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I’ve written a few times about how our kids are going to French school because my husband is francophone.

I’ve also written previously about how my eldest – who is going into Grade Two this fall – has struggled with school and with reading.

While she is getting extra support and is improving, I thought to help this summer, we’d set up a summer reading project.

The goal? To make it through as many of the Disney Étape 1 Collection J’apprends à Lire series as we can.

As a blogging mom, for step one, I dutifully created a Pinterest Board of all the books I could find in the series:

I then hit my first snag in this master plan.

I thought I’d be able to hit the library and get these.

But no. The Ottawa Public Library doesn’t carry them.

They had any number of English Learn to Read series, but not much in French at her level that weren’t clearly school readers. No offence to those, but I was on the hunt for princesses and cute talking animals.

However, we already owned about seven of the Level 1 readers (Yay Scholastic!), so that was more than enough to start. If we have success, I can purchase some more and see where else I might be able to get them.

So that said? Once we got back from our week away in Collingwood, we started.

Links to source.

Links to source.

My daughter selected “Amis à cajoler” as her first pick (Friends to Cuddle).

We started last Sunday and spent the week going through this one.

It was slow going. The book is about 30 pages. We read it in 10 page increments over 3 days.

Day one was okay because this was fun!

Day two was the worst. Distracting. Fidgeting. Crying. Protesting. More crying.

I think we changed locations twice.

I “tough loved it” through ten pages and refused to let her stop.

I felt awful.

But she didn’t complain on day 3 and I could see she was really proud when we made it through the book.

I then explained to her that we’d read it in 3 days.

I suggested that we now try to read it in 2 days. I figured this way we’d review words, work on fluency and build confidence.

I also pulled out some of the harder and longer words and put them on cue cards. I split some of the rhyming words so she could see similar endings and we could work on words that rhyme.

We made it through in two days.

Then I suggested we try to read it in one day.

I also suggested a bit of ritual and pageantry.

I suggested we make tea and read outside.

Well! That did it! With tea breaks, we made it through in one read. She still wasn’t fluent and I still had to help – but one sitting.

After much congratulations, I suggested she go choose her second selection for the following day.


Links to source: “The Princesses’ Little Dogs”.

She chose “Les petits chiens des princesses”.

We read this one tonight. Outside again with tea.

With many breaks and negotiations (ie: read three pages and you can fill up your cup and we’ll have a tea break) …

… she got through it in one sitting!

Sure, I helped. And it certainly wasn’t fluid. But she did the bulk of the reading.

It helped that many of the words repeated from the first story.

It was great to see how proud she was. And it was fun to watch her run to tell her dad.

I toyed with reading it again tomorrow to review, but thought given she made it through in one go, she should select a new one. So we went inside and here’s the pick for tomorrow:

Links to source.

Links to source. “Everything to Succeed”.

We did a bit of a pre-read together and flipped through. I suspect this one may take two days on first read as there are a number of new words. But I love the title. “Everything to Succeed”. I certainly hope she succeeds at improving her reading this summer – and in learning to enjoy it as she builds her confidence. She has a wonderful imagination so I suspect once she learns, she’ll enjoy it.

Are you doing any summer reading with your kids? Any tips for me to help my 6-year-old both improve and enjoy reading?

Linking up here again this week. Do surf about and check out the others!