When I was in grade school, I was part of a new “experimental” class that was going to learn two foreign languages at one time. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we learned Spanish. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we learned French. I’m not sure what genius thought that one up, but that French? Didn’t take. Nevertheless, if you have decided your young student should learn a foreign language — and have hopefully settled on ONE (at least at a time) — this free Illustrated First Book in French eBook may be a perfect fit!
Professor Jean Gustave Keetels wrote French instruction books for all ages — beginning with this illustrated first book to an elementary grammar and on up through advanced college courses. This title was aimed at students who can read but are not yet familiar with English grammar:
For this class of scholars object-teaching seems the most suitable; that is, connecting the instruction with an object presented to the eye. This mode has been generally followed in the lessons in this book. Pictures have been prepared for the purpose, and the lessons, in Part First, directly refer to the objects in the pictures. Each lesson is headed by a name, which, in connection with the illustration, helps to impress the subject-matter of the lesson upon the mind, enables the student to recall it more readily, and creates a more lively interest.
In Part Second, the lessons refer to the illustrations in Part First, recall the name of each picture, enlarge upon the subject, and, by associating new ideas with it, keep alive the interest.
The third part of the book offers the correct English version of the French mentioned above, and the fourth and final part of the book provides a cursory look at French grammar.
The book is meant to be spread over two or more years of study — so although the lessons advance pretty rapidly they should be covered slowly, allowing time for the lessons to soak in. The recommended starting age is nine or ten years old. Older students may well cover the material more quickly.
You’ll want to read the instructions to the teacher for tips on covering the sounds the letters make in French and other helps for adapting the course to your student.
The student can copy each lesson and illustrate it on Drawing and Writing Paper, creating his own French notebook. You may also find the other resources below helpful.
I’ll always wish I had a better grasp on basic French — now is your chance!
An Illustrated First Book in French
Reputable paperback for those interested. Also available in hardback.
Translate and Speak
If you find yourself having trouble pronouncing the phrases in the lessons, run them through this program to hear them spoken in French. Select “Speak” at the top, choose French, select your speed, and press the speak button.