Berthe stories are essential to every school library, and this Christmas-related one is no exception!
Language of text: French
Type of text: picture book
Author or source: Gwen Brookes, published by Long Wittenham Publishing
Intended age of students: Key Stages 1/2/3
Source reference: 9780955467967
This is the story of how Berthe celebrates Christmas... in a sort of French way! Something funny always happens...
You can use this story either to revisit vocabulary that relates to Christmas and all the traditions around it, or you can use it to introduce the vocabulary and the traditions; you could get the children to try to guess which parts are about things that most people in France do, and which are specific to Berthe and her friends and family, through a show of hands: eg who thinks many French people have oysters on Christmas Eve? Who thinks they don't?
If introducing Christmas in French for the first time, you could get the children to keep a tally of how many times they hear the word "Noël" in the story; then you could agree on an action for "Noël" and the children have to say the word, filling in the gaps, as you read the story again. Then you can pick out the words that you want them to know and practise them, with agreed actions. Those words can finally be used as part of sentences (les décorations: elle prépare, elle met ou les 2 sont possibles?) or just for a labelling task...even possibly on a Christmas card in French!
Like all Berthe books, it includes activities, and there is also a glossary at the end, which makes it perfect for a child to read independently. All the books in the series were written especially with learners of French in mind; I can sincerely recommend them.
This book is about sharing a story about Christmas, but also about making it meaningful to the children's language learning journey: you can for instance focus on the verbs used and repeated throughout the story: elle pépare, elle met; then you can use them in the 1st person (je prépare, je mets) (see below).
Thanks to this book, children will either learn or revisit French vocabulary related to Christmas as well as Christmas-related traditions. They will reflect on their own traditions as well as those present in many French homes.
Children can write in French about what they do to get ready for Christmas... or not! (see document to help compare Berthe's Christmas to the children's: Berthe prepare Noel writing task)
Topics or themes:
work on verbs in the 3rd person, singular and plural; the negative form, including "pas de"
How much time required:
What is your favourite story to share around Christmas? Please share it in the comments below! If you would like to see more of mine... click here!
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