Level Up! 5 French Graded Readers for Learning French

Remember the excitement of leveling up to the next set of readers in grade school?

It was the best feeling: running up to the bookshelf in the school library and being able to pick from new stories in the “older kids” section.

Being an adult doesn’t mean that you have to lose that feeling!

Turns out graded readers are a great way to learn French, and there are thousands of options to choose from.


Learn French with 5 Entertaining Graded Reader Series

1. Lire en Français Facile (Read French Easily)


Lire en Français Facile is an excellent creator of French graded books for levels A1 (beginner) through B2 (intermediate).

Their website is very easy to navigate, as all of their books can be split up by level or category (content or genre). In addition to choosing between levels, you can choose between books for children, adolescents and adults.

For example, you can find lower-level, abridged versions of classic French novels for adults. The great thing about reading these is that you gain exposure to renown French classics that would otherwise remain inaccessible to new learners because of their difficulty. Each classic is graded into the A1, A2, B1 or B2 level, so no matter what level you are currently at, you can find an option that fits your needs.

If you aren’t a classics person, there are plenty of modern fiction choices available too. As a bonus, each purchase comes with an audio CD or MP3 download so you can practice your listening and pronunciation skills at the same time.

After finding something you like on their website, you will need to purchase it elsewhere, like on Amazon, which carries most of their titles.

Notable books:

2. Black Cat CIDEB


Black Cat CIDEB is another great series, offering graded readers in many different languages, including French. They have loads of books to choose from and break their options down even further than most, rating them as 1, 2, 3, 4, A1, 5, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. This is a great way to really hone in on your specific level.

Their lower level books include a lot of fables, while their intermediate options include a number of French classics. Advanced C1 and C2 level book choices are made up of great French literature. No matter which level your French is, you can find something to enjoy here.

A great perk of buying from this company is that they offer diverse purchasing options like paperbacks with accompanying audio CDs or digital downloads that come with their mobile app. Additional incentives include access to online web activities that correspond to your book and final exit tests to see how much you really understood.

To make it easy on their customers, you can make purchases directly from their website.

Notable books:

  • Molière’s L’Avare” (“The Miser”).

3. CLE International


CLE International is an excellent company that offers graded readers for infants, adolescents and adults. They carry collections ranging in level from A1 through C2 and their subject matter is very diverse.

For example, you can get an otherwise extremely difficult classic like Joseph Bédier’s retelling of “Tristan et Yseut” (“Tristan and Isolde”) at a beginner’s A2 level. Additionally, they offer plenty of textbook-like graded readers that focus on topics like business, food or conversation.

One of the great things about this company is that they also offer supplemental books to help with difficult grammatical rules, phonetics and more, and many of their books include an audio CD.

Customers can place orders directly on their website and they ship to most countries around the world.

Notable books:

4. Eli Graded Readers


This company offers French graded readers and many other languages. They break their selections down into the following extremely specific categories: children (A0, A1, A1.1 and A2), adolescents (A1, A2 and B1) and adults (A1, A2, B1 and B2).

Like the companies above, they offer abridged French classics, like those of Molière, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert and Jules Verne, most of which are accompanied by audio CDs. However, “Eli Graded Readers” also has a wide selection of newer fiction.

As an added bonus, customers have a variety of purchasing options for those of you who prefer digital downloads and books for eReaders.

You can place orders by selecting your country on their sales network page.

Notable books:

5. Easy Readers

Maigret et le clochard. (Lernmaterialien) (French Edition)

Easy Readers offers graded books in all languages and has a particularly large French selection.

You can choose from four different categories: beginner (A1 and A2), elementary (A2), intermediate (A2 and B1) and advanced (B2).

They carry a very diverse collection of genres and subject matter, and base their level selections on factors such as the number and level of vocabulary words in each book.

One of the nice supplements they offer is access to downloadable exercises and exams to accompany your book and test your reading comprehension.

While you can’t order directly from their website, you can check your country’s nearest distributor or search for individual books on Amazon.

  • Georges Simenon’s “Maigret et le clochard” (“Maigret and the Homeless Man”)
  • Marguerite Duras’s “Hiroshima mon amour” (“Hiroshima, My Love”)

Why Learn French with Graded Readers?

Looking through the list, you probably noticed that graded readers aren’t exactly like run-of-the-mill books. They serve very specific purposes for language learners.

So what are their exact benefits?

Reading is very important when learning French since it helps you practice how to spell words and expands your vocabulary. There are plenty of reading options for learning French, such as children’s books which are easier for beginners to understand.

French readers are geared towards those still learning the language. These books can be one of the biggest assets of all when it comes to improving your French. Even more helpful are graded readers, which keep you on track by focusing on individual levels.

Learning with French graded readers has some clear benefits:

  • They are labeled to allow for easy selection. Knowing the language level before you dive into a book means you won’t end up with a story that seems interesting but is either too easy or too difficult for your reading level.
  • They allow you to easily track your progress. They allow you to track your improvement by seeing how long it takes you to move up to the next level.
  • They are specifically designed to improve your French. Each story is told through careful vocabulary and grammar selection geared towards learning the language.
  • They include glossaries to highlight new words and bonus questions at the end of the book. The glossaries help improve your vocabulary while the questions test your reading comprehension and help assess your learning.

Ultimately, French graded readers give you a step-by-step approach to reading in French. As you build up your vocabulary and grammar skills, you’ll be able to take the dive later on into actual French novels and other lengthy, sophisticated texts.

This gradual approach works for pretty much every type of native material.

For example, if watching a whole movie still seems like a challenge, you can start with short French videos on FluentU, which include clips from movies and TV shows, as well as music videos, vlogs, inspirational talks and more.

The program’s interactive subtitles allow you to hover over any word and see its definition and example sentences—similar to the glossaries in graded readers. FluentU also organizes its videos by type, format and difficulty level, making it easy to find engaging videos at your level.

By studying material that’s right for your language level, you can make consistent progress. There are so many options out there, so we are making it easier by presenting you with these five extremely useful graded reader series.


There are a lot of great French graded readers series out there if you only know where to look. Don’t wait to challenge yourself by setting some new reading goals—it’s time to level up!

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