Today is Tip Day; at least, I’ve decided it is, LOL! So, here are 8 (for day 8 of our calendar) tips I used to help myself improve in French:

Photo by Nadir sYzYgY on Unsplash. Yes, supernerd here. I hope my advice is not as cryptic as Yoda’s, though.
  1. This may sound very geeky, but have you tried playing Scrabble in French? I mean it! It’s a great way to improve your vocabulary and challenge yourself. Plus, it feels great when you actually rack up some points! I play with my French husband, but we used to play Scrabble with our English language students when I worked at Wall Street English and it was always a lot of fun. You don’t need to have a very high level to play, and you can « cheat » by checking the dictionary when you’re stumped! At least we do ;-). But don’t forget, you’ll need the French version of Scrabble so that the game works well.
  2. Another trick I use to help myself learn is to try crossword puzzles or even word searches. You’d be surprised at what you can learn from a simple puzzle! Try this website for puzzles adapted for learners.
  3. Do you have a dog? Go to the dog park and start chatting! Seriously. When I moved here I didn’t have a dog, but that is literally how my mother learned French. I kid you not. She made friends with other dog owners and improved at lightning speed.
  4. Go to one of those language exchange meetings. If you can’t afford a private tutor, or even group lessons, there are plenty of French people who are on the lookout for an English speaker to help them with their language skills.
  5. If you have a kid, read to them in French. You probably won’t understand everything, but it’s great pronunciation practice. I still learn new words that way!
  6. Actually, read out loud in general. It’s really, really good practice. I do this because I’m a big nerd who loved reading out loud, but seriously, try it.
  7. This is an old one: read! I started with YA fiction. To my (not so) deep shame, I read Twilight in French. But it helped! YA fiction is easy to read, and uses a wide range of everyday vocabulary. I started reading with an A2 level. Really. In the beginning, I had to look up a ton of words, but by the end I was only looking up maybe one or two words per page. You can do it!
  8. Again, this is a no-brainer, but watch French TV. Really. Watch the silly talk shows, watch the news, watch movies, (lots of great comedies out there) watch documentaries (there are lots of good ones on Arte). I’ll make another post with ideas for things to watch. But really, you have to get your ears used to hearing French; immersing yourself as fully as possible, although tiring, it the only way to really « get it ».

I hope these tips have helped you, or gave you idea on what you can do. Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed!

And don’t forget to join our learning group @Groupetude Community for a support network of learners, to get your questions answered by French teachers, and receive daily learning tips throughout the year!

Last, but not least. We teach French! If you’re looking for an online French course, get in touch!

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