Start to read the news in French can be a very good idea because:

- Vocabulary is particularly rich in French/Latin cognates

-  Content is a good resource for the study of contemporary culture

- Great variety of topics 

- Gives you the feeling to be in touch with the language you are learning


-  Journalistic or news style is a writing style of its own

-  Implicit cultural/historical references are difficult to understand for outsiders.



 Reading involves three components: the reader, the text and the context in which the reading occurs.  

Ask yourself some questions…


First about yourself as a reader

Are you a good reader usually? Do you enjoy reading?

Do you keep yourself up dated with the news regularly?

Do you listen, watch or read the news? 

Do you read all kind of news or only very specific topics?

Do you have a natural motivation for reading the news?

Are you familiar with English journalistic vocabulary and news topics?

How large is your English vocabulary? Of course, the larger it is the more your will benefit from the many cognates that appear in news reporting

 Then try to keep in mind that news come under different forms and shapes


What kind of source or support? newspaper, online news, subtitled-video news, specialized magazines, tabloids …

What is the target readers of the source?  General public, business people, local people, teenagers, housewives, political group, lobby...

What type of text: interview, report, portrait, survey, chronicle, news in brief, feature article…

What are the journalist’s intentions?  Report the news, explain the news or comment on the news?

What is the tone used by the writer: ironical, neutral, humorous, suspicious...

 The context in which your reading takes place is important too.

How high is your motivation in reading this article?

How relevant is it to you or to your interest?

What are your reading conditions?  place, luminosity, time...

Who assigned you to read it, how and why?


 Here are some advices to make your first news reading in French a successful experience :


Before reading

It is important make sure that the part of knowledge you have on the topic addressed in the text is activated.


1. Read about the same piece of news in English first. World news headlines are more or less  the same everywhere. Once you know the story, it will be easier to read it in French. It will also give you the opportunity to encounter the cognates in English first.


2. If you did not read the same news in English, take some time to look for clues that can help you identify quickly the topic  such as headline and subhead, photos and captions, figures or other joined documents, transparent words you spot and try to make your first assertions about the topic and build hypothesis in order to activate the personal experience or prior knowledge you might have on the topic. 


3. Assess the difficulty of the article by evaluating the number of transparent/opaque words. It is still time to change your mind and choose another article.


When reading

This is the time to use the different reading strategies you know. 


1.  Quick reading to get familiar with the text and spot transparent/opaque zones throughout the text. Focus on transparent zones and try to expend them.

2.  Try to answer to The Five Ws (+ one H)

·        Who? Who was involved?

·        What? What happened (what's the story)?

·          When? When did it take place?

·          Where? Where did it take place?

·          Why? Why did it happen?

·          How? How did it happen?


2.  Mind mapping

Try to identify the heart of the topic and set it as your mapping center.


After reading








A good reader


1. Knows that reading means searching for the meaning not decoding the meaning

2. Uses his prior knowledge to make predictions about the content and structure of the text.

3. knows how to use index, content table, illustrations or any other clues to identify information.

4. knows the purpose of his reading and what he is looking for.

5. reads carefully only what is of interest for him and is not afraid to jump lines or paragraphs

6. double check, evaluate and question constantly his comprehension

7. Does not stop when does not understand


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