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Minneapolis French Immersion Resources for Families

Parents of children entering French immersion at The French Académie in Minneapolis often ask us for resources to help bring more of the French language and culture into their homes. Here, we hope to share some resources for families not only in Minneapolis but nationwide as they incorporate French in their daily lives. Many families enter French immersion without any experience with the French language themselves. What an excellent learning opportunity to learn alongside your child!


The School or Local Library

One of the easiest ways to acquire french books is at the school or local library.


Minneapolis French Immersion Resources for Families
Maternelle students explore French books in our school library at The French Academie in Minneapolis.

Students in The French Académie Maternelle classrooms check out a French book to bring home every week. Students love to visit the library each week to explore their latest interest. Studies have shown that access to books and frequent library visits significantly contribute to language development and emergent literacy skills in young children.


Minneapolis libraries especially have a great selection of French books. Simply check with the librarian if you are unaware of where the french language books are located. Alternatively, if you are looking for something in particular, you might request an interlibrary loan with your library card. Additionally, many libraries have book sales about one to two times per year, at which french books might be available at steeply discounted prices. 


L'école des loisirs

L’ecole des loisirs is a French publishing house that does a lovely program in which children can receive french books for their age group delivered monthly (during the school year) to them. At The French Academie, we provide this service to our students' families so that it can be easily set up through the school, but it can also be arranged on their website. These stories are fantastic as they are written by French authors rather than translated into French. With such stories, we are able to also get a deeper understanding of French culture as well as authentic daily French language and expressions.


Each year, L’ecole des loisirs releases their new selections for each age group on their Youtube channel with a bit of background on the reasoning for selections. For example, here is an overview of their selection for the 2023-2024 Titoumax for ages 2-4 years old: https://youtu.be/KK9NjxaUV4c?si=oMEU5DLBFDlYi7ck


Please feel free to contact The French Académie at info@thefrenchacademie.org if you would like to set up your subscription!


French Magazines

Another way to bring French into your home on a regular basis is through French magazine subscriptions. These are nice as issues often correlate with seasonal celebrations and cultural traditions.


At The French Academie, we invite families to order through the Bayard Jeunesse publishing company. They offer a variety of publications for children from 1 to 19 years of age. Some of our favorites for younger children include Popi, Babar, Mes Premières Belles Histoires, et Pomme d’Api. Pomme d’Api also has a monthly story that is read on their podcast “La grande histoire de Pomme d’Api”. What an excellent opportunity to practice pronunciation!


Again, please feel free to contact us at The French Academie at info@thefrenchacademie.org if you would like to subscribe!


For Parents: Google Translate

For French learners, it’s always helpful to have a French translation app on your phone, particularly while reading books and magazines. Aside from just translating, Google Translate offers a pronunciation feature to ensure we are pronouncing tricky words correctly.


Music & Nursery Rhymes

Music and nursery rhymes are a favorite for young children, and at The French Academie we take full advantage of this interest! Music is incorporated into our day as we transition from place to place, before we eat, and as we learn new things. We have a song book that children bring home and are encouraged to also sing at home. Music and rhymes are a wonderful way to learn language for children, and even adults.


It is also a wonderful way to get a deeper understanding of French culture. For instance, the popular French children’s magazine Pomme d’Api (mentioned above) is a nod to the famous French children’s rhyme “Pomme de reinette et pomme d’api”. 


At home, it might be nice to add a book to songs or music. Un, Deux Trois: First French Rhymes is a nice collection of 25 illustrated nursery rhymes that comes with a CD to bring the book to life. If you do not have a CD player, many of these songs can be easily found online. Alternatively, there are a variety of French Nursery Rhymes playlists on Spotify, or you can make your own!


Popular French Books & Where to Find Them

Minneapolis French Immersion Resources for Families
Our Maternelle students enjoying the adventures of Petit Ours Brun in our school library

As you build your French library at home, there are a variety of popular French books and characters for small children to become familiar with. It is nice to incorporate French books rather than books translated into French as French books will also share fragments of French culture and common daily phrases. Some popular French books for children include T’Choupi, P’tit Loup, Trotro, and Petit Ours Brun. 


I might encourage you to notate relevant phrases or words, and bring them into your daily vernacular in conversations at home. As children transition to a french immersion setting, they will then be happy to recognize and understand some words to make the transition a bit easier for them.


If you are lucky, you might find French books steeply discounted at the Minneapolis’ libraries semi-annual sales. You can also certainly find them on Amazon or other online sellers. We also like to buy from frenchbooksonline.com where you can buy discounted sets. They also hold sales throughout the year.


French TV Shows

Adding a bit more French into your day might be as easy as changing the language setting on our television. Adding captions might be even more helpful for parents to make sense of what is being said. 


Popular French television shows for small children include Trotro and Caillou. Both can be found on Youtube. Titounis is another option available on Youtube which is more centered around nursery rhymes.


TV5 (Sling TV) is the only francophone channel in the US. There are short movies and series for all ages, and a great selection of movies and shows for adults. You can subscribe to TV5 with Sling TV streaming: https://www.sling.com/international/eu/french


For Parents: Language Learning Apps 

If you are trying to use more French at home alongside your children, a couple of popular French language learning apps include Duolingo and French Today. You may be familiar with Duolingo as the app is quite popular and caters to a variety of languages as you learn the basics. French Today is a fantastic language learning app that caters to beginners as well as more advanced french learners. It was created by a native french speaker, with spoken and cultural lessons included. French Today also has a helpful email newsletter and blog for French learners.


Minneapolis French Community:


Minneapolis French Alliance

Have you had the opportunity to visit the Minneapolis French Alliance yet? We might suggest joining their email newsletter for information on french community events for all ages, children and adults alike. They have a nice french boutique accessible for nonmembers and a french library and classes and other social events available for members. Over the holidays in the past, they have sold a sommelier selected French wine package to pair with Thanksgiving and winter holiday meals. What a great gift for the host!


Minneapolis French Restaurants

There are a plethora of French culinary experiences to enjoy in the twin cities. Our students have really enjoyed the Crepe and Cake food truck at our school events. Salut Bar Americain in Edina is a more upscale French bistro dining experience. Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie have excellent pastries, and Patisserie Margot has some of the most delicious croissants and pains au chocolat! What a fantastic way to bring some of the classic French culinary treasures to life at home!


What else would you add to this list? We’d love to know! 


Interested in visiting The French Académie?

Our students not only benefit from the priceless gift of the French language, but also weekly forest school, Montessori activities and practical life skills, Reggio Emilia creative project explorations, steam and cultural learning in our on-site learning kitchen, and musical engagement that is built into our curriculum alongside weekly piano lessons offered to our preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students.

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