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This article is part of my free “Eureka moments to propel your French further” email seriesSign up here

Bonjour!

Last week, I recommended some podcasts to help you learn French. The next step for you is to do some short reading to complement your listening practice.

Reading is a great way to stay immersed in the language while enjoying a relaxing time. As with podcasts, I recommend exploring a variety of perspectives and not only the “classics” written by famous male authors. In my list, I try to present a diverse selection.

Keeping the reading sessions short will help your brain process the information.

💡 Pick the right time

If you get tired, it’s best to take a break from reading as you won’t be able to absorb anything. Extend your reading sessions progressively.

The following list focuses on shorter pieces of content to get you started and keep your motivation up as you notice your progress!

Magazines 

Reading magazines has a double advantage. First, you learn vocabulary about topics you’re passionate about.

On top of that, they usually feature longer articles telling stories (called “reportage“). In these articles, journalists like to showcase their writing skills using metaphors and rich vocabulary and syntax.

Bandes dessinées (comics)

If you enjoy visual support and short sentences, then these are perfect for you!

France and Belgium have a great tradition of publishing comics, and not only for kids or Marvel fans, quite the contrary! I’m sure you’ll find a style you like. For example, I love the comics by journalist Guy Delisle (Chroniques…), by French-Iranian Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and French-Syrian Riad Sattouf (L’Arabe du Futur). Also check out comics written for teenagers (Les Carnets d’Esther de Riad Sattouf). 

Be careful though because some of them use puns and witty humour which might make it harder to understand (such as in Asterix and Obelix). There are more and more great bandes dessinées targeting teenagers that are rather easy to read and very modern (for example Les Carnets d’Esther by Riad Sattouf).

Nouvelles (short-stories)

Short stories are great for the satisfaction of reaching the end of the story in a relatively short time

In French, when we use the word “nouvelles”, we usually don’t speak about the news (l’actualité), rather about short stories.

  • You can find a lot of amateur nouvelles on this website.
  • Download a PDF of nouvelles in French created by Versailles University, a compilation of contemporary short stories. They all have in common that the ending is unexpected. Some suspense to get you reading until the end!

When you’re ready to move on to full books. I’ve compiled a list of suggestions of contemporary writers in this post.

What will you try reading today?