French Language Learning
Memrise is an absolutely beautiful free site to help you learn vocabulary in French (and fifty other languages!) in a creative and fun way! The site is continually improving through a community of learners who help to add mnemonics, pictures, videos and audio to help you learn vocabulary in your chosen language. Users can create flashcards for only the words that interest them. We just love the simplicity of design and the creative approach to vocabulary building that this site offers… for free!
Duolingo is an easy, beautifully designed site to help you learn and improve your French. What an amazing concept! Users progress through the lessons at the same time they are helping to translate websites and other documents! We just love the main user account page which looks like a flow chart to help keeps track of what you have learned so far and what is coming up next. On the right side of the page, users can keep track of how often they come to “work” as well as make some virtual friends to follow. Users can also chose to get an email reminder every day at a specified time so that they don’t forget a day! So far the site is available in French, German and Spanish but Chinese, Italian and Portuguese are coming!
Bringing Up Baby Bilingual is a great blog run by a non-native French speaker raising her kids bilingually…even though English is her mother tongue, she has committed to speaking exclusively in French to her children, for over FOUR YEARS (and her husband only speaks English)! Her site has great tips and recommendations for bringing French into your children’s lives, as well as good resource and product suggestions.
Mes Premiers Pas En Francais is a blog run by a woman who teaches French classes for 1-4 year olds in Northern Virginia. In addition to offering resources about French cultural events in the Virginia/DC/MD area, the site provides handy recommendations on websites, classes, books, DVDs/music/videos etc, geared towards raising bilingual French/English children.
Le Monde de Victor is a really wonderful educational site that has a large amount of French games and activities for 2-4 year olds…its like the PBS Kids website, but in French. It really helps if a parent can speak French at least a bit to navigate the site, but there is an option to change the language to English, Chinese or Spanish (but you then need to switch back to French in order to play the French games). Also, most of the content on the site IS NOT FREE- you need to subscribe (it is 12 euros for a whole year’s subscription, so not too bad, but you can also just sign up for a week or a month). The website has won several awards in France. Definitely worth checking out!
Mama Lisa’s World is a great site that compiles poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world. It has a very heavy focus on French and Spanish.
Momes.net is a French parenting site (so entirely in French), that is very useful for recommendations on books, activities, games and music. It also has a selection of free online games in French.
Mis Cositas is not the prettiest website, but it has an AMAZING amount of extremely useful tools for teaching Spanish, English, French and Chinese. You can watch and listen to videos and picture books in Spanish, download teaching materials, and access thematic units, with lessons, handouts and cultural connections. Just click on the link for the language you want, and enjoy. All for free!
Literacy Center Education Network is a non-profit organization with a mission to deliver free, professionally-designed, education material to preschool-age children. Not the most exciting website, but they have a lot of print-outs and interactive lessons to teach basic vocabulary and reading in French. It also offers lessons in English, Spanish and German!
General Foreign Language Learning
Multilingual Living is a fabulous resource for teaching your kids a foreign language. The site maintains a well-run blog, which is frequently updated, with wonderful tips and suggestions for bringing language into your lives.
Multilingual Children’s Association is a great site dedicated to raising children with multiple languages — expert advice and real world wisdom, parent discussions, tips, resource directory, articles and more.
Language Lizard is a very well-run and well-organized site geared towards helping parents and educators foster bilingualism in children. The site provides lesson plans, book reviews, tips and other resources. They also sell their own, proprietary language books, many of which are available in bilingual and multilingual versions. They cover over 40 languages.
American Council on Immersion Education is a pretty information intensive site (part of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition) that provides a lot of research and resources for supporting language immersion education.
Nanduti is a comprehensive resource on foreign language teaching and learning in grades preK-8, part of the Center for Applied Linguistics. The site provides lots of great articles, research and resources for teaching foreign languages to children. The site also supports a fabulous listserv Nandu, for language educators (or for curious parents!)