We’re both avid readers from morning until bedtime and much of it is in French. Carcassonne has 3 newspapers so we can start the day with the electronic versions of those. It’s not as if we read every word but enough to find out what has happened in our region overnight. Links from those take you to national and worldwide news so we don’t miss out on that either. We check the city’s website regularly where they disseminate all of the information that a resident would need on a daily basis plus a page about educational, cultural, and sporting events to attend over the next few weeks. Their Facebook page gives even more details and they also have a video presence there if you want to watch and listen to some of the local news instead of reading it. Area merchants use social media to keep us informed of promotions they are offering and the YouTube channels we follow for language learning all post lots of written content on FB and on their own websites. But what about books? All in English…until recently.
The ebook reader that I have says it will hold up to 400 books and from time to time I have to purge some of the volumes to keep it from reaching its limit. Because I tend to use this at the end of the day after we’ve been immersed in a world of written French, the books are all in instantly understood English; no concentration required. One of our neighbors discovered this deficit in our education and proposed a solution: from her extensive library she would lend us books that matched our reading level. But where to start? Logically from the age at which children here begin to read which I was astonished to see is age 3. Parents are encouraged to read aloud to their children from birth up until that point and then involve them in seeing the words and reading along.
The next question I had was what would a preschooler read and would we be interested in the topics. Our neighbor chose wisely with a book called Voyage en Train (Train Trip) since we are both rail fans. What I didn’t expect is to see phrases such as “The announcements resound from the loud speakers at the station” and on the page talking about sleeping compartments, “Cradled by the sound of the wheels, we have sweet dreams”. It doesn’t get more poetic than that. Other titles in this series for children up to age 6 cover castles, Cro-Magnon humans, outer space, and houses of the world. I wonder what subjects we’ll cover once we turn age 7? At this rate we’ll be ready for PhD studies by the time we’re teenagers.
From another neighbor we now have a grammar book used in middle school and even my French teacher wants to up the ante. Our classes focus on conversation but for homework he has me write a few paragraphs each week on my topic of choice which he then corrects in red ink, of course. I can’t wait to use the phrase “cradled by the sound” in next week’s assignment!