4 Rules for Teaching Syllables en français

Confession time!

As you probably know, I am anglophone. I grew up speaking English, in an English household, in an English community.

I fell in love with the French language in the sixth grade and never looked back, but I was taught completely in English up until grade seven.

(In grade six, I had the most amazing Core French teacher who completely opened my eyes to the French language and got me so excited to give learning a second language a go!)

Everything I was taught about reading, grammar, etc. as a child was in English.

Now that I am teaching 5-year-olds en français, I have to be sure I am teaching them the right things.

Most things are pretty evident, but not all!

For example... syllables!

English and French have different rules about syllables and when to divide a word into parts/how many parts are in a word.

Most of my students come from English-speaking homes as well, so I wanted to be sure I understood the rules correctly before trying to teach them.

And, it seems like not everyone is exactly clear on the rules for dividing words into syllables - even different resources/blog posts/etc say different things!

But guys, I LOVE rules, so I had to figure out exactly what French syllable rules are.

I did quite a bit of investigating on syllable rules and figured I might as well share them with you on my blog, so you maybe won't have to spend as much time as I did trying to figure it all out!

Are you an anglophone teacher teaching in a French early elementary classroom? Or, do you just need to brush up on the official rules of dividing words into syllables en français before you begin teaching them? Check out this blog post for four easy to understand rules for teaching syllables to French students!

How to Start the Year with Pocket Chart Poetry in your French Primary Classroom

Has this ever happened to you in maternelle?

It's September, and your kindergarten students know pretty much nothing about being in school.

You're bustling about trying to teach them how to properly use scissors and open their lunch boxes... forget about learning to read and write!

At the beginning of the year in maternelle, it can feel like you are putting out fires and running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Our main goal is to keep everyone happy, alive, and in one piece!

I've always struggled with letting go of the idea of jumping right into learning.

We have so much to cover, and so little time!

Plus, what in the world do you even DO with these 20 five-year-olds if you don't start teaching right away?!

I don't like wasting time.

Spending all of September and October learning how to walk in a line and use a glue sponge can feel like a waste of time sometimes, even though I *know* it's an important and crucial investment.

But man, sometimes, I just want to TEACH!!

This year, I snuck something new into our September/October routine, and it helped us out a lot.

This new activity helped my students pick up on some important academic skills while also learning about our routine and my expectations, so I felt like I was doing my job... and my students were building the foundation they needed for the rest of the year (behaviour-wise AND academically).

Curious about what I did differently this September?

Read on to find out!

Looking for a perfect activity to add to your alphabet routine in your French primary classroom? Pocket chart poems are perfect for la rentrée in maternelle and/or in première année. Check out this blog post for some tips and ideas for helping your students start the year with French pocket chart poetry!

How to Do Guided Reading with Students Who Have Limited French

A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend of mine who teaches in another school board.

(We both teach en français, but I teach with the francophone board, whereas she is teaching French immersion with an anglophone board).

We both teach maternelle, and so we experience many of the same experiences and frustrations.

Even though my students have French heritage, most of them do not speak French at home, so it can be challenging for them to reach our expectations and outcomes.

Our outcomes assume that they DO speak French, and fluently.

One difficulty my friend and I both share is that even though lots of our students can't really speak French yet, we are still expected to teach them how to read.

Guy. I don't know if you know this, but...

You can't read if you can't speak!

It feels so silly to me that we are expecting our students to LEARN TO READ (aka use all THREE types of clues - visual, structure, and sense) when they can't even speak yet.

How is that fair to our students?!?!

If a student can't speak, they can't use the structure or the sense to help them read.

The end!

They can use the visual, sure... but how frustrating must it be for our students to try and decode a word like "hippocampe" based solely on the visual clues, when in English (or their first language), they could simply look at the picture and know the unknown word must be "seahorse"?


Teach them to "read" we must, and we do, but ouf! - what a unique challenge for us, eh?

Before we can get these students to successfully read even a simple level one book, they will need to practice the sentence structure AND the vocabulary over and over and over again.

Since my friend and I were sharing the same frustrations, I assume it is not a challenge unique to us.

I thought you might be looking for some tips and tricks to help with this, too.

So, read on for some of my tips & tricks for doing guided reading with these students who aren't yet speaking much French.

It can be a huge challenge to teach your French immersion students to read if they don't even know how to speak French yet. Check out this blog post for some ideas to help you meet these students at their level! #lectureguidee #maternelle #frenchimmersion