Last school year, I joined Mike Peto‘s CI novel writing group with the hope of writing a language reader. Having written articles for Le Petit Journal Francophone for three years, I was ready to take on the challenge of writing a longer story. It was so. much. work! But it was so. much. fun! The weekly meetings really kept me going; I highly recommend joining the group if you are thinking about writing a novel. We need more comprehensible reading materials on our bookshelves!
“When Alice, a girl who lives in the south of France, finds out she and her family are moving to Paris in a month, she is far from happy. Her friend suggests she makes a list of the most important things she wants to accomplish before she leaves. Alice writes four items on her list and sets off on a quest to discover what truly matters to her.”
The novel has 4,700 words and 350 headwords (with cognates) or 260 headwords (without cognates). I wrote it with level 2 and above students in mind. Here is a sample for you to read in order to decide if the language is appropriate for your students.
Inspired by Dr. Mason’s Story Listening method, I focused on writing an interesting story first, and then made it as comprehensible as possible by reducing the headwords from 700 to 350 (!) but still keeping the language rich. The focus of the book is Alice, and what she is going through. I hope the story will appeal to your students.
For those of you who want to supplement the book, here is a list of ideas/resources for Intermediate students:
- Tell the story of “Le Comte de Monte Cristo” using Story Listening supplementation
- Visit Le Chateau d’If with this excellent video (and/or 3D technology if you have access to it)
- Compare favorite ice creams, using Le Glacier du Roi’s mouth watering website and this awesome reportage.
- Explore what Ramadan means with a 1 jour, 1 question video
- Analyze “Je suis chez moi”, a song by Black M
- Discuss l’immigration en France, using informative short videos by Generiques.org
- Debate the place of women in sports using Alice as a starting point, and Women in soccer and Women in boxing as real life examples.
I selected the activities above because I truly believe they provide more interesting input and cultural perspective. But remember… reading and enjoying the story is the surest way to acquire language, not doing a lot of extra activities.