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Learning Another Language

The books on this page are designed to help children learn another language. You'll find other useful suggestions on our bilingual books page.

Skoldo and the Little French Rabbit
by Lucy Montgomery, illustrated by Dave Chisholm
(Ecole Alouette)
Skoldo is very normal boy in a baseball cap, but the rabbit he meets is far from ordinary- he speaks French and offers to teach Skoldo some words. By the end of the book, Skoldo and the reader have learned eight nouns and the phrases "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" and "Au revoir". The pictures are funny and bright and there's a CD to help with pronounciation.
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Snappy First Words in French
Illustrated by Derek Matthews
(Templar)
Bright illustrations and pop-ups combine to give this book instant appeal for primary age children. The words themselves are labels written on the pictures in French. It's fairly easy to guess the meanings but you can also have fun pulling tabs and lifting flaps to find the English equivalent. There is no pronunciation guide so young beginners will probably need to use this book with a French speaking adult.
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The Alternative GCSE Guides - French
by Rachel Wright
(Scholastic)
Written in a friendly style with plenty of cartoons, this revision guide provides useful reminders of how French works plus hints on how to tackle exams and liven up your writing. It's likely to appeal most to motivated students who are happy to work on their own, especially those who find the school textbook either too challenging or too simple.
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German Fun
French Fun
by Catherine Bruzzone, Lone Morton and Louies Comfort
(b small publishing)
The wide range of activities in this book include a dot-to-dot, a crossword, pictures to match, differences to spot and clothes to cut out for a couple of press out characters. Not so good for the classroom as most sections can only be used once, but fun for language practise at home.
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Colour in French
Colour in Spanish
by Catherine Bruzzone and Clare Beaton
(b small publishing)
These books introduce a range of useful words illustrated with pictures to colour. Unfortunately there is no pronounciation guide but, if you're going on a foreing holiday, one of these could provide an interesting way to keep a child busy on the journey.
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My First Oxford French Words
My First Oxford German Words
Illustrated by David Melling Compiled by Neil Morris
(Oxford University Press)
Both these books are identical - only the languages are different. Each consists of attractive double page illustrations packed with detail and with small pictures each side together with the appropriate french or german word. These spreads cover useful sets of vocabulary including going to school, animals, the professions and a particularly delightful one for going to bed which features plenty of fairy tale characters. Other pages offer illustrated guides to the words for numbers, shapes, opposites, weather and time plus a match the word to the picture activity. The index lists the 400 French or German words used together with the page where they are illustrated but unfortunately there is no help provided with pronunciation. An appealing book for children at the beginner stage and likely to hold the attention of reluctant readers. Useful for providing extra help at home or for the reading corner in the classroom.

  (with thanks to Carol)
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Buy German version from Amazon

The Usborne Book of Everyday Words in French
The Usborne Book of Everyday Words in German
(Usborne)
Again both these books are identical - only the languages are different. These are illustrated with large photos of models of various situations surrounded by small photos of objects and their French or German names. The useful range of topics includes the bathroom, the office and the garden as well as a birthday party and a trip to the park. In addition, some pages only have smaller photos to give lists of vocabulary including types of foods, clothes, vehicles, parts of the body and numbers. All the words used are listed at the back with their meaning and a phonetic version to help pronunciation. Useful for providing children at the beginner stage with the basic vocabulary they need.
Clear enough to use with children with special needs although older ones may find the pictures too young.

  (With thanks to Carol)
Buy French version from Amazon    
Buy German version from Amazon

Beginner's French Dictionary
Beginner's German Dictionary
Beginner's Italian Dictionary
Beginner's Spanish Dictionary
by Helen Davies and others
(Usborne)
The words in these identical dictionaries are divided into topics although unfortunately the headings are only given in English. Each topic has a double page spread with colour drawings on which vocabulary words are written in the appropriate language. These words are also listed in boxes on the page together with their English meaning. There is no pronunciation guide given at this point but it is available in the English-French word list (or its equivalent) at the end of the book. This is useful for revision and allows children to look up the word they want to use. However it doesn't help them find the meaning of a French, German, Italian or Spanish word so these books cannot completely substitute for a traditional dictionary. The range of topics covered is well chosen to cover most of the subjects children may be asked to write or talk about plus some more unusual ones including politics. The grammar section at the back is easy to follow and a useful memory jogger. Despite their names, these books are best for children beyond the complete beginner stage and can be used throughout key stage 3.
Ages 11+

  (with thanks to Carol)
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Buy German version from Amazon   
Buy Italian version from Amazon    
Buy Spanish version from Amazon   

Latin for Beginners
by Angela Wilkes
(Usborne)
This is one of a series of books dealing with different languages. Despite their titles, they are not easy for beginners to use because they lack help with pronunciation (unless they include a tape) and progress very quickly. However, the Latin one featured here is a delightful way to brighten up a usually dull subject. It treats learning Latin in the same way as learning any other language with phrases and vocabulary you need for a variety of situations including eating a meal, asking the way and looking for a lost hamster. Useful for older children and adults who are already studying Latin.

  (With thanks to Carol)
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