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First Start French Level II Review by Courtney Larson

Danielle L. Schultz
Memoria Press
4603 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213

First Start French Level II is the second book in the First Start French program published by Memoria Press, and it is designed for children in grades 6-8. The set includes a Teacher Edition, a Student Edition, and a pronunciation CD, but the components can be purchased separately as well.

Completion of First Start French Level I (or another beginning French program) is required before beginning First Start French Level II. The layout of this program is very user friendly. The Teacher Edition has a small copy of the Student Edition pages with answers printed in brown ink, so it is easy to grade your student's work. Printed in the margins are grammar explanations, dialogue translations and explanations, and teaching notes for the vocabulary. There are encouraging and helpful notes throughout the Teacher Edition, and a helpful planning guide is included that allows you to see what is being introduced each week.

The Student Edition contains 36 lessons, with every sixth lesson being a review lesson. Each lesson begins with a proverb in French, with the English translation underneath. Next, there is a vocabulary list, with an average of 15 new words presented every lesson. Following the vocabulary a new grammar concept is introduced, and this is followed by a reading or dialogue in French to translate. The readings introduce the student to French culture and history. Following this translation exercise, students are asked to translate various sentences from English into French. Finally, the student completes written exercises to reinforce grammar concepts.

The Teacher and Student Editions both contain a map of France, a pronunciation guide, a French to English dictionary, and an English to French dictionary.

The pronunciation CD is very helpful, providing correct pronunciations for the proverbs, vocabulary, and readings and dialogues. It also includes a pronunciation guide and the song "La Marseillaise" (sheet music and lyrics are provided in both the Teacher and Student Editions).

The author doesn't expect that the student will be a fluent French speaker by the end of the program; instead, she reminds the teacher that it will take time to learn French, just as it took time for the student to learn mathematics. The program is well thought out and easy to teach (even for a non-French speaker). There is a good mix of written and oral translation and plenty of practice to improve pronunciation. At a price of $39.95 for the set, I think First Start French Level II is a wonderful bargain.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2010