I would like to read the French stories Duo has, but I don't think my vocabulary is extensive enough yet. At what level should I be or how many words should I know to read the beginning stories? Thanks.
I think that you definitely need a highER level, but you don't need to be extremely advanced. I'm over halfway through my third year learning French in school, and I can read the stories all right. (Some are easier than others; the first one is really easy, while other ones might be more difficult simply because it's just new vocabulary. Vocab is tough because it's pretty much pure memorization.) I think that, if you are at a somewhat comfortable level with reading it, then the stories are great for listening, reading comprehension, and learning French slang. If you need help, someone made some vocabulary sets for some stories (not sure if there's every one), so you can use it to practice.
LINK FOR SETS: https://tinycards.duolingo.com/search?query=french%20story FIRST STORY VOCAB SET: https://tinycards.duolingo.com/decks/4vxwUihG/pain-au-chocolat-du-matin
I also made my own because I was inspired by your post. (More to come in the future.) https://tiny.cards/decks/7St8HdCb/fr-story-1-1-pain-au-chocolat-du-matin
I have the same issue here with German stories. I generally scrape up all the knowledge I have and use translations the best I can. You probably need to be somewhat good at the language you are learning (in this case French) to be able to read the stories without using the translation too much.