12 Awesome Short French reading series to jump from novice to intermediate

12 awesome short French reading series

My recent product line of short French readings was inspired by an issue I have noticed with my students: While I focus on teaching my students to read French by sharing many authentic resources with them, I’ve noticed that there is a bit of a jump between the novice-high and intermediate-low level. The content of intermediate-low includes a variety of tenses, a wider range of vocabulary, and more complex sentences.

It can be a challenge to find reading materials to help students bridge the gap between the two. The material geared towards novice-mid tends to focus on topics that are familiar, while the intermediate-mid student needs to be able to understand passages about topics that they may not know anything about.

To bridge this gap, I’ve been working on a series of short French reading passages. These passages cover a variety of topics to help expand the vocabulary and reading ability of students while being short enough that students will not become frustrated. Each reading passage is around 300-350 words long and is interesting enough to hold their attention. There is a glossary of any new words, and a variety of tenses is used – past, passé composé, imparfait, as well as future and subjunctive in some passages.

How you can use these short French readings

There are a variety of ways you can use these, depending on your students’ needs. They could be used as bell work, or a class opener each day. You might use them as independent practice for your students to read at home or an in-class assignment. They could be used as assessment activities; in which case I would use some of the readings in each series as practice and then the remaining ones as assessments. They would also be useful as sub plans.

Each reading is followed by 2-4 comprehension questions in English, so you can be sure that your students have understood the passage. The questions will be easy for any students who has read the passage. There is an answer key as well.

If you like, you could use each of the short French readings as a lesson in itself. Read through the passage to determine what vocabulary or structures you wish to focus on. Spend a bit of time working on those words and structures before reading the passage. You can then use whatever reading practices you like to work through the passage and comprehension questions.

To get an idea of what each reading includes, here is a free sample about the history of vampires.

The initial short French reading series

There are twelve series currently available. I am working on them and plan to add 6 more so that there will be 180 different reading passages – one for every day of the school year, if you wish to use them that way. Each series is based on a specific theme. I would suggest using more than one series and shuffling them a bit so students don’t get bored reading about the same type of topics each day.

Animals: 10 different interesting animals from around the world, including some your students may not have heard of before – the hyrax, fossa, and tanuki as well as some more familiar ones such as the polar bear, manatee and Komodo dragon.

Historical events: Looks at some of the most important historical events (the invention of the printing press, the French revolution) and some odd ones like the Emu war.

Symbols of France: Learn about ten of the symbols of France and French life – la Marseillaise, Marianne and the rooster, but also Camembert and champagne.

Scientific Discoveries: Your students will learn about life-changing discoveries on a grand scale like the moon landing and the discovery of penicillin, as well as things that affect our daily lives like the invention of plastics and the history of the microwave oven.

Interesting Places: A collection of 10 different places in France that your students have likely never heard of: the Jonas caves, the dog cemetery in Paris, the alignments of Carnac.

Biographies: The lives of important people, some modern and some historical. Includes greats such as Napoleon, Charlemagne and Julius Caesar as well as Coco Chanel, Jacques Cousteau and Surya Bonaly.

Women’s biographies: This series is perfect for Women’s history month. It includes both heroines and villains – Simone de Beauvoir, Hélène Studler, Simone Veil but also Catherine de Medicis, Charlotte Corday and la Voisin.

Incredible places: Places from around the worlds that are interesting and instagrammable – Bora Bora, the Great Barrier Reef, Jellyfish lake and the glowworm caves of Waitomo.

Interesting festivals and holidays: These aren’t your typical festivals – they include events like the Baby-Jumping festival, the ice pole sitting festival and Krampus night.

French authors: If you are studying literature, this is a great series for you. It includes authors like Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Jules Verne.

Disasters in History: Some of the worst disasters in history are also the most interesting – the Tenerife air disaster, the Great Smog of London, the Halifax explosion and more.

Artistic masterpieces: A mixture of both visual and performing arts – the mona Lisa, Starry Nigh,and the Scream as well as the 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony #9.

I also have two short French reading bundles – Bundle #1 includes French authors, Historical events, Women’s biographies, incredible places and interesting festivals and holidays. Bundle #2 includes biographies, interesting places, scientific discoveries, animals and symbols of France.

I’m currently working on the remaining 6 short French reading series and once those are done, I will make another small bundle as well as a superbundle of all 180 readings.

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