A traditional term paper works well as an assignment for some courses, but in my elementary French 112 class at Randolph-Macon College, we focus on writing that serves a purpose. My students put their language skills to use by creating stories for children of all ages. As they learn French, they also learn about cultures of French speakers around the world, including those in developing countries. Many of their books reflect the cultural lessons they learn, and they go through a rigorous multi-step editing process for content and syntax.
I challenge my students with questions like:
- "What type of book might delight a child in Haiti, given the structure of their school day and home life?"
- "How can you make your characters more relatable for the reader?" and
- "What childhood highs and lows are universal - bullying, boredom, making new friends...?"
I'm proud to share their work with children in Haiti, Burkina Faso, and beyond. Our goal is not only to help them develop reading skills in order to pass national exams in French, but also to introduce the concept of pleasure reading, which many of us take for granted.
Here is what my students have created:
Sample images and pages from recent books: