This is something I have been using with my core French classes for 3 years now. Students have found it useful when breaking down large text.
I ask them to simply go through the text one paragraph at a time and find the words they know already that they've heard/read/written in the past and plug them in to the "Mots Connus" category.
If they see any words that look similar in French and in English (chocolat, intéressant, fantastique, famille etc.) they will plug these words in the "Mots Amis" category, in other words "friendly" words. They might not have seen these words before or know them, but because they are similar in English, they most likely will mean the same thing (unless it's something like 'demander'). This helps them translate and understand text on their own one sentence at a time.
Any words they are seeing for the first time and do not look similar to anything in English, they will place in "Mots Inconnus" and look up its definition. They can also just place it in their "Dictionnaire Personnel".
Hope it helps!