TEACHER Monica Hyde knew music helped pupils learn French, but was frustrated that there weren’t enough good songs around.

So she decided to write her own, helped by her professional composer husband John.

And after road-testing her work on pupils at the Manor Prep School in Abingdon, where she is head of French, she has decided to share her idea with a CD and software package aimed at primary school children.

She said: “I found songs really useful for teaching but there weren’t enough good songs around.

“Existing resources might have a couple of songs tagged on at the end, as an afterthought.

Mrs Hyde, who lives in Berrick Salome, near Wallingford, said: “Children are very stern critics – and good at noticing inconsistencies.”

Sung by children who are native speakers, the songs are all available on audio CD. The Hydes have also collaborated with Capital Multi-media to produce colourful animated versions for use on interactive whiteboards in the classroom or on computers at home.

The French teaching materials are called Zim Zam Zoum, and they have recently begun producing a Spanish version, ¡Vale Venga Vamos!

The cartoons feature Lucy, a 10-year-old English girl, along with a group of friends and pets.

“What’s been encouraging is that the response has been so good from all kinds of different schools and teachers working with a wide range of different pupils,” said Mr Hyde, adding that the materials had gone down well with boys, who sometimes prove harder to engage in language learning.

Although intended mainly for children aged between six and 12, feedback suggests that younger and older children have also enjoyed using them.

Some pupils have even become language teachers themselves: “We have found that children were singing songs in the playground, and to their little siblings,” said Mrs Hyde.

The resources are also being used in special schools, where their approach has proved a success with autistic children.