A problem I had for the longest time while learning French was improving my reading comprehension. For the longest time I could not make any progress and would continue to suck at understanding what I read. The tips of continue reading did not seem to help me and I would get frustrated and quit. Since then I’ve been able to improve quite a bit.
I realized two things, first that it’s true that the more you read the easier it becomes and second that it’s just as important to find appropriate reading. The second one is so important since even what may seem like an easy article or book might be way too challenging, I know it was for me!
I finally found the perfect books when I saw these Stanley Lectures Graduées, I believe the publisher is Spanish or at least it was printed in Spain. They have different levels and even though I had been studying for a while I began with the level 0 books and they were enough of a challenge for me.
The first two books which are niveau 0 include a glossary and reading comprehension questions which are cool and help a lot. It’s a shame that the other levels do not have them as they add a lot to the package. I can say that La Famille Lenoir are two basic but helpful stories of a family’s random happenings and Qui Sait? is two zen Chinese stories that try to give some wisdom.
Here’s a list of the different books they have in their series if anyone is interested in checking them out. I’ve ready about half of the books they published. I would’ve read them all but they don’t have the others at my universities library.
But thanks to them I was finally able to find level appropriate versions of the Jules Verne classics that I was finally able to read in their original language. So while not the complete books it’s still awesome to be able to make this first step towards reading the originals. 20,000 leagues under the sea.
I can now add 20,000 leagues under the sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Mysterious Island to my repertoire and soon enough I”ll read the full versions. The one in the middle is by Chat Noir and does an even better job than the Editorial Stanley Books, it’s for levels B1 and features full color art, questions, vocabulary among many other things, it’s far more useful, sadly I couldn’t find more of these books, but they’re even more amazing for those learning.
It’s important to look up some words on the dictionary, especially if they come up often in the reading but it’s more important to continue reading and skipping most of the words you don’t understand and still try to get a feeling of what’s happening through context. It’s impossible to get through a book if you look up everything and it does more harm than good.
The Stanley books feature some crude artwork but it works perfectly to give you some context and help you understand the story a little bit better. The Chat Noir books are superior in every way but that’s not the point, both series of books have helped me quite a bit.
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