I learned French in high school by taking classes online from the UNL Independent Study High School, then spending 10 months in France as a foreign exchange student with Youth for Understanding.

I often get asked what supplementary resources I used to learn French. Here's my short list.


Coffee Break French is really great. I listened to countless episodes on long bike rides near my hometown. I've tried Coffee Break Spanish and Coffee Break German as well, and they're all excellent!


The Ultimate French Review and Practice goes into all the grammar you'll need and has little exercises to practice. The version for Spanish is also very thorough and helpful.

Easy French Reader by R. de Roussy de Sales is great for reading practice directly in French, and does a good job of progressing in difficulty at a good pace. The new version has audio, though I haven't tried it. I also have and recommend the Spanish edition.

If you're struggling with grokking the grammar bits, English Grammar for Students of French is a very approachable/small textbook I used. It helped me remember things like "what is the past perfect in English?" so it was easier to figure out when to use them in French. I haven't tried any other editions, but this book exists for lots of different languages as well.

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry is the first book I read that was completely in French. It was written for a young audience, so it's an easy and classic place to start when you're ready for a full book.


While I was learning French, I watched the DVDs that I had on hand (especially Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist, my favorite at the time) that happened to have a French audio track and English or French subtitles. I highly recommend this as a low-cost way of exposing yourself to more audio in your target language. If it bothers you that the mouths of people on screen don't match up with the audio, try watching Disney or other animated films - the dubbing is frequently a lot less noticeable.

The French In Action series is an oldie but most definitely a goodie. They're like telenovelas in advanced beginner/intermediate French that are a great way to practice comprehension skills.

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