French Story Listening

Acquire French the natural way by listening to stories:

The natural way to acquire another language is to first listen to the language. You already did it when you were a baby. You did not talk first and your parents did not force you to talk, they kept talking to you and telling you stories. The same happens here, you should first listen to the language you want to learn and then speak it when you are ready!

Here are stories I tell my French learners and which I recorded so that anyone wanting to acquire French can listen to.

Stories are intriguing, they capture your imagination and instead of focusing on learning a language, you are focusing on comprehending the story. The language itself is not your worry anymore, you are interested in the content, in knowing what is going to happen next in the story and therefore you are acquiring the language without noticing it. Stories are also stress free, they calm the mind down. The stories usually start with “Once upon a time there was a …” which is a typical beginning and everyone feels comfortable with familiarity and do not feel threatened or uneasy.

It is like magic. All you have to do is to listen to a story in French every day or every week, and your fluency and proficiency will improve. When you understand and have fun listening to stories in French, you will get better in French.

I will be posting the latest stories on this page. If you want to listen to more stories, subscribe to my YouTube Channel here!

6 thoughts on “French Story Listening

  1. Hi Alice! My name is Shawn. Laying in bed this morning thumbing through Facebook on one of my groups one of your posts popped up the les trois princesses. I listened to the entire story with my non speaking partner next to me as I translated the story. I am too very good passionate about languages and teaching. I teach French here in the U.S. in the state of N.J. I teach level 1 to Advance placement and my struggles with them are hard because there isn’t enough time is allowed to develop the level the exam demands. They must achieve a very high level of French in 3 and a half years. It would be easier if the exam was a grammar exam even though French grammar is difficult. The exam entails reading, reading with audio listening, email writing a response usually formal, a persuasive essay in which they read a source the second source is audio listening and the 3rd is a graph. They must then site all the sources in the writing. Plus 2 speakings one is a conversation in which they must answer a set of questions and continue the conversation and the other is 2 minute cultural comparison of Francophone culture and the Amercain culture. So the kids must achieve a very high level but are starting at BONJOUR! This a hard accomplishment! The thing I struggle the most is giving them enough authentic listening ask they can understand the language at a regular speed the exam uses news, podcasts, broadcasts from around the Francophone world. After hearing 4 of your stories and your introduction video, I want to try and follow your steps with my lower levels and see how much more I can grow their ability to understand naturally the language. The issue is we have to grade students and provide tests and that makes it hard for them because they are concerned of their grades more than the skills and ability to understand the language. Tomorrow I’m going to try Le hoquet. With my level 2 class who have very little skills because I didn’t have them for French 1. Once they listen to the story… do you ask questions in French? Would it be better to ask what did “la grenouille” mean? Would you have students see the words written in French and write the English of the words or would you repeat the vocab and they write the translations of the words. I would like join your class and learn from you be a student and see how I can aid my students. I myself loved French in school and then studied in college but after 4 years in college I still couldn’t speak I could understand but not speak. It took several trips abroad and immersing myself in the language before I could really speak. So I think my students are actually stronger than I was when I was in high school. I’m really struggling on getting them to speak the language. They are scared to talk afrAid of errors and want high grades. It’s hard to learn a language this way, and as you stated it’s not how we learned our first language. So I’m
    Hoping you can help me become a better teacher and get my students and myself better st French. I love what I do but it’s starting to get harder and harder. This is my 16th year teaching French. I hope to hear from you

    1. Thank you very much for reaching out Shawn! I totally understand your concerns. I know a bit about AP and how hard it is. I also prepare my Spanish students for the IB exam and last year I actually only used Story Listening and Reading to prepare them for the exam (which is a bit similar to the one you described). My students achieved amazing results and I got the proof that input alone is sufficient. I also get that your students are interested in grades so after you tell a story, ask your students to write a summary of it in English. The goal is to check they understood the story. You can grade their summaries which can go in a portfolio. At the end of the year, they will have a tick portfolio with many stories, they might also start to write the summaries in L2 little by little. But you are not checking accuracy, you are only checking comprehension. So I don’t ask comprehension questions in L2, I do not do post/pre activities because the goal is acquire the language subconsciously, the way we did when we were kids. My lessons have little output and massive dose of rich input because like you, I don’t see them enough. I tell my students a story, they write a summary of it in L1, then they read the story (if they are beginners) or they read a book. If you trust the acquisition process, you will see that after many stories and many readings, your students will start to output. Here is more info about Story Listening and Reading https://storiesfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/SF_handout_ParentInfo.pdf
      and here is the website with demos and resources https://storiesfirst.org/ Let me know if you have more questions, I will be happy to help you.

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