Welcome to The Everything® KIDS' Learning French Book! This book is designed to help you learn French the fun way — using topics that are of interest to you, simple explanations, and exercises and games to test your skills.
Learning a new language is like opening a door to a whole new world. You step through that door, and discover new ideas, sights, and sounds. You learn about how other people live and think. The similarities among all peoples remind us how we're all very much alike, and the differences remind us that the world is a big, interesting place, just waiting to be discovered.
French kids are like kids anywhere — they go to school, play with friends, enjoy favorite foods, and watch movies. But they also have some things that make them different.
French kids are, well, French, which means they speak a language and live in a culture that is different in some ways from other languages and cultures. After school, they might put a bar of chocolate between two pieces of bread, and call it pain-au-chocolat (“chocolate bread”). American kids usually don't do that, but they might want to try it one day, since it's so good!
But no matter where they grow up, kids all around the world learn languages the same way. They begin with the alphabet and the numbers. Then they add vocabulary, one word at a time. “Hi,” “please,” “thank you,” and “goodbye” are the first words to learn in any language. Little by little, the vocabulary begins to add up. Put a few words together, and you make a phrase. Eventually, you make full sentences. Before you know it, you're having a conversation.
Learning a language is a lot like playing with a building block toy. You have your favorite blocks, and you learn to arrange them. You might use the blocks to build a beautiful castle. Then you can take the castle apart and use the same blocks to build a huge hotel. Words work like that, too. You can use them in different ways to suit your purpose.
Take the verb, “to want,” for example. In French it's vouloir. You may want ice cream. Or you may want louder music. Or you may want a new CD, a ticket to a movie, or…sleep! Vouloir is one of the first verbs you'll learn in this book, so you can tell someone what you want!
Having some building blocks is essential, but you also have to know how to put those blocks together. You don't want to build a castle that you have to hold up with both hands! You want it to stand up solidly on its own.
Using words to build sentences requires know-how. Grammar — the rules that hold language together — helps you use words in order to get the effect you want. You don't need to learn a lot of grammar rules to communicate clearly; you just need a few.
This book gives you the basics to get started. As you go on to study French, you'll continue to learn about the language so that you can build more elaborate sentences. The more French you understand, the more the door opens onto a new world. French is a very rich, complex language, full of surprises. It's also a fun language to learn and to speak.
So “let's get going.” Or, as the French would say, Allons-y!