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How We Do 3rd Grade French Spelling

Homeschooling 3rd grade french spelling can be a challenge. Where do you start and how do you go about it?

In a previous post I suggested and discussed various options for french spelling lists and curriculum for third grade.

The option we use for 3rd grade french spelling is called: “L’orthographe au quotidien moi j’y tiens.” The 3rd grade french spelling words are divided into 27 lists and there’s various free printables and worksheets to compliment each list.

In this post I’ll break it down step by step how we use this free spelling curriculum and what a typical day looks for us.


The only preparation is at the beginning of the school year when I print out the worksheets for the year and put them in a binder.

All the spelling printables can be found under “3e année” (3rd grade) on their site Deux Profs, Une Passion.

These are the documents I choose to print out:

  • Feuilles d’étude 3e année (pages 5-34)
  • Exercices 3e année mise à jour septembre 2016 (pages 4-70)
  • Mots cachés 3e année (pages 3-30)
  • Entrecroisés 3e année (pages 4-30)
  • Phrases et dictées 3e année (all the odd pages between 5-57)

I put these documents in a binder, sorted by list. So another words, the first sheets would be for list 1, which has one study sheet, the 2 or 3 page exercise sheets, a crossword, word search and dictation sheet.


A typical school year has 180 days, which I use as a guideline when scheduling our own homeschooling year. There are 27 different 3rd grade french spelling lists. So that allows each list to be worked on for 6 school days, with 18 no spelling days throughout the year.

Some lists however have more words than others, so this is my general guideline and I’m not opposed to spending a day longer or less if I feel it’s needed, depends on the list.

This is typically what we do during those 6 days:

Day 1

On Day 1 we complete the study sheet (Feuilles d’étude).

I like that nouns on these study sheets have a determinant in front of it. It saves us time looking up each word in the dictionary to figure out whether or not a word is masculine or feminine.

So in the column “Classe de mots Genre et nombre”, my daughter goes through and writes:

  • “n.m.” if the word is a noun that is masculine
  • “” if the word is masculine plural
  • “n.f.” if the word is a feminine noun
  • “” if the word is feminine plural
  • “v.” if its a verb
  • “adj.” if it’s an adjective
  • “adv.” for adverbs
  • “conj.” for conjunctions
  • “pron.” for pronouns
  • “prép.” for prepositions
  • “dét.” for determinants

Then we go through each word together, and my daughter tells me the meaning of each word. Any words she doesn’t know she will look up and write the english meaning beside the word.

Since the words of each list are based on a phonetic rule or grammar lesson, one word at a time:

  1. We discuss how a rule applies to the word, and my daughter highlights those applicable letters. i.e. if words with “oi” sound are being studied, the “oi” would be highlighted in the word “voiture”
  2. We break the word up into syllables. My daughter puts slashes through the word to divide the word into syllables. i.e. voi/si/ne

One thing I appreciate about the study sheets is they include a section with spelling words learned in Grade 1 & 2 that the phonetic rules being learned would also apply to. This provides provides further examples to better grasp the grammar lesson being taught.

If I feel my daughter could benefit from further practice, I might compliment her learning with an online game if I can find one.

Day 2, 3 & 4

Beginning Day 2 we turn our attention to the printables: “Exercices 3e année mise à jour septembre 2016”. We focus on a third of the words each of these days.

Now I’ve tried just giving my daughter the words to study and then testing her on it, but at least at her current age, I have found it much more efficient and a stronger likelihood of her remembering the spellings at a later date, if I help her study.

Verbally Decompose Each Word

On these days, we begin by verbally decomposing each word. Let’s pretend the word is “groupe”. This is sort of our verbal ritual:

  1. say the word while looking at it: “groupe
  2. repeat the word verbally breaking it up into syllables: “GROU/PE
  3. spell the word while looking at it: “G-R-O-U-P-E“.
    Often she wants to show off a bit and try to spell the word without looking, but I always insist that at this point she looks at the word while spelling. I feel that seeing, saying and hearing herself spell the word all at the same time really helps her absorb it better.

Then syllable by syllable we discuss the letters that make each sound:

  1. say the first syllable of the word: “grou
  2. say the letters that make up that syllable: “G-R-O-U
  3. usually I’ll ask her, “So what letters make the ou sound?”: “O-U
  4. “What sound does the blend G-R make?” “Grrr” or “What letters make the GR sound?” “G-R
  5. say second syllable of the word: “pe
  6. spell the letters that make up the syllable: “P-E
  7. Now it’s time to try and spell the word without looking. Would go something like this: “GROU/PE   G-R-O-U  P-E   groupe

That was a lot of words to break that down but really the whole thing goes quite fast.

The Written Work

There is some written work to go along with each list of 3rd grade french spelling words. It’s not a lot, but it allows them to work with the words which further aids in learning the spellings.

I have my daughter do about a third of the questions from “Exercices 3e année mise à jour septembre 2016” each of these days.

Feminine or Masculine

As well, for the words we are working on for the day, I have her write beside each word either:

  • an “f” if the word is a feminine noun
  • an “m” if a masculine noun

Word Search

Getting out the word search (Mots cachés 3e année), I have her find just the words we worked on that day.


Underneath the 3rd grade french spelling words on the exercise sheets, there is a suggestion of which verb(s) to review or learn. I like it because it includes all the verbs that are supposed to be worked on in the third grade, so it saves me time having to think of scheduling this aspect.

Whatever verb we are doing, I might have an online game, verb worksheets or some sort of plan for working on the verb each of these days. It usually doesn’t take us long at all.

Mini Dictation

I dictate the days words to her. I might add one or two words from the previous day, if they were words I know she struggled with.

Any she gets wrong on this mini dictation, we briefly discuss, and then she writes the words she got wrong 3 times each. Often I will randomly during the day ask her how to spell one of these difficult words.

Day 5

Day 5 is a day that her spelling work is done very independently, which is great for me.

On this day she does the crossword puzzle (Entrecroisés 3e année) I don’t mind her looking at the list when she does it. To me the more she looks at the words the better.

Afterwards she gets to practice the words online. The online aspect of it keeps things from getting stale, and I like it because someone that isn’t me, with an actual french accent is dictating the words.

Day 6

Day 6 is the final dictation. Most of the time we use the sheet from “Phrases et dictées 3e année”.

So this is how we are doing 3rd grade french spelling this year. As of now, we are currently working on list 10. If you have any questions about using this curriculum in your homeschool, or have any questions about homeschooling french as an english parent, ask me in the comments.

If you’re interested, here are other possible french spelling lists and curriculum for Grade 3.