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Better Reading French: A Reader and Guide to Improving Your Understanding of Written French (Better Reading Language) [Paperback]

Annie Heminway
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 9.99
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Better Reading French, 2nd Edition (Better Reading Series) Better Reading French, 2nd Edition (Better Reading Series)
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Book Description

1 Mar 2003 0071391398 978-0071391399
This book provides a unique method of learning and sharpening your French language skills. For the advanced beginner or intermediate-level learner, reading offers you the most convenient way to practice and sharpen your French and monitor your progress. "Better Reading French" brings you short passages that reflect French history and culture as well as contemporary issues and situations taken from magazines, the Internet, books, and newspapers. Covering such topics as cuisine, love, music, travel, technology, politics, and history, each chapter features reading selections that become more challenging as the sections progress.Here you will find a feature on Alain Ducasse's favorite recipes, a letter from nineteenth-century actress Juliette Drouet to her lover Victor Hugo, descriptions of France's many museums, and more than fifty other selections to help you improve your reading speed and understanding. Following each article is a set of exercises that help your comprehension and develop invaluable reading skills including: skimming material for general meaning; scanning for details; using word formation, cognates, and context to determine meaning; understanding idioms and artistic expressions. An appendix provides suggestions for further reading. "Better Reading French" will not only help you improve or revive your language skills, it also will open up the enjoyable and exciting world of reading in French.


Product details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Contemporary (1 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071391398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071391399
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 14.4 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 727,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

A unique method of learning and sharpening your French language skills

For the advanced beginner or intermediate-level learner, reading offers you the most convenient way to practice and sharpen your French and monitor your progress.

Better Reading French brings you short passages that reflect French history and culture as well as contemporary issues and situations taken from magazines, the Internet, books, and newspapers.

Covering such topics as cuisine, love, music, travel, technology, politics, and history, each chapter features reading selections that become more challenging as the sections progress. Here you will find a feature on Alain Ducasse's favorite recipes, a letter from nineteenth-century actress Juliette Drouet to her lover Victor Hugo, descriptions of France's many museums, and more than fifty other selections to help you improve your reading speed and understanding.

Following each article is a set of exercises that help your comprehension and develop invaluable reading skills including:

  • Skimming material for general meaning
  • Scanning for details
  • Using word formation, cognates, and context to determine meaning
  • Understanding idioms and artistic expressions

An appendix provides suggestions for further reading.

Better Reading French will not only help you improve or revive your language skills, it also will open up the enjoyable and exciting world of reading in French.

About the Author

Annie Hemminway is an author and teacher at the French Institute/Alliance Française.


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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Homework 9 April 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A good concept, but in reality more hard work than pleasure. I was looking for something to give me a taste of different authors, styles, etc. as I'm finding it hard to launch myself into french reading. This is not going to be my answer; but its a good excercise so I will continue nevertheless.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intermediate Level Reading with Exercises 29 Mar 2004
By Diana F. Von Behren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have used this book extensively as an adjunct to my adult level French text book which deals mainly with grammar, vocabulary and culture. "Better Reading French" provides the student with different topics like "Love", "Letters", "Food", "Songs", "Museums, "Travel Methods" "Explorations" and "French Symbols" (these are my own titles for each of the chapters labeled in French by the author), that contain information, readings and exercises to further comprehension development. The readings and exercises in each topic range from easy to advanced, so the student can challenge him/herself on any or all levels. For example, the topic on food begins with a chef's vocabulary--describing his uniform and his equipment--this is followed by an interesting exercise on homonyms and several sentences in English requiring French translation. Recipe instructions follow explaining the French usage of either the imperative form of the verb or the use of the infinitive (I found this section very informative--all the verbs for mixing, beating, whisking etc are used in one place in the two formats--one formal, one more familiar. The chapter ends with more articles---a portrait of a chef, an interview with a chef, Food Critics, Table Manners, A Moroccan Menu and a short essay about enjoying the pleasures of life. All articles are intermingled with exercises of increasing difficulty that are interesting to the modern reader. Although the author does include reading selections from authors of the Baudelaire, George Sand and Chateaubriand calibar, there are plenty of articles reprinted from current magazines and newspapers to make the experience of learning from "Better Reading French" one of practical everyday usage.

Recommended to any intermediate French student who enjoys exploring different avenues of independent study while accomplishing the noble goal of learning, perfecting or simply maintaing their French.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It picks up where the beginner books leave off. 10 Jan 2007
By erin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are reading exercises and test questions throughout.

And there is an answer key at the back. There is also a good list of French websites on various subjects.

IT does not waste time explaining the very basics. It assumes the reader has a basic understanding, and is ready to move forward with more challenging vocab, which there are a lot of new words that the intermediate learner probably has not seen. There are more complex sentence structures that are within reach of understanding.

You will have to do some work to understand some things, and that is what improving is about. Pushing yourself a little harder to get better. Have your dictionary ready. You will need it.

It is not in any way for a brand new student.
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 29 Nov 2004
By jw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book starts of easy and ramps up... I am actually learning not only more French, the end goal, and becoming better at reading French, but I'm also learning how to skim in French, a skill I lack in English. Well organized and thought out with interesting and varied readings that would appeal to a wide cross section of interests and skills.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not thought through 15 Mar 2008
By Marten K - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a disappointment.

After having excellent experiences with other books this book came across as disorganized and not useful for a learning journey. The concept, the cover and the hype are good. The execution is poor.

This is not a "guide" to better reading as such, there are no reading tips and no section introductions to indicate what the author is aiming for the learner to achieve. The book does not have a vocabulary glossary, the readings are not well graded, and the exercises include tasks indirectly related to the reading on translation and grammar (and not reading comprehension). The readings are decontextualized in that no visual clues are provided, exercises are in the same format as the reading, and there is no indication of who authored the readings or from where the readings have been extracted. The author encourages the reader to select topics of interest; therefore the author does not envision a skill journey for the learner. The skill exercises do not build towards a cohesive skill set. It grates that the exercises and introductions are in English and not French, so there is no sense of immersion which I have enjoyed with other books.

Instead of a book designed for learning, you get the sense that this book has been produced by an experienced French teacher who has accumulated a considerable collection of learning materials over the years, and then decided to publish these in a loosely organized fashion. This book may in fact be an excellent resource for teachers of French.

A more useful approach might have been to include a complete lexicon of terms for particular topics at the start of each topic. But instead this book includes vocabulary exercises that come after the reading, and the vocabulary is not presented in a consistent or comprehensive manner.

Instead of persevering with this book, I will use other books to supplement my part-time coursework and will use French internet-based newspapers to achieve what I had hoped to achieve with this book.

Books that I have found very useful so far and which I would recommend are Easy French Reader and Beginner's French Reader for improving reading in French, and The Ultimate French Verb Review and Practice (The Ultimate Verb Review and Practice Series) for improving vocabulary and grammar.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but some problems... 31 Aug 2007
By B. Keilani - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book claims that you don't need a dictionary. I am sorry, but I don't know every single word in the French language such as "brin de bruyere" which comes from this poem that is not translated in the book.
I would have appreciated more definitions, but it does have great answers, but it reinforces the fact that I need to get myself a very good dictionary very soon. The book is good, just make sure you have a dictionary. In most cases, you won't need one. I would recommend this book, still.
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