“People acquiring a second language have the best chance of success through reading.” Stephen D Krashen
According to many studies, recreational reading (reading for pleasure) is the best way to improve your writing, grammar and vocabulary when learning a foreign language. What is especially beneficial is to read a little often, rather than do two hours of reading one day and then nothing for three weeks. 15 minutes a day should be enough to start with.
Narrow reading seems to be also more beneficial than broad reading. By narrow reading, we mean reading the work of one author, the same genre or the same topic. If you like romantic novels, read romantic novels. if you like fantasy, read fantasy. If you like reading magazines, read magazines. Just read what you enjoy, not what you think you should read.
Also, light reading is better than heavier reading, particularly if you are a beginner learner. Once you are at a higher level, then you can tackle more difficult books. Reading children’s books is a good way to start. Comics or graphic novels are very good for reluctant and novice readers. They are easier to understand as the text is supported by images.
What matter the most is the pleasure derived from reading. The more you enjoy reading, the more you will get out of it. You don’t need to write a summary or answer comprehension questions. Reading on its own is enough to help you progress.
Here are my recommendations:
Le Petit Nicolas by René Goscinny
Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Comics such as Tintin, Astérix, Lucky Luke or les Tuniques Bleues
L’Etranger and La Chute by Albert Camus
I am also a big fan of the Imogène series by Exbrayat. They are extremely funny with a bit of murder mystery included.
I don’t want to give too long a list because as I mentioned before, what matters is that you choose something that YOU will enjoy. There is a wide choice of French books on Amazon France or FNAC websites. They usually deliver in most countries.
What are you waiting for? Get your books out and start reading!