Media tips: better french practice

You’ve heard it forever: We all know we should read, watch TV, and listen to music in our target language. But it’s too easy to set this practice aside without having some tricks up your sleeve to increase enjoyment and efficiency.

So KRU presents a hack, a trick, and an objective to help you get the most from using media to increase your French skills.


Aim for only 20 minutes a day of passive consumption in the target language. Don’t worry about doing more than this unless you really feel inspired. You want to keep your brain engaged, not exhausted – and yourself entertained, not frustrated. Strive for one episode of a sitcom, one newspaper article, or tuning the radio to a French station while you prepare the coffee or run the vacuum.


Read the “trashy” stuff. Daily newspapers and epic Les-Mis-style novels are all well and good, but it’s not your best bet for preliminary learning. Sports magazines, celebrity gossip rags, tabloids, comics, etc. are hidden gems. The text often occurs in short blurbs using conversational speech or even slang, which is great for building real-world “everyday” speech. They have the added bonus of teaching you about French pop culture, and lots of photos help with context. The information often centers around interpersonal relations, fashion, hairstyles, and the like, so it’s an excellent resource for vocabulary.  


Use media you already know. Choose a book, movie, or series that you’re already familiar with, whether from French culture, another culture, or your own. Knowing the plot beforehand will better help you understand the French. And don’t watch exclusively in French: Watch in the original language with French subtitles, dubbed in French with original language subtitles, or any combination that you feel comfortable with and integrates French in some way. Switch back and forth between different combinations as you watch. This keeps your brain on its toes while avoiding making watching a struggle.

Share with us: What are your best tips for practicing a second language with media?

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