Fun Ideas for Improving Your French

French is a beautiful language with a rich literary history. But unless you are one of those rare people with a gift for languages, it’s challenging to learn.

But in spite of the effort involved, it is sooooo worth it. Even if your French isn’t perfect, French people really appreciate it when you make the effort to speak their language. They’ll chat with you, ask you questions about yourself and where you come from, and offer their opinions on anything and everything. Such fun! Being able to break through the language barrier opens up a new world with new perspectives.

There are plenty of ways to learn French, from classroom work to apps like Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone. Those are great for giving you the basics, but what if you want to progress to a real conversational level, or read something beyond a few simple paragraphs? Let me share with you some helpful ideas on how to accelerate your progress and have fun doing so. And you might enjoy the intriguing question I ask at the end.

French Language Partners

Fun ideas to improve your French

Let’s say you’ve covered the basics of French grammar and have built up a small vocabulary, but you have trouble actually using it. What you really need to do now is talk, and talk a lot. There’s nothing like talking to a native French speaker, so why not find yourself a French language partner?

It’s easy, right?

No. Sure, you may find people who will engage with you for a few minutes, but you need hours and hours of conversation. Why would a French person want to talk to you so much, you who is still struggling with their language? The average français would not be thrilled, but there are some who would be delighted.

Who? Those who want to learn English. Not only do they have exactly the same problem as you (in reverse!), but just like you, they also need someone who will be patient with them and correct their mistakes.

I’ve used a number of language partners on my way to learning French. I’ve figured out how to find them, what makes a good partner, and how best to work with one. Let me share what I’ve discovered so far…

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Reading in French—You Can Do It!

Fun ideas to improve your French

I didn’t begin studying French in earnest until I was in my late 40s. I improved little by little and today, a dozen years later, I can speak the language comfortably. And one of the things that has helped me is reading.

When I first started, I could only read the short handouts I got from my French teacher. Eventually, I tried newspapers and magazines, and finally made it to simple books. Now I’ve enjoyed a number of French novels, including some of the classics.

Spoken French can sometimes be too fast to understand, but reading allows you to go at your own pace. Reading helps you improve your vocabulary as you learn the new words you come across. And it can help your pronunciation if you read out loud.

Reading can be useful whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Let me tell you how to get started and where you can find great resources no matter what your level.

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Try a Graphic Novel for Easy French Reading

When native English-speakers think of illustrated stories, comic books like Batman and Spiderman usually come to mind. These are considered ‘kid stuff’ rather than something an adult would read. Sure, there is the occasional graphic novel that reaches an adult readership, like Persepolis, but those are exceptions.

Not so in France.

No, in France the bande dessinée (BD) is a serious and respected art form.

And while comic-book-style BDs are popular, those dealing with adult themes are also widely read. And they are a great way to read in French because the text is limited and the illustrations help you understand the story.

BDs aren’t limited to any one kind of subject matter. Instead, they cover a lot of ground, including history, autobiography, classic French novels, contemporary social issues, humor, and more. Let me introduce you to a few—you might find that they are a great way to ease yourself into French reading.

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A Fun Question

Fun ideas to improve your French

You’ve probably read some books by French authors, whether in English or in French. So, let’s ask the question: What is the greatest French book of all time?

Can the question even be answered? I think not—we all have different tastes in literature, which makes it impossible to pick one book as ‘the best’. But that hasn’t kept people from trying!

I was curious so I did some research on the subject, reviewing various lists and survey data. What I found out might surprise you!

Read more.

Do you have suggestions for fun ways to improve your French? Let us know below in comments.

About the Contributor

Keith Van Sickle

I am a lifelong traveler who lives part of the year in Provence. I am the author of Are We French Yet and One Sip at a Time, as well as the upcoming An Insider’s Guide to Provence, all available at Amazon. You can follow me on Facebook,  Twitter and

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One Comment

  1. thara Jun 24, 2020 at 7:25 AM - Reply

    I love to write about the scenery in French. I even once printed out a empty map of France and decided to write the names of the different regions of France on it in two shades of blue, recommended for visual learners especially. Another nice classroom activity is to watch a French film, then perhaps type up a short brief review of it on your computer afterwards again for visual learners. For visual learners, I particularly also recommend using pictures and other visual aids like highlighters, mind maps and charts etc. Black and white pictures or old shots of French houses are deemed best so the pupil can label them and also annotate them in the lesson. Take them to a library to borrow DVDs and purchase textbooks in French for them. Many of these will also be recommended for hands on learners however. Look for workbooks with pictures. Perfect for visual learners. Appeal to their strengths. Ensure that they can see you. Organise trips to the theatres or the cinema on top of that. Show them old videos. Perhaps also use bullet points and one or two colours to help them remember important stuff easily. Be original and creative. Order textbooks from Amazon or other sites to use. Focus on what they can do.

    Or you can even try to describe French properties orally. This is the perfect classroom or homework activity for auditory learners. There are numerous ways and methods of studying or learning French to try. Auditory learners should use a tape recorder, listen to the radio, sing and talk in French and ask some questions out loud as well. You could even hold discussions on topics of interest like clothes, the weather and so on. Get auditory learners to dictate their response to you as you record their voice using your phone or some other recording device in lessons. Additionally have auditory learners repeat the question to you as part of a French conversation lesson. Try asking them to do role play. Buy them audiobooks or see if you can find any CDs online or in the local bookshop. Practice reciting French poetry often and have them develop their communication skills in various different real life situations for example at a hotel or shop in Toulouse or whilst ordering some nice food in Paris. Make sure that they can hear properly at all times.

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