Is it worth reading children’s books to learn French, when you’re an adult?
A lot of students think that because they are beginners, they should read children’s books. They think that the vocabulary they will find in this type of books is adapted to their level and needs. But they are wrong!
First, the topics which are developed in children’s books are not adapted to the interests of adults.
Second, the vocabulary that you find in them is childish, as a consequence it’s difficult to use it as an adult.
Third, don’t think that children’s books are easy. These books are written for native speakers. You will certainly meet tenses that you have never studied before such as the passé simple, the imparfait and the plus-que-parfait. These tenses are used for fairytales and stories and are not adapted to the beginners ‘level.
As an adult, what should you read?
If you’re a beginner, read books which are adapted to your level. This type of books exists. They are especially written for foreigners and hold vocabulary and tenses which coincide with the requirements of the following levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. These levels correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
When you begin to be more comfortable in French, you can read authentic documents that is to say texts which were written for native speakers.
What to choose?
Read what is interesting to you.
You’re going to spend a lot of time reading, and as time is precious, don’t waste it with useless content. Follow your heart and choose books about topics that you enjoy.
Contemporary literature is easier to read than classics.
Reading the newspaper can be an excellent exercise too. You choose your favorite articles and you can read them quickly discovering vocabulary that you will be able to use during conversations.
The fact of reading in a foreign language as a complement to your studies is one of the best things you can do. Indeed, you will discover a lot from a linguistic and cultural point of view. But if you read, don’t try to understand the text a 100%. Don’t spoil your pleasure looking up every single word in the dictionary. Just look up the words that cause problem to understand the global message or words you’re curious about. Write them in a notebook to begin a vocabulary list that you will try to memorize later.
Reading is a long process, it’s important to choose the right texts which are adapted to your level and to your interests, otherwise you may give up this such pleasant and efficient activity.