French Workbook for Reading?
November 17, 2017 8:37 AM   Subscribe

I need to read French in order to read secondary academic historical works. I have some books that are quite good, but they are just reading passages and teaching the grammar, etc. They aren't interactive. I would like a workbook where I write things down/fill things out, etc, and isn't aimed a high school students. Thanks.
posted by MisantropicPainforest to Education (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
It might be a little bit simpler than you're looking for, but have you tried Duolingo? It's electronic, not paper, but it's definitely interactive. I'm working through the French module now, and it has not only your typical grammar and vocab, but as you advance it also has "here's a sentence in French, enter it in English", "here's a sentence in English, enter it in French", and also an optional section with back-and-forth conversations - buying clothes, ordering food, etc. - with a bot that responds (within reason) based on your answers.
posted by okayokayigive at 8:50 AM on November 17, 2017

Yeah Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are too simple--plus I need grammar instruction rather than vocabulary, since the vocabulary I need is fairly specific to academic works.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do you have Stack's Reading French in Arts and Sciences? That used to be regularly assigned to grad students who needed French for secondary-source-reading purposes. I seem to recall workbook-style exercises in the book, though I'm not entirely sure about that.
posted by Hellgirl at 9:17 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Canadian college and university bookstores usually have a good range of current textbooks with accompanying workbooks. The Bonne Route package is hard to get new these days, but you can find used copies of the hardcover (just a few exercises) and the softcover lab manual (lots of written exercises) at There's also a book companion site that lets you test yourself on various topics and try out cultural module exercises. You don't need to buy the book to use the site.
posted by maudlin at 9:25 AM on November 17, 2017

The Grammaire progressive du français is my go-to workbook for intermediate-level adult learners of French who really want to acquire a good grasp of grammar. I see that they have an e-book now. You'll need to buy the answer key separately, but it's worth it.
posted by pendrift at 9:41 AM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm a big fan of The Ultimate French Review and Practice; going through it and doing all the exercises really improved my grasp of grammar in a way that just talking to people was never going to do. Full disclosure, though, I was in Peace Corps when I did that, so I had a lot of downtime to devote to doing exercises, and it still took me the better part of a year to get through it all. Once I'd done that, in the next stage of my career when I needed to have good formal and business French, having the Bescherelle box set as my main reference tool helped grow my facility with French grammar, not least because the very structure of the books forces you to think logically about what precisely you are looking up and where the gap in your understanding is.
posted by solotoro at 10:12 AM on November 17, 2017

Sandberg - French For Reading, is the go-to. It's aimed at people who need to read academic French but not speak it, and it has exercises in each chapter. I used it for my PhD language requirement, as did most of my fellow students. (Passed easily!)
posted by Beardman at 10:32 AM on November 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm not quite sure how 'interactive' you'd like your book to be, but do you already have French For Reading Knowledge? It's very good prep for your intended project. There are translation exercises at the end of each chapter drawn from classic literature as well as academic French works. It's ancient, but it's a classic for a reason. The Sandberg linked above is another classic and some people do prefer it because is a little more textbook-like in format. I personally learned on the Palmeri -- it got me up to mostly-able-to-handle La Rochefoucauld in about eight weeks of reasonably concentrated study.
posted by halation at 10:34 AM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I second Beardman's recommendation of Sandberg's French for Reading. His German for Reading is also great, if you need that language.
posted by brianogilvie at 10:40 AM on November 17, 2017

Take a look at TV5's French language material. It's interactive. It's available for beginning and advanced students. Also, their documentary series for learning French is good.
posted by shoesietart at 11:26 AM on November 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I scored better on my departmental French exam after reading French for Reading than I did on the German exam when I'd taken 2.5 years of German in college!
posted by praemunire at 1:30 PM on November 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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