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Early French with Max et Mathilde

A new series of books based on French children Max and Mathilde and their dog Noisette aims to help very young children to speak the language.

Staff and pupils in early primary partial immersion in French at an Aberdeen school have given Colours and Days of the Week, which are accompanied by an audio CD to help with pronunciation, top marks. The language methodology was road-tested with children, parents and teachers to find out what works best.

The system focuses on single words, simple phrases and extended dialogue. A translation is provided at the back of the book, encouraging children to predict words from pictures so they don't stick on word for word translation.

Philippe Couineaux is one of three native speakers teaching the early primary partial immersion in French at Walker Primary in Aberdeen. The project began in 2000 and the children who started in Primary 1 are now in Primary 7. "These books are spot-on for our Primary 23 kids," M Couineaux said.

"For children learning French as a foreign language, Days of the Week is a solid book. It uses only French and this is something that needs to be done more often, not to have to translate all the time."

He said the CD provides translations which he doesn't use with his pupils, but it would be useful for teachers who are not native speakers and might boost children's confidence.

"The songs are very good. They are simple and exactly what you need to bring to the kids and something to be encouraged."

Colours and Days of the Week are published by Blue Giraffe Press Pounds 8.99

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