Teaching Beginner Level FSL Students to Read with Phonics

Teaching Beginner Level FSL Students to Read with Phonics

Bonjour, chers professeurs de français! As educators, one of our primary goals is to empower our students to become confident readers. For beginner-level students of French as a Second Language (FSL), phonics can be a powerful tool to unlock the world of reading. Phonics involves teaching the relationship between sounds and letters, enabling learners to decode and read words with accuracy and fluency. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies and activities to incorporate phonics instruction into your FSL classrooms, ensuring that your students develop a strong foundation in reading from the very beginning.


1. Start with the Basics:

Begin by introducing the French alphabet and its unique sounds. Emphasize the differences between the French and English alphabets, as well as any special characters (e.g., é, è, ê) that represent distinct sounds. Utilize visuals, flashcards, and interactive activities to make the learning process engaging and memorable. Check out these FREE alphabet cards by Ashley Ramos with pronunciation guide to get you started.


2. Teach Letter-Sound Correspondence:

To introduce phonics, associate each letter with its corresponding sound. Focus on the most common sounds first, such as 'a,' 'e,' 'i,' 'o,' and 'u.' Use clear pronunciation examples and repetitive exercises to help students master these foundational sounds. Gradually introduce consonants and less common vowels as they progress.


3. Introduce Phonemic Awareness:

Before diving into phonics, build phonemic awareness skills, which involve recognizing and manipulating individual sounds in spoken words. Conduct activities that require students to identify initial, medial, and final sounds in words. This step lays the groundwork for phonics as students understand how sounds come together to form words. 


4. Syllables and Blending:

Break down French words into syllables, and teach students how to blend these syllables together to read the whole word. Encourage students to clap out the syllables and then blend them to enhance their phonemic abilities. Gradually increase the complexity of words as their confidence grows. French Immersion avec Mme Sophie has generously offered up this free deck of BOOM cards for practicing syllables in French.


5. Cognates and High-Frequency Words:

Leverage the power of cognates, which are words in French that share a similar spelling and meaning with English words. Introduce high-frequency words, like "je," "le," "la," "et," etc., that frequently appear in texts. These familiar words create a sense of accomplishment and motivation for beginner learners. Use this full powerpoint lesson plan, word wall and activities to teach your students about French-English cognates.


6. Engage with Phonics Activities:

Make learning enjoyable through various phonics activities. Use interactive games, puzzles, and online resources that target specific phonics skills. Create word-building exercises using letter cards or magnetic letters, where students can manipulate letters to form words. Check out this comprehensive set of 26 French phonics brochures filled with activities for the whole year.

French phonics activities


7. Read Aloud and Shared Reading:

Regularly read aloud to your students, exposing them to the rhythms and intonations of the French language. Incorporate shared reading activities where students follow along with you, highlighting the words as you read. This helps students understand the connection between spoken and written language. If you’re having trouble accessing French books in your area, or would like a digital version, please check out The French Experiment’s website for access to FREE read-alouds that even come with audio!

French phonics activity brochures for the whole year


8. Decodable Books:

Use decodable books specifically designed for beginner learners. These books contain words with phonetically regular patterns, allowing students to practice their phonics skills in context. Gradually increase the complexity of the texts as students gain proficiency. Check out the Science of Reading in French’s TPT shop for decodable reading in French activities.



As French teachers, teaching beginner-level FSL students to read using phonics lays a strong foundation for their language learning journey. By systematically introducing letter-sound correspondences, blending, and phonemic awareness, students can decode words with confidence and embark on a fulfilling reading experience. Remember to make learning engaging and enjoyable through interactive activities, read-aloud sessions, and the use of decodable books. With your guidance and support, your FSL students will soon become proficient readers, opening up a world of possibilities through language! Bon courage!

No comments

Post a Comment