Do you want to start learning French? You are not the only one! There are so many French learners who have taken up the language recently. Many of them are looking for ways to boost the process both in terms of speed and fun.
If you are looking for ways to practice French more, this blog post is for you. Below, we will discuss some of the best methods that can be used by French learners of all levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) as well as their pros and cons. Let's talk about reading books in French, going to France or another Francophone country, finding a conversation partner, watching French movies online with subtitles, and many more.
Read in French: French Reading Tips, Resources, and Exercises
One of the best methods to practice French is by reading books and short stories in French.
Reading can help learners improve their vocabulary, grammar, and spelling skills. Moreover, if you want to boost your written French, French books and other written texts are a perfect tool as you’re learning from good yet simple enough examples.
There are lots of French reading materials for everyone depending on their French level - and many of them are available online for free.
If you are a beginner, we suggest starting with books and children’s stories that have been adapted for French learners - you can find these materials in most bookstores or online. There are also many websites as well as apps that offer reading exercises and quizzes to test your understanding of the material.
If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, consider looking for different French reading materials, such as poems, songs, news articles, comic books, or longer texts. This will help not only improve your French reading skills, but also boost your vocabulary and give you insight to French culture.
5 Best Tips for Reading in French
Here are our top tips on how to get the most out of reading in French:
- Choose material that is adapted for your level. If you are a beginner, choose books and stories that have been simplified for French learners or the ones with the English translation, so that you can check it whenever you need them. Some stories are bilingual, meaning there’s a French and an English version of each story.
- Make sure to read with a dictionary nearby in case you encounter any words that you don't know. Google Translate won’t help you remember a new word when you learn it.
- Read French materials that are interesting to you - this will make the learning process much more interesting and pleasant.
- Try to pay attention to French words, grammar, pronunciation, and sentence structure while reading the text.
- Look for some French reading comprehension exercises related to the story/book you're reading or use materials that already have such exercises or quizzes after the story.
Best French Short Stories for Beginners
Of course, any French text can serve as material for reading practice. However, if you are a beginner, start low and slow with short texts and stories.
- Go to the French classic stories, even if they are written for children - for example, le Petit Prince.
- Look for English fairy tales or children’s books that are translated into French or originate from French - for example, Red Riding Hood, Three Bears, Ugly Duckling, Three Little Pigs, etc.
- Try bilingual reading – an interesting practice of reading two versions of the same book or text at once. This lets you read modern stories in French that come together with their English translations. Or consider reading bilingual books.
- Look for apps or platforms with short stories and news simplified to your level - for example, Langster. This will help you get your daily dose of world events, learn something interesting, and work on your French a little.
Bonne lecture - Happy reading!
Find a Conversation Partner and Start Speaking French
French practice is nothing if you don’t speak, so having some real-life conversations in French from time to time is key to becoming fluent. Finding a conversation partner is one of the best things you can do to boost your speaking skills, although there are many other methods, such as signing up for group courses or getting private French lessons.
Why do we recommend looking for a conversation partner to practice French?
- It's a great way to get some speaking practice and learn some new vocabulary.
- It helps you get acquainted with natural French pronunciation and has the potential to expose you to different French accents, which allows you to understand French speakers better.
- In casual conversation, you will come across many informal, slang words and expressions, which will help you get closer to the “casual” French rather than the formal version. The language that is spoken in France today often differs from what you can learn in books.
Where to Look for a Conversation Partner?
A conversation partner can be anyone: another French learner, a native French speaker, or a francophone from any other French-speaking country like Canada or Switzerland. You can find someone online using apps like HelloTalk as well as social media sites such as Reddit or Twitter.
You can also find French-speaking partners in your city by looking for meetup groups online (for example, on Facebook). Or check your local French classes and see if they offer French conversation practice with native speakers of French teachers.
Look Online and Find Materials That Suit You
There are so many online resources to help you learn the French language. You can find articles, and blogs on any topic related to the French language. In addition, there are plenty of websites and apps that offer exercises, quizzes, and other activities to help you improve your skills for free.
And don't forget about YouTube! There are countless channels with videos for learners of all levels. You can find videos on grammar, vocabulary, culture, and more - everything that you want to know can be found on this site.
The great thing about online resources, other than they are often free, is that they are always available whenever you need them. And you can usually find free materials that fit your interests and learning style. Just be cautious when choosing, so that you don’t lose time on something that’s not worth it.
How to Find Online Content Simple Enough for Beginners
If you're a beginner, it can be difficult to find appropriate content online. But don't worry, there are plenty of free resources out there for you.
One great way to find free and helpful materials is to search for websites and videos that are specifically aimed at beginners. This way, you'll be sure to use content that is simple enough for you to understand.
Another option is to find a native speaker who would be willing to tell you more about the best French blogs and channels suitable for French learners - although this option will not work if you can’t understand French at all.
If you are working with a French teacher, they should also be able to recommend a few places online to learn. They may even have their own site with a list of free resources.
Visiting France - Beyond Books and Learning Materials
Can visiting France help you learn French? Yes and no.
If you're planning on staying in France for a month or two, then we definitely recommend that you do it. Living in a French environment will allow you to absorb more French language skills than any book or short story can ever teach you.
But if your stay is going to be much shorter (a week or less), then there's probably not enough time to get an intensive language lesson out of your visit.
Regardless of how long you’re going to be in France, we’ve got some tips that can help you take advantage of all the resources this country has to offer.
How To Make Your Visit to France the Most Effective in Terms of Learning French?
Use all your senses to enjoy the country and learn at the same time. Go to a French bookstore, listen to French music, and eat French food - you'll be surprised at how much you can learn just by being in the country.
You can also look for short French-immersion classes in Paris or other French cities - this is one of the best options to get as much as possible out of your stay, boost your skills, and enjoy some exciting conversations in French. Classes like that also focus on French culture, real-life vocabulary, and engaging topics related to the language you're learning.
They might not be a great resource for the simpler language, but they will definitely introduce you to some more difficult words and help take your speaking to the next level.
Look for Your Own Methods to Practice French More
Everyone is different, and therefore the best way to learn French for each person may be different as well. The important thing is to find what works best for you and stick with it. Don't just stick to the list above - look for other ways to practice your French more and try to immerse yourself into the language.
There are plenty of free resources online to help you out - from grammar lessons to French news sites to platforms where you can watch French movies with English subtitles. Visit them and find something that seems interesting.
Remember that practice makes perfect, so the more you use French in your everyday life, the better you'll get at speaking it. Think in French, translate daily conversations into it, profess your love in it, make French the language on your smartphone, buy a French keypad for your computer - anything will work as long as you pay attention to it every day.
And try to enjoy the process - the more interesting it is for you, the more motivation you’ll have to keep going.