Best French book for adults

Language

Twenty-four different countries worldwide have French listed as an official language.

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Which French book for adults is best? 

If you are interested in learning a new language, French is a great choice to go with. French is a very global language that is spoken in many countries all around the globe, and with its 280 million speakers, it is the fifth most spoken language in the world. 

You can’t talk about French without talking about French culture, of course. Wine, gastronomy, philosophy, literature and music are just some of the things you are likely to encounter while learning French. 

Whether or not you’re learning because of a love of the culture or an imminent trip to a French-speaking region, the top pick, “Short Stories in French for Beginners,” is the best French book for adults to get you reading and speaking like a francophone in record time. 

What to know before you buy a French book for adults 

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages levels 

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or CEFR, is divided into six levels ranging from A1 to C2 and is the most-used reference for language level among European languages such as English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and many more. While, as a beginner or A1 learner, you may not think that your language level matters all that much, but knowing where you stand in this framework will help you pick materials that are better suited for you. 

Most French books for adult learners of the language will be divided and marketed based on this framework, so it’s important to understand it. For example, “Short Stories in French for Beginners” is best for A2 to B1 learners, so some prior French knowledge will be necessary to enjoy the resource to the fullest. 

A1 and A2 are the beginner levels, B1 and B2 are the intermediate levels, C1 is the advanced level and C2 is total proficiency equal to that of a native speaker. 

Books in French vs. French textbooks 

When deciding on which book to buy to help you with your French studies, you must first consider your level and learning style. There are a variety of books in French that are designed for learners of French as a foreign language. These are all great options for people who like to learn by reading and already have at least an A2 level in French. 

French textbooks or grammar books, such as the “French Tutor Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook,” can be helpful to establish a base in the language before you start reading native materials. If you are a complete beginner, opt for a textbook. 

Why you should learn French

At the end of the day, everyone will have their own reasons for learning French. For some, the culture of France and the desire to visit may be a driving factor, while for others, the only motivation needed is wanting to read the wealth of French literature. 

Consider your own motivations before buying a language learning resource. 

What to look for in a quality French book for adults 

Built-in dictionary or index 

Especially if you are starting your French learning journey from scratch, look for resources and books that have a built-in dictionary or index to help with acquiring new vocabulary. This will save you time by not having to stop to look up every new word that you encounter in a separate resource.

Grammar or vocabulary exercises 

Grammar and vocabulary exercises may seem like a bore, but these exercises can actually be very helpful for cementing new grammar points and vocabulary words. These exercises are especially helpful when paired with a reading exercise. 

Comprehension checks 

If you opt for a more traditional storybook for French learners, make sure that it includes questions at the end of each story in order to check your comprehension of the material. Comprehension checks are a valuable resource for those who don’t have access to a native French speaker. 

How much you can expect to spend on French books for adults 

French books can range from $15-$40, depending on the book. 

French books for adults FAQ

What CEFR level should I be before I start reading in French? 

A. You can start reading in French as soon as you like, but remember that every text will have its own difficulty level. Even a B2 level learner may have trouble with a text that is written for a C2 level audience. 

Can I learn French just through reading? 

A. In short, no. Reading is a valuable way to acquire a new language, but your language learning has to be well-rounded in order to make any real progress. You must find ways to incorporate all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in your studies. 

What’s the best French book for adults to buy?

Top French book for adults 

Short Stories in French for Beginners

Short Stories in French for Beginners

What you need to know: This series by Olly Richards has been lauded by language learners worldwide since its release. It is perfect for A2-B1 learners. 

What you’ll love: The fun and engaging stories will keep you hooked and the questions at the end of each story will help to check your comprehension and to cement new vocabulary. 

What you should consider: This book isn’t very helpful to true beginners in French. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top French books for adults for the money

Merde, It’s Not Easy to Learn French 

Merde, It’s Not Easy to Learn French

What you need to know: This charming trilogy from France Dubin is great for absolute beginners in French, thanks to its translations and exercises. 

What you’ll love: The story contains all the vocabulary you would need to know in order to wander the streets of Paris and stumble into a café. It is truly written for adults and contains real French. 

What you should consider: The only con to this series is that it ends.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

French Tutor Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook 

French Tutor Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook 

What you need to know: This book is good for those who are just starting out and need to establish a base of grammar and vocabulary in French before reading. 

What you’ll love: The book is laid out well and uses contemporary French. 

What you should consider: The vocabulary is mainly taught in lists, so you will need to study a bit in order to really learn. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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