Making the leap;Primary;Reviews;Books;Modern languages

18th June 1999 at 01:00
MY FIRST OXFORD BOOK OF FRENCH WORDS. By David Melling. (also available in English). Oxford University Press pound;7.99.

THE USBORNE BOOK OF EVERYDAY WORDS IN FRENCH. by Rebecca Treays, Kate Needham and Jo Litchfield. (also available in German, Spanish and English). Usborne pound;7.99

These attractive picture word books are aimed at the very young language learner. My First Oxford Book of French Words has more than 400 words on topics such as home, shopping, at school and at the beach. Colours, numbers, shapes, time, the weather and "opposites" are also included.

Each double-page spread portrays a colourful scene, with side panels highlighting 15-20 words. The book also has a spread of "match the words with the pictures", although these seem to lack a thematic link, and there is a French vocabulary index too.

The Usborne Book of Everyday Words in French contains more than 500 words covering scenes around the home and garden, school, camping, a village and a farm, and includes sections on actions, shapes, colours and numbers. Each scene contains hidden objects to find, with a small picture showing what to look for.

The use of models generally means the visuals are clear and helps to associate word and object. The visuals in My First Oxford French Words tend to be more ambiguous.

The Usborne Book includes a FrenchEnglish dictionary with a pronunciation guide. But the benefit of having children read about French pronunciation patterns is questionable. A native-speaker or near native-speaker model for the child to imitate would seem a prerequisite for both books.

Both books need to be used on a one-to-one basis and appear to be targeted primarily at the family holiday market rather than the classroom professional.

Beate Poole Beate Poole is a lecturer in education at the University of London Institute of Education

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today