The 5-Week Linguist: Summer Reading in French

Reading is absolutely one of the best ways to help you learn a foreign language. It offers all your vocabulary, language, and grammar completely in context. On top of this, you can get information on absolutely anything and everything from reading. You can learn about science, current events, history or how to make a new dish. You can read great novels. You can read about any subject that truly interests you. Invest a bit of time in reading and watch your vocabulary grow exponentially.

Dr. Steven Krashen, an leading researcher in second language acquisition, recommends reading as the activity that any language learner should invest a great deal of time. I couldn’t agree with him more. Read textbooks, encyclopedias, anything on the web, news, gossip, recipes, or ANYTHING that interests. The things that you read don’t have to be academic or important to work. For this five-week period of study in French I’m going to invest at least ten hours a week into my summer reading. Fun, easy, light and interesting. Pleasurable and easy to consume reading I can do with my feet up and a cool drink are the only requirements that need to be met.

Week One: Women
This week is dedicated to stories about women. I’m completing a novel entitled, “American Housewife” that I bought a couple of years ago. The novel was originally in English and was translated to French. I don’t normally recommend reading translations, but if it’s something you want to read, go ahead and do it. It’s better to read something that you truly enjoy, that was translated than something you’re not going to enjoy. This way, you’re not going to give up and not get the get the benefits. I also read a very funny graphic novel about love. They seem to be very popular in French. There is a great selection available at target=”_blank”>FNAC.

Week Two: Spirituality
I’m a very spiritual person, and even which aspects I don’t believe in, I find interesting to learn about. This week I read all about my horoscope in an extended book on Leos in 2018. I also read some spiritual magazines I picked up in Paris.

Week Three: Love
Mills and Boon, (basically Harlequin in Europe), publishes loads of short stories about love. FNAC has loads. Just use the term romans romantiques.

Week Four: Bien-être
I’ve picked up loads of magazines over the years and I haven’t had a chance to read all of them. They’re all about health, well-being and feeling good. They are easy to consume, offer great recipes, stress-reducing tips and inspirational stories of people transforming their lives.

Week Five: Truly Easy Reading
One of my very favorite activities in France is picking up women’s magazines when I go to the supermarket. They’re fun, they’re light and they’re interesting. They have recipes, true stories, horoscopes, makeup tips, and tips for your home. As a woman, those are things that interest me. They’re not hard. I can relate to them, and I always learn loads of vocabulary.

In the event that you want to order some reading directly from France, here is a link to a chain that delivers all over the world. Even just searching the site is an immersive experience in French;


mariefrance is the magazine publisher behind many of the publications I read during this five-week period. Their website also has tons of reading on a variety of topics. Print out the pages so you can mark them up to learn loads of vocabulary and grammar, all in context. Prefer to read online? Check out this amazing app that generates flashcards of words you don’t know.

Below are my weekly fluency recordings Their purpose is not to offer instruction in French, but rather to show how you can document progress. You will here loads of mistakes and some awkward pauses, but I am sharing to offer some ideas on how this works. I can’t wait to listen at the end of the year to compare my summer 2018 starting point with these 5-week periods and my end point for the year.

Summer Reading in French Week 1
Summer Reading in French Week 2
Summer Reading in French Week 3
Summer Reading in french Week 4
Summer Reading in French Week 5

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