French the natural way: listen to stories!

Coucou les French learners,

Last week, I mentioned a story I co-created with a learner to help her remember a list of words she had to memorize. I strongly believe in the power of stories because when your mind listens to a story, it generates multiple connections. Instead of establishing just one connection (which happens when you learn from a word list), multiple connections allow your brain to store the new word effortlessly and permanently. Therefore I am confident some of the new words are now stuck in this particular learner’s brain because she can relate them to Phoebe and her lost hamster! You can read the story here.

I now also teach a grade 12 IB Spanish class which requires students to know a wide range of vocabulary and structures. Instead of giving them weekly lists of words and expressions related to the different topics we have to cover, I tell them a new story every lesson. I follow the story listening approach by Dr. Beniko Mason where “it’s the story that counts“! Listening to a story not only builds vocabulary, it also improves fluency and accuracy in a language. More importantly, it “builds a bridge to reading because it provides the linguistic competence needed for book reading.”


After my learners have listened to a story, I ask them to write the story in their native language. I can find out if learners have comprehended the story, because “we acquire a language when we understand what people are saying to usDr. Stephen Krashen.

An example of a Spanish story retell.

You can do the same! My videos available on YouTube are story listening videos! So after you watch a video, write the story in your mother tongue and try to include as many details as you can to see if you understood what you heard. You will see that little by little (as the picture above which is a Spanish story), you will start to include French words, then full sentences. And it will mean that you have acquired French.

L’histoire de la semaine

Est-ce que tu aimes danser ? Do you like to dance? This week’s story is based on another story based on the book Putting it together by Elizabeth Skelton and Denise Milligan. The English story is entitled “Bigfoot”.

You will acquire:
Il a des très grands pieds = he has very big feet
Elle trébuche sur = she trips on
Elle tombe = she falls
Il se casse le bras = he breaks his arm

You will also hear a typical French expression which is the same as “No way!” in English. Watch my one minute video to find out more about it.

Can you believe it is story number quarante-cinq, forty-five already?

As always, I love hearing from you! Let me know whether you are enjoying Season #2? Est-ce que tu aimes la saison #2 ?

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

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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