In July I learned I would be on the review team for Armfield Academic Press. I have become a student of languages, and I welcomed this opportunity to review Getting Started with French by William E. Linney and Brandon Simpson.
I studied French last century, many decades ago... 1970-1974 to be exact. I have fought to retain my ability to use the language, but alas my vocabulary is extremely limited at this point. I was so happy to be selected for this review! What a great opportunity to refresh my abilities in this romantic language!
The book arrived, and I opened it with delight!
I flipped it open to the inside of the back cover and my heart dropped -- the book did not come with a DVD! What? I was really surprised. I set the book aside to start the next day.
Opening the book the next day I began at the very beginning and flipped through the pages, reading them one by one, and coming to the realization that this was one of those rare books that you MUST read this way. The Preface and "How to use this book" cannot be skipped!
I quickly learned there ARE audio files to accompany the book! Accessible on the Getting Started with French website are audio files of narration to go with the lessons as well as audio files of pronunciation to help the student know how to speak French correctly.
Getting Started with French is a gentle, incremental program that builds a solid foundation slowly and thoroughly. The book contains 172 lessons and 281 pages. A typical school year has 180 days, so your goal would be to do one lesson per day through most of the school year.
The typical days lesson begins with the printed content for the lesson in the book. Most lessons are designed around the introduction of a new word in French. Having the student write down the word and its definition helps the student learn the new word.
Step 2 is listening to the narrative for the chapter. Some of the content may seem redundant, but think of it as reinforcement. There is also material in this audio that is not in the book.
Step 3 is having the student work through the exercise at the end of the lesson. This generally involves translating up to ten words and phrases from French to English. Example: "mon amie" = "my girl friend".
The final step is having the student listen to the pronunciation and practicing the words in French.
If you ever want to give a quiz (maybe you want a way to be sure learning is occurring), you go back one lesson and have the student do the exercises. So say you are on Lesson 50 -- the quiz would be the exercises at the end of Lesson 49.
We (Review Crew) were expected to work on our French at least three days per week during the review period. I had the book almost two months and completed 35 lessons. I did not completely follow the directions above because the program is review for me. So I did not write out the exercises, but did them in my head.
I was surprised at some of the things I learned. New to me were "Forbidden Liasons", "Liasons" and "Elision". These are words for practices in French that I had known how to use but didn't know the words for, like if you knew how to make contractions (he will = he'll) but you didn't know they were called "contractions". I also appreciated being reminded of French words I forgot long ago (mari = husband). I look forward to continuing my way through the rest of the lessons.