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 🙂

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