My youngest (age 7) is working through these books for two reasons: Learning to read in French, and expanding his vocabulary. Each workbook in the series is full colour and they move through a logical sequence based on phonics.
Since my son is already an avid reader in English, we skipped book 1 (Conscience phonologique) and book 2 (Alphabet). We started with book 3 (Les Sons). As a side note, most language “experts” tell you to learn to read in the minority language first, but that’s not what we did. Oh, well!
These books are extremely well done! The colourful and engaging pictures really capture my son’s attention. The pictures are used as a prompt for the child to identify the sound being learned. In our case, they help build vocabulary at the same time. The picture is identified first, and then the phonetic sound. Because the images are often repeated through the book for review, it really solidifies the vocabulary being learned AND the sound / letter combination at the same time.
I purchased each workbook without the full teaching kit (Boîtier) because of the price differential. There are 7 levels to the program. The workbook for each level is $11.50 and the teaching kit is $110. I can see the kits being useful in a classroom setting, but in a one-on-one environment, I don’t think they are necessary. That being said, if you want the workbook answers, you’re stuck buying the whole boîtier. The answer key does not come with the workbook, and you can’t buy it separately. I didn’t find this to be a big deal – it’s not like we’re doing grammar here, just basic sounds and reading. If I wasn’t sure about a particular word, I just looked it up in my French-English dictionary app. There were maybe 5-6 words in each book that I couldn’t identify from the picture, but we just skipped those.
Overall, I would highly recommend these books for kids who are learning to read in French. Parents who speak at least enough French to understand the instructions should be able to assist their children.
These books are available from Guérin: http://www.guerin-editeur.qc.ca/Product.aspx?id=63474&cat=2 (not an affiliate link).If you're not reading this post in your e-mail, sign up for updates right here and get your free guide to Getting Started Teaching French at Home: