In English, you won't have "s" at the end of "reads" if it were preterit. In French, all tenses are different: lisait, a lu, lira, lirait, avait lu, aura lu, aurait lu, eut lu, lise, etc...
You could look up the conjugation of the verb lire, it will have all the present, past, and future tenses for different pronouns.
Do you know where can I find conjugations for all the verbs? Are they in Duolingo or could you recommend a good site please?
I reported this sentence as incorrect. In France, he would have been reading la carte.
Of course, they're different things. I thought it was misleading. People on this site probably are studying in order to travel in France. To Americans, "la carte" is the menu. When they go to a restaurant, cafe, etc., in the U.S., they ask for a menu to determine what they will order to eat. They may not know that in France that if they want to see a list of a restaurant's offerings, they should ask for "la carte." So, the sentence is literally correct. The boy could be reading the two or three items of le menu. In reality, however, he would probably be reading "la carte."
Actually, in French restaurants, you may ask for "le menu" or "la carte" but you will get the same document with several pages: "le menu du jour" or various "menus" (entrée + plat or plat + dessert or entrée + plat + dessert) with a global price for each, will appear in the book, together with the list of items sold separately (la carte) and most probably the "carte des vins" also. So, no worry for travelers!
definite = defined, specific, special, identified, determined...
- I read the menu (le menu) = the one that is on the table, the one that the waiter handed out to me...
indefinite = not defined, unspecific, uncertain, not identified, undetermined...
- I read a menu (un menu) = all I know it that it is a list of dishes