There are many options for beginner-friendly language courses out there, but few are as detailed and comprehensive as the Uncovered series from Olly Richards (I Will Teach You a Language) featuring the StoryLearning method.
In this review I'll be diving into the French version of Uncovered to give you a complete picture of the course.
The other Uncovered courses: German, Spanish, Japanese, and Italian follow the same model so if you liked any of those you're going to love French!
This is very useful for laddering (i.e using your languages to learn a new language with) as you'll recognise elements of the story from the other courses.
Hopefully by the end of this post you will have learnt enough to answer the question: “Can I learn French with French Uncovered?“
Let's dive in.
Who is French Uncovered for?
French Uncovered is a self-study beginner's course. This means you can start this course without any prior knowledge in French.
People with some experience (pre-intermediate) would also find a lot of benefit.
The course corresponds roughly to the CEFR levels of A0-B1. This means complete beginner to lower intermediate in normal, human speak.
Not a beginner? Check out my review of Grammar Hero instead, which is suitable for intermediate learners of French.
The StoryLearning method
What is the StoryLearning method?
Olly Richards always loved learning through books and stories, so when he started creating books and courses himself he used stories as a pivotal part of the products.
Recently he started using the name “StoryLearning” to describe his methodology.
He believes that stories are the best to learn from, as you see the actual language in context. Cognates, vocabulary, and grammar are all easier to learn as they appear together.
The course contains 20 full chapters that all follow the same structure.
In the course you are taught by native speaker Angela Moreno, and Olly Richards himself.
In each chapter you'll be explore a new part of a funny short-story called “The Man in the Hat” or in French: “L'Homme Au Chapeau“
The short story section is available in PDF and MP3, so you can listen to a native speaker reading it out while you follow along in the PDF.
Let's take a closer look into a chapter of the course, and see how the actual learning takes place.
Video: A quick look inside French Uncovered
I'll be going into details about what you can find inside the course in the paragraphs below, but if you prefer you can also check out a short 5 minute video I recorded where I dive into the dashboard:
How each chapter is structured
Here's what you'll be doing in every chapter of French Uncovered, all chapters follow the same structure.
Let's break down each of these lessons:
A brief introduction to the module, as well as what you will learn in the chapter.
2. Read and Listen
In this lesson you'll be going through the next part of the short story “The Man in the hat“
In this lesson, you only read and listen to the French language version of the story.
3. Cognates and Translation
In this lesson you get to see the English translation, and Olly takes you through a video lesson where you discover the most useful cognates of the chapter you just read in the short story.
In this lesson you learn some of the vocabulary that you were just introduced to in the short story.
In this module a few specific grammar points are explained with examples from the text.
In this lesson the course teacher, and native French speaker, Diane comes on and helps you improve a specific part of the French sound system.
This is a bit different to Spanish Uncovered, where most of the teaching is done by Olly himself, and so the Spanish native speaker only appears for the pronunciation sessions.
In French Uncovered Diane is the teacher following you throughout, so you'll hear hear in every lesson as well as the pronunciation lessons.
Being a self-study course, Uncovered doesn't feature any direct interaction with a French-speaking tutor or person.
The course compensates by providing this lesson, which provides a text document you can use to practice what you have learnt with a tutor or speaking partner.
Just bring the document to your tutor, and you'll quickly be practising what you have just learnt!
Finally, the last part of each chapter is a test on how well you have understood the materials. There are also quizzes throughout the course for making sure you understand what's happening in the story.
French Uncovered features a few extra bonuses that you won't see in Spanish Uncovered:
It's nothing extraordinarily valuable, but it's good and useful information nonetheless.
French Uncovered: Price and Guarantee
What does French Uncovered cost?
French Uncovered costs $297 and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
The guarantee allows you to try it, and if you for any reason don't like it, you can get a full refund, no questions asked.
This is a higher price than other beginner courses, but way cheaper than comparable in-person classes (like at the Cervantes Institute)
It's also a lifetime offer, so you don't have to keep paying monthly fees over and over to access the content like other subscription language services.
What I like
- Incredibly comprehensive with 100+ hours of study materials
- Working through the story is fun, and you really feel like you progress as the story gets harder.
- More challenging than other beginner's courses
- Probably the best French beginner's course out there today
- Lifetime access, no subscription required
What I don't like
- It's a significant investment, and might be out of budget for many French learners.
- Doesn't have a way to practice speaking directly, but does provide resources to go over the materials with a tutor or speaker.
In my opinion, French Uncovered is the best French course on the market today. With its interactive and progressive story, combined with practical and relevant video lessons it's got everything you need to learn French to an intermediate level – and more. Highly recommended!
If you follow the instructions and put in the hours, this course will teach you French – without a doubt.
It will take even complete beginners well past the upper beginner levels, if you do the materials according to the instructions.
There's really no reason not to give it a try, as it also comes with a 30 day no-questions asked refund guarantee.
The only people I wouldn't recommend it to are people who are not good at self-studying. You do have to put in the work yourself, and there's no teacher to make sure you actually do the work.
But, if you do and take the time to complete all 20 chapters, I promise you, your French will be amazing.
Questions and Answers
Unfortunately there are no evergreen French Uncovered discounts or coupon codes available.
Olly Richards very rarely discounts his courses, so your best bet is to keep an eye out for the big seasonal sales such as Black Friday. You can, however, get a one-week free trial for French Uncovered using this link.
If you are part of the Actual Fluency email club I always email out when there are big sales you should check out.
It actually teaches both.
The teacher is from France, but each part of the story comes with both France and Canadian French versions!
It's worth noting that both are extremely similar, and you will have no problems being understood wherever you speak French, whether it's Paris or Quebec City.
French Uncovered Reviews
Here is a selection of reviews of French Uncovered, from people who have taken the programme:
“These courses are worth every penny!”
“The French Uncovered course is exceeding all my expectations. You make the grammar section so clear and easy to assimilate. Moving on effortlessly in the stories is pleasureable and quite exhilarating as I understand what I am hearing much more easily.David
“Olly's materials are astounding to me. “
“In all my many years of frustrated foreign-language learning,I never before had access to such comprehensive materials,which in my book are truly inspirational!“Michael
French Uncovered Alternatives
There aren't many comprehensive beginner-friendly French Courses out there that you can use to go from nothing to intermediate in French.
If money is an issue then I would consider looking into FrenchPod101, which you can start using for just a few dollars per month (or check your local library for free courses!)
For free solutions I would use Duolingo, Memrise, or even YouTube! – they are pretty basic, mostly vocabulary-based apps – but they'll get you started nicely.
Other French products by Olly Richards
Conversations French – an intermediate course for practising listening and conversational ability.
Grammar Hero French – an intermediate course on how to learn the most tricky aspects of French grammar, uses the similar story-based format as Uncovered.
Short Stories in French for Beginners: Read for pleasure at your level, expand your vocabulary and learn French the fun way! (Foreign Language Graded Reader Series) (French Edition)
101 Conversations in Simple French: Short Natural Dialogues to Boost Your Confidence & Improve Your Spoken French (101 Conversations in French t. 1) (French Edition)
101 Conversations in Intermediate French: Short Natural Dialogues to Boost Your Confidence & Improve Your Spoken French (101 Conversations in French t. 2) (French Edition)
I hope you enjoyed the Review! Have you tried Uncovered before?
20 High-Quality Lessons
Using StoryLearning, so you work with actual dialogue and a story that has elements of surprise, humour, and character development.
Variety of lesson formats (video, audio, text) and activities so you don't get bored as easily
Great team behind, so you can get any question answered fast
Free trial so you can see if it's for you before buying
It's a sizeable investment at the current price of $297
It revolves around reading a graded story, so if you're not a fan of this (or reading in general) this course might not be for you
Requires self-discipline, as you will not have any direct contact with a teacher
In my opinion, French Uncovered by StoryLearning is the best French self-study course on the market today. With its interactive and progressive story, combined with practical and varied lessons it's got everything you need to learn French to a really good level - and more. Highly recommended!
Kris is the founder of Actual Fluency, and has spent the last 8 years becoming an expert in language learning software, methods, and techniques.
Originally from Denmark, he now lives in Portugal and speaks 5+ languages at varying levels. His other interests are Wine, Online Marketing, and Travelling.