravure du XIXème siècle

Saint Louis also took an active part in  Crusades. He died from dysentery during his last crusade on a bed of ashes because he wanted to expiate his sins.

He built the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the small island on the River Seine is named after him, l’île Saint-Louis because he used to go there and pray.

Les magnifiques vitraux de la Sainte-Chapelle 

L’île Saint-Louis, quai de Bourbon

Read more about Paris and its history and answer a quiz in this great blog post written for French learners. Read more about Louis IX on Wikimini.

(Re)watch my video about la chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-côte where I tell you more about some saints and how to recognize them on paintings and sculptures:

Lire pour le plaisir

Last week, I was delighted to see my learners reading French books and keeping at it. Some learners are reading authentic books and some others are reading graded readers, books aimed at French learners. This site is another goldmine to order graded French readers with adapted authentic texts.

Dr. Beniko Mason who developed Story Listening says about reading: “Story-Reading is introduced gradually and gently, using texts of high interest, so that students find the reading comprehensible and enjoyable. Our goal (as teachers) is to establish a pleasure reading habit, which will ensure continued progress in the language. In order to achieve this goal, we need to help students develop their language competence to the high intermediate or low advanced level, so they can understand at least some “authentic” aural and written input in the language afterwards.

Our aim is to help learners become autonomous acquirers of the language, so they can improve on their own.

Louis reading whilst toasting bread for the family!

This is exactly what I intend to do with my learners!



Happy French acquisition!

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

French the natural way: your language parent

Coucou les French learners,

Last Wednesday, the French celebrated le quinze août. Whilst everything is on pause in France, it is back to work where I live!

My six years old son started his first year at school and he is loving it so far. The German system is very different from the French education system. I already did a video about how birthday celebrations are different in France and in Germany. I should probably do one about schooling. Qu’en penses-tu ? What do you think?

My son goes to school from 8 in the morning to 12:30. Afternoon are free. I am happy to be freelance and to teach mostly online. That way, I can spend quality time with my children.

Here is the recurring conversation between my son and I, when I pick him up after school:

Moi : ” Ça s’est bien passé à l’école aujourd’hui ? “
Lui :  ” J’ai beaucoup travaillé, Maman. J’ai encore plus travaillé qu’hier ! “

Ecoute, écoute, écoute

My dear man and I are working hard on Season #4 new videos coming out in September on my YouTube channel.

I am so exciting, I can’t wait to share new fun stories with you!

Un lion dort paisiblement…

Whilst waiting, watch or rewatch the previous seasons. Polyglot, Steve Kaufmann gives wise tips to become more efficient at listening and one of his tips is to listen several times to the same thing. Since we are on the topic of school, (re)watch this cute story about a little girl called Claudine. Pourquoi est-ce qu’elle ne sourit pas aujourd’hui ? Why is she not smiling today?

You can also (re)listen to this children’s book about morning routine. Although it is a childish story, it is packed with useful vocabulary and structures.

Ton parent

I have been trying to find a better name for language teacher. A language cannot be taught and so French teacher is not really appropriate with what I do.

I do very much like language booster because I do facilitate another language. I do motivate and boost learners to find & receive compelling comprehensible input.

Recently, I saw the term language parent being used and I like it very much too. Like I do with my own children, I tell stories to my learners so that they receive rich and abundant input. I want my children to be able to read on their own and to become independent later on in life. The same happens with my learners, I want them to be able to read in another language and to become independent learners later on. As a language parent, little by little I let go. When YOU, as a learner, have received sufficient rich comprehensible input, you are ready to let go and to keep acquiring the language on your own.

This image of the iceberg is spot on to understand how language acquisition happens. You can replace Spanish by French, it works for any languages!

#trustheprocess #inputaloneissufficient

Happy French acquisition!

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it :-)

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