Updated: Your tips on how best to improve French language skills

From podcasts to children’s books, Connexion readers have been sharing their advice on how to improve your French

One reader gave a great hack for translating while reading a French novel
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Following our recent series of articles on language learning, Connexion readers have been sharing their top tips for improving French language skills.

Watch the weather in French

Watching the weather every evening in French is a good way to tune your ear to the language, according to Connexion reader RB.

On watching la météo, RB said: “There is a limited amount of French words, all associated with the weather, and there are the pictures to help one along. There is also the additional help of subtitles.”

RB also recommended listening to France Inter on the radio, to get the feel of the pronunciation.

Use a Kindle to read French books

Connexion reader CT suggests using a Kindle to download and read French books.

There is a translation tool on the device that allows you to simply tap the word and the translation will appear.

“If you read a physical book, you either have to skim over words you don't know or look them up in a dictionary,” she said. “If the latter, it is easy to lose the flow.

“Of course, it is no substitute for having a real book in one's hands but it probably gives the best reading experience for those for whom French is a second language.”

Read also: Books to help improve your French

Use magazines that match your interests

BH, who lives in the Cévennes, suggests identifying different family members' interests and finding them a French magazine on that subject.

For children in the summer holidays, she proposes using bandes-dessinées (comics) to help keep learning interesting.

Many French families will already have collections of these so you may be able to borrow them or take them out in the library.

Children’s classics go a long way

BH also found that French classics such as TinTin, Asterix, Lucky Luke and Gaston Lagaffe were a good learning tool for her children (but for adults too!).

Once again, these can usually be borrowed from the local library, which is also a good way to put some of your French-speaking skills to practice.

Read also: How to gain confidence in speaking French

Books for teenagers and adults

Among teenage-friendly books that BH found useful were L'herbe bleue by Beatrice Sparks, Les Fourmis by Bernard Werber, L'Élégance du hérisson by Muriel Barbery, and René Barjavel’s La Nuit des temps.

BH added: “Some of [Sidonie-Gabrielle] Colette is a bit dated, in an interesting way. This one is very Colette and therefore...very French: La chatte.

“Other classics: Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan, which was rather risqué in the 60s.”

A French podcast to add to your library

PP wrote in to share his favourite podcast for learning French - the Daily French Pod.

According to him, it is “short (3 - 4 mins) so it is easy to listen to on the go and repeat” and discusses “topical and varied subjects.”

He added that “it provides a daily introduction to a range of vocabulary with regular verb reminders.

The podcast also gives vocabulary explanations in English at an intermediate to advanced level.

Your view

If you have any further tips, please contact sophie.parsons@connexionfrance.com. Thank you!

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