Practice Texts for German Reading Comprehension:
Intermediate Level and Up
Quick paragraphs to test your students’ German reading comprehension. This page features links to free downloadable worksheets with short intermediate-level reading texts. The texts are usually accompanied by multiple-choice questions to test German reading comprehension. The texts can also be used for other classroom purposes, such as freestyle questions, classroom discussions, role play, dictations etc. Some of the texts on this page are based on longer, bilingual articles on our deutschdrang blog page. If that is the case, additional related activities such as vocabulary or grammar exercises may be available on the blog page.
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Templates for grammatical scavenger hunts that can be performed with almost any reading text of about one page in length can be found here: Grammatical Scavenger Hunts.
B = Beginner / I = Intermediate / A = Advanced
Das arme Sparschwein I (pdf reading comprehension text with focus on dative case)
Das Oktoberfest I (reading text about the history of Octoberfest. Not very difficult, but includes some simple passives and an exercise on passive)
Der Fall der Mauer I (short text about the day the Berlin Wall came down, with questions)
Der Fall der rücksichtslosen Nachbarn I (intermediate-level reading text with comprehension and vocabulary exercise . . . and proof that Germans don’t understand American football).
Der Fischer vom Rheinfall I (intermediate-level legend with questions and exercises on adjective endings, passive, and simple past)
Der Jäger Gracchus I (a shortened version of a story by Franz Kafka, with exercises on vocabulary, comprehension, and two-way prepositions)
Der Krieg der Zahlen I (story about how war broke out between even and odd numbers, with comprehension and comparative/superlative exercise)
Der Reußenstein I (text based on a story by Wilhelm Hauff; with comprehension and vocabulary exercises)
Der weise Schuhu I (online comprehension and vocabulary exercise about the Wilhelm Busch poem “Der weise Schuhu”)
Die drei Linden I / A (online completion exercise; only one of the two options is logically and/or grammatically possible)
Die Eiche und das Schwein B / I (online exercise; short, but the vocabulary is not as easy as it looks)
Die Konservendose I (intermediate-level reading text with completion and vocabulary exercises)
Die Schülertypen I (worksheet about student personalities, mostly about adjectives)
Die Teufelsbrücke I (reading text with vocabulary activities and comprehension questions)
Die Weihnachtsgeschichte: the Biblical Christmas story; online exercise; choose the correct word in each gap. I
Dunkel war’s, der Mond schien helle I (a German “nonsense” poem full of contradictions and illogical statements; pdf format)
Eine alphabetische Ameisen-Anekdote I (reading text, questions, vocabulary exercise; easy grammar but some interesting, unusual vocabulary)
Ein Weihnachtsabend I/A (reading text with vocabulary exercises and an exercise on complex adjective constructions)
Je kleiner, desto feiner I (reading text with LOTS of two-part conjunctive elements like “not only . . . but also” etc.)
Jugendkalender (von Leonhard Diefenbach). This can be done as regular reading comprehension by printing out the text or as a video version. Stop the video after each slide to complete the questions in the worksheet. The vocabulary list can be assigned in advance to prepare students for the vocabulary in the text/video. Januar (video; vocabulary list; questions; answers; text); Februar (pdf worksheet);
Jupiter und das Schaf I (fable by Lessing, with vocabulary and comprehension activities; pdf file)
Kannitverstan I (adapted version of a story by Johann Peter Hebel; with comprehension and vocabulary exercises)
Lebkuchen I (or advanced beginner) (the history of gingerbread and a German gingerbread recipe)
Max und Moritz I (pdf file of the beloved children’s story by Wilhelm Busch, with questions and vocabulary activities).
Nussknacker und Mausekönig I (Nutcracker story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, abbreviated and simplified version). Kapitel 1; Kapitel 2; Kapitel 3; Kapitel 4; Kapitel 5; Kapitel 6; Kapitel 7; Kapitel 8; Kapitel 9; Kapitel 10; Kapitel 11; Kapitel 12; Kapitel 13; Kapitel 14.
VW entschuldigt sich (online exercise about Volkswagen’s official apology for its emissions manipulation)
Wilhelm Tell: digital download. Lesetext aus Friedrich Schillers’ Drama “Wilhelm Tell” + Arbeitsbuch mit vielen zusätzlichen Übungen und Materialien (pdf Dokument, 26 Seiten).
Many excellent short German texts for German reading comprehension, usually with vocab and/or grammar exercises.
Many short German texts with audio, reading comprehension, and vocab exercises
Many short reading texts, with lots of illustrations, to practice reading. No activities, but a good length to use for German reading comprehension.
A couple of short reading texts with vocab from Der Deutschraum.
Large pdf file with various reading texts and exercises created by the Landesschulrat Tirol. Very usable for German as a foreign language.