One of the biggest concerns of both teachers-new-to-Language-teaching and Secondary school specialists, is that children are taught correct pronounciation. There is ongoing discussion about this on many forums including Talkabout, so hopefully the following may be of use:

Discussion about how to teach correct pronounciation in any language

Blog:Using Key Stage 1 Phonics Techniques to Teach Languages
  • Le Manuel Phonique - Like Jolly Phonics but in French. A powerpoint mini-version with soundfiles is supplied on the disc that accompanies Catherine Cheater Scheme of Work for Year 5.
  • J'apprends à lire avec Sam et Julie - fantastic little book with page by page introduction to French phonemes and graphemes, with example words, little diagrams showing shape of mouth and simple child-friendly exercises. You can use it with the children, perhaps concentrating on one phoneme for a few weeks or a unit of work, dip in and out occasionally, or keep it for teacher reference.
  • Letters and Sounds - In English of course, but free & all of these games are very useful for practising any language sounds.
  • ABC from Poisson Rouge - Online free site for children. Each letter produces different effects as you click on it - let the children have fun and explore. Available in French Spanish and Greek
  • TicTac - Free online simple alphabet site in French with sounds/pronounciation.
  • Buchstabenübersicht- As above in German.
  • Phonétique- is a comprehensive French site for teachers to use to improve their own pronounciation (whatever their level of fluency) and also to use selectively with a whole class with lots of sound exercises.
  • Spanish Language - a fantastic list of pronounciation/phonic resources for teachers of Spanish.
  • Customise and print your own phoneme fans

Why should we include phonics games in languages?

  • to improve listening skills which affects all areas of the curriculum
  • to aid pronunciation, which is not the same as accent
  • to help reinforce the learner’s knowledge of English phonemes/graphemes through comparing & contrasting
  • to link the sounds with the spellings which helps children learn to read in the target language
  • to give the students ownership of their language learning & reading
To hear the alphabet online in French click below. You can also download the soundfile from & save to your laptop or IWB to help jog memory! It works nicely as a marching song (you know the my mate, marmite, marine tune) and breaks down as:


Using a song or poem to focus on just one sound. O3.1 Listen and respond to simple rhymes, stories and songs Identify rhyming words. Perform finger rhymes and sing songs. Join in with storytelling. Identify specific sounds, phonemes and words. Recognise commonly used rhyming sounds. Remember rhyming words. Use gesture or mime to show they understand. Listen to ‘savez vous plantez les choux’ and pass the object when you hear the 'ou' sound. Click this link for a video with the lyrics in French of this song from YouTube. L3.2 Make links between some phonemes, rhymes and spellings, and read aloud familiar words Pronounce accurately the most commonly used characters, letters and letter strings. Read aloud a familiar sentence, rhyme or poem. Listen again and this time read the words on the board – is this what you expected? How do you know how to pronounce the sounds?

  • Pas a pas and Le Manuel Phonique are French versions of Jolly Phonics, they come as a PowerPoint within the Catherine Cheater sow from yr 4 onwards or can be purchased separately. After March 6th Lynn Erler will make her own versions available free on phonologique .
  • Online help with pronunciation for teachers is freely available at where you can also test your own ability to distinguish the sounds at any level.

The stepping game – children can do this in PE or outside. Every child takes a step across the room each time phoneme is heard as the teacher reads a poem or plays a cd. Extension - can different children listen for different noises? Go in different directions for different sounds?

Which sounds? In French ‘on’ ‘ou’ ‘in’ ‘eu’ ‘oi’ and ‘au/eau/o’ are the most common to begin with. Give the children somewhere to collect and list the words they come across which have these graphemes so that they create their own Sound dictionaries (also in Catherine Cheater yr 5). By Year 6 and certainly in KS3 children will appreciate crib sheets with more key sounds & rules to help decode new words - you can download one from the new site and find an online list including the above graphemes with soundfiles on About.French.Com
Here is a list of French sounds and letter strings as a word document.

How to pronounce French phonemes - display posters to download from

Mystery cards - Give each group a card and ask them to work out what the pictures have in common. Each card represents a certain sound in French. They’ll need to use dictionaries and after a while they’ll need a clue that they shouldn’t be thinking about what the pictures are, but what the French words for them are. You could try this with a collection of objects in circle time. This resource came from the TES resources website originally.

Once children are familiar with these sounds there are some more rules to learn - but unlike English, French pronounciation is refreshingly regular:
  • C is always hard (as in crayon) unless it is followed by an e or an i (as in France, and cinq 5)
  • G is always hard (as in gorille - a gorilla) unless it is followed by an e or an i (as in plage - beach and Gigi)
  • é is pronounced 'ay' as in café, bébé and décembre (without an accent it is e as in bleu - see alphabet soundfile above)
  • è and ê are pronounced fairly similarly to rhyme with the English e in bed (as in mère, père, tête) - greater distinctions can be made between these sounds as students move up to KS3 and 4.
  • the last letter of words is more often than not, not pronounced at all, unless the following word begins with a vowel sound. This is called liaison and is explored more thoroughly in the pas à pas and manuel phonique schemes.
Distinguish between the phonemes
Stick up to 4 pieces of paper with a different grapheme on in the corners of the room. When the teacher says a word in the target language, the children have to point to the right corner to show which sound they’ve heard. Extend this to reading out a poem.

Sound islands & Venn diagrams
When children are ready to progress, they can move on to distinguishing between a number of sounds. One child from each team takes turns to choose a picture, then you say the word in French & they come up and move the picture to the island they think it goes on. You could also do this with objects or textcards.

Sounds posters
Ask the children to choose a specific grapheme & make a poster to help people remember how it sounds – they can write down words which use that grapheme & highlight it, put pictures on, etc.

Sounds of the Rainforest
Use some simple cognates such as animals and slice the text into syllables and distribute around the class. The children discuss in groups how to say their collection of letters and then read them to the class. Finally, they walk around the room until they find partners to make the complete word.

Useful website for using in class
La Petite Souris - with teachers & pupils sections divided into specific sounds with loads of listening activities & links to poems etc with those sounds.

Customise and print your own phoneme fans from