Bilingual Story Time


I came across this artilce ‘Bilingual Storytime: What Is It? How Do I Do It? Will Anyone Come?’ . The author talks about her experience of launching a bilingual (French-English) storytime activity at local library in Lille (a city in Northern France, not far from my hubby’s hometown!). I am very impressed by her idea as well as her action to make it happen/work.

According to her, there are five ways to make the bilingual story time work:

  • One page, one page: This works well for shorter books with little dialogue and where reading a page in French and then the same page in English aids in comprehension (but doesn’t bore the kids because the book is too long). This works well with books like Willy the Dreamer or My Mum, both by Anthony Brown.
  • Split reading: This works best for stories with short, repetitive lines where the French and English can respond to each other without losing the coherence of the story line like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Eric Carle.
  • Split dialogue: This is similar to the above, but works in books where there is dialogue that can be split between the languages without losing the meaning. This works for books like Le Machin, by Stéphane Servant or some of the stories in Yummy, by Lucy Cousins where the dialogue repeats throughout the story. When read bilingually, the repetition happens once in each language.
  • Two voices: Perfect for books with two characters: One character speaks French and the other responds in English. Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggy books with their repetitive text, written for new readers, works perfectly because the sentences repeat in each character’s voice.
  • Bilingual text: This is the easiest method since it requires no preparation at all. Although there aren’t many stories that are bilingual in the text, books by Kris Di Giacomo are good examples.

And she also gave the reading list on, which is a good reference.

I would love to find some stories I can read in Chinese/English or Chinese/French. Well I already talked about Le Petit Prince. But what else?


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