Encouraging students to read for pleasure in aforeign language can be overlooked because of difficulties in finding the right material. Reading is often restricted to textbooks or to examination-style passages, and the types of article which could encourage teenagers to read in their spare time are often beyond their linguistic ability.
Bouquins a la mode provide an excellent resource for 14 to 16-year-old learners of French, and can be used in class or at home. There are eight books in all: four fiction and four non-fiction, each one fitting in with the themes of the GCSE and Standard grade syllabus.
Each reader includes three graded, illustrated texts, a vocabulary section and some comprehension exercises. The books cover various themes entertainingly: environmental issues are tackled in Lettres a Monsieur le President; some amazing facts about eating habits past and present appear in La cuisine de A a Z (the bit about eating raw mice and rats is guaranteed to getpupils talking); and life as an au-pair in England is recounted in the amusing letters in Quelle famille bizarre!
These books will be a welcome addition to a French class library, helping to consolidate vocabulary and leading into various writing and speaking activities. But most importantly, they will encourage pupils to read, and enjoy reading, in a foreign language.
Carolyn McInnes is assistant principal teacher of modern languages at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow