I can’t cheat anymore!

I speak French to my son, and I want him to have as much exposure to French as he can despite the fact that I work 5 days a week and that I don’t spend all of the other time talking to him. That is why I have always tried to translate books I read to him. The fact that I’m a translator has helped me tremendously, but still, as he became older, books became progressively more complicated and I can’t always translate on the fly. So there were books I always read in English (things that rhyme or that are just untranslatable, like Dr. Seuss, or books that use a terminology I don’t know, like trucks and other construction equipment). Then there were chapter books, which are just too long for me to do the mental work of translating every sentence. And let’s face it: when I am translating a story mentally, it is much slower, I have to think about it, I make mistakes, and I’m sure it’s a lot less enjoyable for my son. I know it’s less enjoyable for me. Still, I did it because I felt I had to.

But now I find it increasingly hard to cheat because my son is learning to read! Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration: he doesn’t even know all of his letters yet. But he will often repeats the words I have said while underlying words on the page with his fingers, trying to match what is written to what I said. And I can’t very well teach him that Maman is spelled M-o-m-m-y, can I?  I can’t let him try to find, on the page, a word that is only in my head… And I want to encourage literacy, and I know that what he is doing is showing an interest in reading by trying to recognize words. So more and more often, I find myself giving up on French and reading in English so I can show him how sounds match letters.

Of course, an easy fix to that problem would be to read books written in French. And I do, but the choice at the Vancouver Public Library is a lot more limited in French so things get boring easily. Plus, since it’s usually Zak who goes to the library these days, he has a hard time picking good French books. Case in point: he purposely avoided an English book that talked about a boy with two daddies (he has nothing against gays having children, quite the opposite, he doesn’t want to point it out as “different” by reading a book about it) and ended up with a French book entitled “John has two mommies”.

So what’s a girl to do?

2 Responses to “I can’t cheat anymore!”

  1. marie Says:

    il faudra faire une provision de livres français quand tu viendras au québec et on te les apportera quand on ira en voiture … si ça arrive!

  2. sophie Says:

    Mettons que ça serait peut-être plus simple d’en acheter sur Internet et de les faire livrer! Le problème c’est la place pour garder tous ces beaux livres, d’où l’intérêt des livres de bibliothèque qui évoluent avec l’âge et les intérêts des enfants et qu’on n’a pas besoin de garder après…