Reading and Writing

Starting in pre-Kindergarten, children begin our Early Reading program in French. Choosing to first read in French is justified because the children’s environment—from labels to street names and billboards—reinforces their school experience and desire to learn; but it also responds to inherent differences between the two languages. Compared to “transparent” languages, like Spanish or Italian, both French and English are “opaque,” i.e. languages where the correspondence between sounds and signs can be confusing. Relatively speaking, however, reading in French is easier than in English since French has 130 graphemes for 37 phonemes, whereas English has over a thousand graphemes for 44 phonemes. Experience shows that once they reach adequate reading fluency in French in first grade, children transfer those skills to reading in English in a matter of weeks using a multimodal method developed by the School. Learning to read sequentially, first in French, then in English, prevents sound-sign confusion, which might result in language difficulties later on.

Reading is a School priority. In 6th and 7th grade, for example, DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) sets aside a 45-minute period every day when students gather in special classrooms, comfortably furnished with Fatboys®, and read. A teacher is with them, partaking in this ritual. Students read for pleasure from a list of some 200 books proposed by teachers, enriched by students, and loosely connected to the English or French literature or History curriculum. DEAR provides students an opportunity to step back, slow down, and enjoy the pleasure of reading. While the DEAR website encourages reader’s comments and ratings, there is no evaluation aside from the posting of books read.

Developing strong writing skills is also a major ambition of Ecole Jeannine Manuel.

In Primary School, children write every day in French from first grade onward and in English as well as soon as reading in French becomes a confirmed skill. In Secondary School, writing becomes the core of the French and the English literature programs. Our aim is for students to write analytical or creative papers with native proficiency in French and in English and to develop a strong base of connected references in the cultural capital of both languages.

Throughout their school years, students participate in literary events (Readathon, Literary Week Festival), fairs and competitions (Young Authors Springfest, Poetry-by-Heart, Goncourt des Lycéens…) involving reading and writing.


The library

The school's library is a busy hub and home base for collège and lycée students, housing a large print and digital collection for research and pleasure. Librarians also oversee the school's student press, the 6e and 5e DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) programs, weekly book clubs, the nation-wide Incorruptibles reading challenge, La semaine de la presse, and an annual Literary Festival. For more information on our busy library, including our catalogue, collections and special events, please consult our website: http://libguides.ecolejeanninemanuel.org/

 

 

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