My kids spend about 10-15 minutes 5-6x per week using apps or web sites to help them practice their French. Electronic sources can be a great supplement for language learning. Children feel like they are playing when using them, so they usually don’t argue about spending the time. Apps and websites that are game focused are also interactive, so the chances of children remembering what they are doing are higher than say watching TV for example (although we do that, too!).
iTooch makes a lot of apps. I reviewed the French grade-level bundles here. We recently had the chance to use two more (thank you, iTooch!).
iTooch Cahiers vacances
These apps are meant to be used over summer vacation between one school year and the next. I asked for the level between CE2 & CM1 (equivalent of grade 3 to grade 4). My daughter (age 10) has been using this app for a while, and she seems to like it.
The app style is quizzing (multiple choice) on a variety of subjects. The full list of what is covered in each level is here. I went one grade level down for my daughter (who is technically in grade 5) for 2 reasons: 1) the apps are geared to French students, so I have found in practice for most things that going one level down makes sense, and 2) there are a lot of France French culture and geography questions that I knew she’d have no idea what the answers were. At least going a level down would give her half a chance of getting a few of the questions right. Turns out my assessment was correct.
What I liked about the app
The huge quantity and variety of questions. Because students are being asked about a bunch of different things, they get the chance to see and apply different vocabulary. I also really liked that it keeps track of exactly what sections have been worked on and what the scores for each section were. When I opened the app to see what had been done, I could see the perfect scores in the French language section (yay) and the not so perfect scores on the France history questions (as expected).
The one drawback I see
Because it’s straight quizzing, most kids are likely to lose the “game” feel pretty quickly. This isn’t the end of the world because not everything in life is a game, but if you’re looking for a high fun factor, you won’t find it here. The cute little characters that appear when the student gets the question right help with this, but it’s still not really a game.
The intention for using this app for the last little while was to give my daughter a different way to practice her French. That goal was met. She has worked through all of the sections.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for variety in French vocabulary practice while learning other things, this app could be a nice supplement. If you’d rather have something with straight up language practice, you’re probably better off with the other options previously reviewed.
iTooch français étrangère
This quizzing app goes through the fundamentals of the alphabet, sounds, pronunciations, grammar, verb conjugations and more. For the full description, click here. There is a free version with a few questions so you can try it before you buy the full version.
The app is geared to non-francophone students, but definitely not beginners. A student would need at least a base level of French before being able to use most of the sections of the app. The first few sections of “sons et mots” (sounds and words) are reasonably easy, but after that it gets difficult really quickly. For example, for one section, students need to be able to identify the adverb in the sentence. That’s hard to do for a beginner.
I should have read the description of this app more closely before I asked to review it. I was wondering why my son was resisting using it so much! It’s geared for ages 11-12+ and my son is 8. Oops. No wonder he didn’t like it – it was *way* too hard for him.
What I liked about the app
This app is one of the few advanced options that I have found that is still geared for non-Francophone students. I’m going to tuck this one away for a few years when both my kids are older. It will be a great way to fine-tune grammar and vocabulary.
Bottom-line: Good for students aged 11-12+ who are reasonably advanced in their knowledge. If that doesn’t fit your student’s profile, skip this one.
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