One tool for beginning French students is using French patterned texts in the classroom. It provides them with the basic tools needed to begin accessing a new language.
This is my fourth blog in a Learn to Read in French series. You can read my past posts about French letter sounds, French syllables, and French sight words by clicking the links.
Let’s be real: learning to read is hard in a second language. Reading is a developmental process, and adding another language to the mix can make things quite challenging.
As a teacher, working with emergent French students presents its own challenges. They don’t have a huge vocabulary, so using picture cues is hard. The leveled readers never seem to go low enough (seriously, my lowest leveled reader uses the word “creuse”). These books rely on previous vocabulary knowledge that’s great for students learning French as a first language, but not so much as a second.
This is why I have also preferred patterned texts for my emergent readers. They are much simpler and help students feel successful
Why should you use French patterned texts?
French patterned texts are the perfect gateway to leveled readers. They are excellent for practicing sight words and using picture cues to finish a sentence. While I don’t recommend relying solely on picture cues for language development, patterned texts help students give the confidence to feel comfortable in a language (and mentality towards learning is substantial when it comes to second language development).
Through patterned texts, I’ve seen my emergent French readers build confidence, build oral language, and gain sight word knowledge.
Can I use patterned texts for read-alouds?
Definitely! Actually, patterned texts are great for read-alouds because books that follow a pattern are best for building vocabulary with our primary French students. The key is to refrain from translating to English while reading.
It’s natural for teachers to want to translate, especially when you see confused faces. However, we don’t want our students to learn that they don’t need to comprehend French because we will always give an English explanation. Pattern texts make it easy for even the lowest level student to understand because it contains simple vocabulary.
Where can I find French patterned texts?
Personally, I create my own! I have used my French alphabet emergent reader bundle with my early readers for quite some time, and I’ve seen great success with it.
The French alphabet patterned texts each contain three different sentence stems (voici, il y a, regarde), simple vocabulary, and related images. Each patterned text contains a teacher book and two mini-book versions for students.
Not only are these alphabet patterned texts great for classroom use and read-alouds, but they also are perfect for sending home to practice reading with their parents. You can read the text a few times in class, and then send it home for them to keep and practice there.
I also use my monthly emergent reader bundle that contains four books for each month of the year. It covered a variety of topics, so your students are exposed to various different vocabulary terms.
There are enough books in this emergent reader bundle to fill your students’ book boxes for the whole year. It’s perfect for guided reading groups, read alouds, and sending home with parents.
How do I use emergent readers during guided reading?
I often use my patterned texts in my guided reading groups. We start by going over the sentence stems used in the book. Then, we explore the book together! We examine the photos and go over anything that is unknown to them.
As I guide my French students through the reader, I use various reading strategies, such as breaking down the words into syllables or discussing different compound sounds.
Lastly, we read the text together. We will look back at this text throughout the week, and then at the end of the week, I send it home with students for them to keep.
What about published patterned texts?
When the teacher made patterned texts start getting easy, I have students start using the leveled readers. I always start with a walkthrough to get students used to a new type of text, and ask them what they notice in the text. A lot of the low leveled books aren’t a story, but are vocabulary based.
I have my students look at the pictures, and we discuss what they see. Then, we take a look at the sentence pattern. I have them use 1-1 correspondence by pointing to the words while they read.
Don’t forget repetition is key with emergent readers. Don’t feel bad for reading and rereading the same book with your students – this is actually excellent practice for them!
Want to try out a patterned text? Sign up for a Freebie of my French alphabet emergent reader bundle below!