French the natural way: become an autonomous reader

Coucou les French learners,

Reading is the focus this month and I am so excited to share my bookshelf daily with you on Instagram!  One follower actually commented she didn’t know the books I was mentioning. I am thrilled to show you authors and novels you may not know! I have eclectic tastes so I am hoping you see a book you want to read yourself.

Mes étagères ( les livres ne sont pas bien rangés ! )

W.E. Nagy & P.A. Herdman mentioned in Extended Reading in the Foreign Language Classroom “Incidental learning of words during reading may be the easiest and single most powerful means of promoting large-scale vocabulary growth.”

Reading is powerful and more efficient than traditional language learning but it can be daunting at first. I already wrote a post with tips to start reading and today I want to give you more advice on how to read regularly in French (or any other languages).

Keep in mind that YOU want to become a good reader so you want to find books that you CAN read and you ENJOY. The objective is to become an autonomous reader and learner.

By Dr Beniko Mason, from Stories first workshop.

Prior to reading a book

Listen to stories. You started doing it with the May challenge: en mai, fais du français ! Keep up listening to stories to acquire more vocabulary, have better grammatical competence AND to become interested in reading on your own. Because you are listening to rich comprehensible input, reading will be easier for you. Remember, your sole goal is to comprehend the story (not to master the words).

Read texts. For example read my learners’ stories or listen to stories and then read the stories. My last story on YouTube entitled Le trou dans l’eau is based on a text you can read here.

Find blogs or Instagram accounts with topics you are interested in. One of my learners is a make up artist and she likes to follow Coline. Her Instagram account has pictures and short texts you can easily read every day. Or for instance, if you are interested in the ketogenic diet, follow this French account:

When you search for a blog or Instagram account of your interest, type in French key words such as: voyage, beauté, maman, lectures, cinéma

It takes only 1 to 5 minutes a day and little by little, your confidence will grow. You will then be ready to experience the pleasure of reading a whole book!

Read a book

Once you can easily read a page in French (without having to look for every word), you can move on to reading a book! Start with graded readers. Look for level 1 books with around 100 unique word count like Brandon Brown veut un chien (which has 120 unique word count) and then move on the levels.

It is GOOD when you read books that are easy for you because you are not struggling to read, you feel confident, you feel GOOD and you then want to read more books. Even “easy” books contain new vocabulary and grammar.

Aim for 50 to 70 pages a week, then gradually increase to 100 pages and then 150 pages per week.

Have a language booster to help you. I love to sit with my learners and to read a book together, to make sure that s/he understand. I can also make sure s/he is reading the right book, not too difficult, not too boring.

Remember, reading is a pleasure not a chore. Le plaisir de la lecture, pleasure reading is your sole goal.

Here is the most beautiful comment I received lately: “You don’t learn French in an academic way but you feel the words in your soul“.

Happy French acquisition!

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it 🙂

P.P.S. Yesterday, I posted a new video of a simple recipe of a crustless quiche with spinach & feta, hope you enjoy it! Let me know #coucou

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