First reader book series in French

In this article, first and early reader book series for young children to learn to read in French.

Finding books for children to first read independently can be quite tricky. You need books that will spark their interest, have complex enough stories to interest them yet simple enough vocabulary to not discourage them too quickly. For multilingual families, finding those books while not necessarily being immersed in the school system can be difficult. 

First reader book series in French

Below I have selected our favourite first reader series of books. Each of these series offer a large selection of stories. So if your child likes one of them, you know you can keep going. Most of these are inexpensive little books that you can easily get shipped also. 

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1. Sami et Julie


J'apprends avec Sami et Julie. This is our very favourite series. The books are simple, engaging and fun.

It is mostly based on phonics or syllabic method of reading. Each book clearly highlights what sounds kids need to know before they can read it and the progression is clearly set out and easy. There are 3 levels (Niveau 1/2/3 CP) for the first school year (it mostly follows the French school system and its trimesters). I loved that it had books recommended for beginning, middle and end of year (making it really clear for parents as to what fits best). The stories are not very complex but they are interesting enough for kids around 6 years old. Boys and girls alike will like most of the stories and the topics are varied enough to find something that will fit your child's interest. I think my son has read the whole collection between our home books and what his teacher lent him. In my opinion, these are some of the easiest ones to start with. My son read Super Sami as his first ever book and absolutely loved it. 


2. Je suis en CP

Je suis en CP is another series of books for early readers in their first year of school. Most of the books deal with things that happen at school, making it relevant and fun for young learners. Another positive point of these books is that the characters are quite diverse and represent a typical French classroom (in their names at least). That is something I liked as it was not necessary the case in the other book series. Once again, the books are classified in 3 groups of difficulty. We did find that those were more difficult to read than the previous series (Sami et Julie) though. There is more text on each page (at the same level) which can be quite daunting for some children. My son liked them nonetheless. We just did not start with these. You can find these books here



3. Regarde je lis

The adventures of Mila and Noe. Fun and simple books following the adventures of two friends. The books are also geared towards children in their first school year and divided in three reading levels. As for the previous series, we found them a little more complex than the Sami and Julie series but still as much fun. my son loved the suspense in some of the books and couldn't wait to turn the pages. You can find most books here


4. Nathan Premieres Lectures

These books are a little different. They are made to be read in pairs: adult and child together. The adults reads most of the story and the child inserts a sentence (or reads the speech bubbles) here and there. It is a fun way to learn to read. My son was never into that kind of books, but my oldest loved them when she was younger. Here is an example of the kind of book. There are also 3 main reading levels. my children found the stories a little less relatable than some of the others. Many were about animals or with animal characters. If you have an animal lover, this is for them. 


5. Poussin - Milan Poche

My children never got hooked on those as I think the stories were a little too babyish for them. But if you have a child who is starting to read when younger (before 6 years old), then these are great fun. Also based on a syllabic method of reading (phonics), the stories are simple and knowledge needed to read is clearly visible for parents. This is the first level of reading. Next level will be Benjamin Milan Poche. This second series is a lot of fun and my daughter absolutely loved them when she was little older (end of first grade/ second grade).


Can you recommend other first reader series? Are there other books your children loved when they first learnt to read in French?

First reader books in French


If you are looking for more book recommendations for young readers in French, take a look at our awesome selection of graphic novels


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