French Books for Beginners


When learning a language, the right teacher or instructional method may help a student fall in love with the intricacies and cadence of a foreign language. Finding a good book for beginners is essential. A book with good flow and structure will draw a reader into the language and help him understand the basics.

501 French Verbs

  • Barron's "501 French Verbs" is exactly what it sounds like: 501 French verbs. The best-selling book, its sixth edition in 2010, offers more than a simple dictionary for verbs, 501 defines the most common French verbs, conjugates them, and gives examples of idioms and sample sentences to demonstrate usage. An additional 2,600 verb conjugations are sprinkled throughout the book as reference points. The sixth edition of the book comes with a CD that includes practice exercises and quizzes.

Beginner's French Reader

  • Laura K. Lawless, author of four books on the French language, recommends Anne Popping's "Beginner's French Reader." The book is filled with 27 stories, each in culturally and linguistically authentic French, all at the beginner's reading level. The stories deal with everyday French situations, often with silly narratives. Each story has photographs and comprehension activities to help students. A complete glossary ensures a reading experience free of onerous dictionary referencing, and helps students learn elementary French vocabulary.

Learn French the Fast and Fun Way

  • "Learn French the Fast and Fun Way" offers an alternate, fun-based approach to the French language. Aimed at adolescent and adult students, the book focuses on teaching beginners the basics of French reading, writing, comprehension and speaking. Cartoonish illustrations are coupled with language-based games and puzzles to teach French through engaging activities. The book's third edition comes with vocabulary flashcards and a miniature bilingual dictionary, both of which are stapled to the book's spine for easy removal.

Practice Makes Perfect

  • Annie Hemmingway's "Practice Makes Perfect: Complete French Grammar" offers beginners a focused, academic, practice-based method for learning the ins and outs of French grammar. The book offers sample sentences for each grammar point, and several exercises in every section, each of which is suited to a different style of learning. Throughout the sections, practical and high frequency vocabulary is used to help students pick up the most important French words while learning more intricate aspects of the language.

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