Read in German! Books, Newspapers, Magazines

When I learn a language I try to read in this language a lot. I noticed that it really helps me to learn a lot of vocab. And it always makes me happy to recognize the words I learned through a book outside of the book later on.
Here are some of my recommendations to read in German, that I always recommend to my students.

Books
Of course it’s easy to get frustrated if you start with a book that is way beyond your level. But there are so many (good) books out there for German Learners that have an adapted level or some help with difficult vocab at the bottom of each page.

  • Short Stories. There is a lot of different books (e.g. this one on amazon) with German Short Stories. I love to read those because they are way more manageable then starting with a whole book.
  • Bilingual books. They usually have the left page in German, and the right page in English (or the other way round). They are amazing, because if there’s any sentence you don’t understand, just peek on the other side. The biggest publisher for this type of books that I know is “DTV zweisprachig”. Here’s a list of their books. They have different levels to choose and a variety from crime stories, short stories, Alice in Wonderland or Benjamin Button and so on. You might like especially “Germany and the awful German Language” from Mark Twain :wink:
  • True stories. I love to read books about things that actually happened so I learn something about the culture or the historical background, too. My favs in German, that are also made for German Learners (here for an A2/B1 level) are: “Sophie Scholl. Die weiße Rose”, about siblings that were part of an anti-nazi movement and “Albert Einstein”.

Newspapers

  • NachrichtenLeicht. A great and free homepage, that gets updated once a week. It covers the most recent German news, cultural topics and even sports - everything made for Level A2 - B2.
  • Deutsche Welle. Most recent German news, updated everyday and very detailed. I’d recommend it from Level B1/B2 on.

Magazines
“Deutsch Perfekt” is by far my fav magazine to learn German. It always covers very interesting and up to date topics, combined with lots of cultural background. It’s published once a month and has texts marked as A2, B1 or B2/C1. The most important / difficult words are underlined in the text and you can find them (explained in German, so you stay in the language!) at the bottom of the page.

What do you enjoy reading?
I’m very curious about what you guys like to read! :slight_smile:

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Thanks Janina! Those are great recommendations!

I agree that reading is great to learn new words and structures. What I love doing is read a book that I already know in my language or in English. My personal favorite is Harry Potter! I read them in French, English and Spanish, and I am just waiting to be a little bit better in German to start them over again :grin:

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I am looking forward to reading some of these book suggestions, Janina!

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Another idea I got from a friend of mine is playing scrabble. That’s how he learned english. A board game is of course a bit old school and you need somebody to play with, but maybe you enjoy it?
As for movies in German, I’ld start with the cartoons. Went for example to see Pets 2 in English with a friend who says her English is only good enough for Cartoons…not that mine is much better lol.
And the really advanced German speakers might like to see a play in German?..in case you happen to be in Berlin you could go here:


The guys are really funny, even if you don’t get that much. The little theatre struggles to exist, so don’t wait too long…

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This was definitely me when I picked up Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen for the first time. Was hard to get past doing more than a page or two a day.

That’s when I discovered so-called Graded Readers, which are stories for adults, but which are written for language learners of various levels. More often than not, they include an audio book alongside, so that you can listen to the text while you read it.

I’ve had good luck with a series called Leo & Co., which you can find published by either Langenscheidt or Klett. They are 40-50 pages long (in big text), have loads of pictures, and include about 10 pages of discussion questions at the end of each book. If you just search the series name on goodreads or a bookseller’s website, you’ll probably find a bunch of them pretty quick. Here’s a bunch I found quickly by googling: https://www.klett-sprachen.de/leo-und-co/r-1/159#reiter=titel

Speaking of things with pictures, I just bought a series of comic books from the Swiss artist Jared Muralt, who does a series called The Fall. The art in them is amazing and they’re pretty easy to understand. You can buy them in German and/or English. Check his stuff out here: https://shop.blackyard.ch/shop/view/the-fall-kapitel-1-3/books

Beyond that, for news I listen to Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten which is put out every day by Deutsche Welle (DW) and includes transcripts, so you can read along with what they’re saying. When I’ve got time, I try to do dictations, where I type out what the host is saying and then compare it to the transcript after; this can be super frustrating, but I think it’s helping with my listening & writing skills. You can find them in pretty much any podcast aggregator (like Pocket Casts).

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Nice suggestions @neilgrey! I am looking forward to checking some of these out!

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Scrabble is an interesting idea. One of my students told me that she likes to do crosswords to improve on German vocabulary.

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Thanks all for your suggestions! Like @neilgrey I can only recommend reading comics. While many traditional books can feel overwhelming in German , comics are almost always way easier to read! They’re more engaging and the pictures often help to understand the meaning of words you may not know :slight_smile:

Here’s 3 that I can suggest.

1 - Der kleine Prinz (Joann Sfar): Adapted from the famous french short story, this is quite easy to understand, especially - but not only - if you’ve read it in your own language before.

2 - Venus Transit (Hamed Eshrat): about an average 30yo guy in Berlin, and taking place between spätis and clubs… Easy to relate with for the Berlin expats.

3 - Ich weiß (Birgit Weyhe): This compiles a few short stories about the author’s memories growing up as a kid between Uganda, Kenia, Tanzania, and Germany. Reading childhood stories often means that the vocabulary is simpler and you’ll feel more comfortable with some situations. While, in this instance, probably discovering new worlds and cultures.

And finally, any comics you may have been familiar with or grown up with - for me, that’s Tintin (Tim und Struppi in German), and Asterix.

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I like the books by german author Nele Neuhaus. They are not very difficult to read but entertaining and they take place in the área where I am from :slight_smile: they are also called Taunus Krimis. Taunus = the area around Frankfurt am Main

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Great suggestions Jeancome. My old Latin teacher tried to inspire us for the language with Asterix Comics in Latin
…well, that didn’t work very well for some reason ? :thinking::wink:
What I just remembered that I also tried to learn English by translating song lyrics.
Maybe that’s also an idea for trying to learn German? Here’s a short selection of what you could listen to:



…I spare you from more of my German music tipps :joy::rofl::sweat_smile:
And of course… @correctionswelcome
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A post was split to a new topic: Games To Play in German

How should be read German books? Should i look the meaning of every words, that i dont know? Or should i continue to read?

Hi @alpdemir_49

I think that is a question of personal preference/ I, personally always looked up every word that I did not understand and wrote it down in a little notebook. Quite time consuming but I found it was a great way of remembering and knowing where to look up certain expressions.
Have a great rest of the week :smiley:

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Firstly, thanks for your answer. Secondly, i have some problems about writing down. how can u make notes? what is your system? I know it is a personal prefence, too. :smiley:

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I think it depends highly

  • on your level of German and the level of the book (how many unknown words are there?)
  • the unknown word itself.

For me, it has always been crucial that the book I’m starting to read is adapted to my level. Otherwise, I would be overwhelmed and tired of looking up words after half a page. Depending on how many words I don’t know on a page, I only focused on the words that I thought are important for the story so I don’t lose the thread.

Let me give you an (exaggerated) example: Eine lange, kalte, finstere Nacht
In this case, if you already know lang & kalt, but not finster, you already understood the context and it’s very likely that you can just keep on reading, without interrupting your reading flow, and without missing out on something super important for the story. In the beginning, I would do that often. However, if it’s the first word in three pages that I don’t know - I’m usually curious to look it up :slight_smile:

My favorite books to start with were always the ones with some vocabulary help at the bottom of the page. If the most important and difficult words are underlined in the text and you can find them (explained in German, so you stay in the language!) at the bottom of the page. This was not only handy, but helped me to focus on the most important words.

My latest discovery: The e-book reader!
Now, in the languages in which I’m more advanced, I learned to love my e-book reader. You can download a dictionary function, so for any ebook, when you tap on a word it either shows you the explanation/definition in your target language, the translation, or even a Wikipedia article. Wikipedia turned out to be more helpful than I imagined in the beginning, because often when I read books from authors that are from other countries I’m not familiar with things that are commonplace for them.

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Great advice! I am now trying to take on some books in German that I’d read in English in school growing up during my commute in the train. I’ve been keeping my cell phone in front of me with a dictionary app, but I keep reading as long as I understand the meaning. It is difficult because they are older books and not written in… modern German. I find myself looking up more often nouns because like your example above there are usually “context clues” to help with adjectives if you’re following the story.

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