Below is a compiled list of Korean reading resources I’ve personally used at some point and would endorse for reading practice. I’ve sorted it by category and more loosely by ascending difficulty.
At lower levels you will be limited to resources created specifically for learners. Which means content from TTMIK, Howtostudykorean and Koreanclass101 will form an important part of your overall reading resources. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t branch out to other resources, you just have to keep in mind the advantage of these particular resources is their simpler vocabulary and avoidance of complex sentence structures.
How to study korean short stories series. This is probably the easiest story series I know of. It is written for learners with limited vocabulary and grammar. You’ll also use their website countless times in your studies, so forking up $10 goes to a good cause.
The next couple are all from TalktomeinKorean.com. They all serve as great reading material for low intermediate to intermediate.
TTMIK Iyagi. Enough said. If I had to choose the best resource available online, this would be it. And it’s free. Follow the link and scroll down to the listening & speaking section.
TTMIK Real life conversations. Like the title suggests, this product contains conversations that mimic how Korean people would actually talk to each other. You can learn a lot of natural vocabulary and phrases from this.
TTMIK Story time – Kind of like Iyagi, except it’s one person telling a story. It comes with the Korean and English scripts. Stories are interesting and its a great way to pick up new vocabulary.
TTMIK New in Korean. Written in the form of very short news articles. Uses vocabulary and grammar you would see in actual news articles. This is probably the hardest of the TTMIK products and would be suitable for up to upper intermediate level.
KoreanClass101.com’s advanced blogs. These are similar to TTMIK’s Iyagi but I found Korean101 topics were generally more interesting than TMMIK topics. They label these lessons advanced but I think can suit anyone from intermediate level onwards. Unfortunately, the transcript is available only to subscribing members but I think it is certainly worth at least a one month subscription whilst you download all the transcripts. Shh… don’t tell anyone I said to do that.
A short stories series called “Korean reading for foreigners“. It is aimed at “covering the gap between beginners and advanced learners”. The stories are folk tales written in simple language for learners. See link to goto the bookstore site. You can buy them individually for about $8USD, although at the time of writing (June 2018) they are on discount for $4USD. There is an Ebook version available as well
Some other books I read and recommend. Again, follow links to goto the bookstore.
Alice in wonderland, Heidi, 반기문 biography for children, 진짜가 된 가짜
If you’re looking for something longer and more challenging Harry Potter would be an obvious candidate, or even Twilight. As a learner I personally prefer short stories over Novels because I think I would get very bored of reading the same book for too long.
For some more difficult short story type of books I would recommend
These are web comics on the Naver website. There is an absurd range to choose from. Below are my personal preferences. These are fairly popular and were also recommended to me by Koreans on Hellotalk. They can be found on the Naver webtoons site, or you can follow through the links I’ve provided below.
유미의 세포들 (Yumi’s brain cells). If you’ve heard about Pixar’s Inside Out, this is kind of like that. Theres all these brain cells that represent different functions of 유민’s personality and creates a light-hearted and funny webtoon.
타인은 지옥이다 (Other people are hell). A male in his early 20’s leaves his home town and goes into Seoul for work. He moves into a very small 고시원 and has to deal with the weird people who live there. On top of that he has to cope with a new job that he knows very little about. This one is a bit morbid but very addictive.
놓지마 정신줄 (Don’t lose your mind). Not sure how to even explain what this is. Read the first episode, its really funny.
기기괴괴 (Strange strange). Similar to the twilight zone. The first story is about a rumor of this place you can go to in your dream and kill people, and will end up killing them in real life. Like 타인은 지옥이다 this one is quite morbid, but also very addictive.
네이트 판. It’s kind of like Reddit? Depending on your age and preferences there a lot of different “subs” you can go into. The general premise is one person writes and uploads a personal story about their work, relationship, life, or anything really, and other users can comment and provide their thoughts in the form of comments. Some popular subs are the relationship and family ones. It’s really good because its written often quite casually and that isn’t something you can get easy exposure to from more formal resources.
세바시. The Korean version of TEDTalks. Not technically a reading resource but there are many many videos provided with Korean and English subs. The important thing I want to note is that in the videos with Korean subtitles it provides the email address of the person who subbed it. I’ve on occasion, for videos I really enjoyed, emailed that person requesting the subtitle script for educational purposes and they’ve often sent it to me.
Drama scripts. You can treat this as a purely reading exercise, or you can keep it alongside while you’re actually watching it. You can find them by googling “drama name” + “대본/대사”. Often they’ll come in the form of an “hwp” file format which you’ll need a website like this to convert into PDF. For example the script for 도깨비.
Brunch. If you’ve ever heard of Reader’s Digest, this is basically that. Theres a lot of interesting articles you can browse through. One of the recent articles talks about why Korean people are getting angry because the subtitles for the Infinity Wars movie was done poorly.
Childrens new article website. Written for Korean children and is an ok introduction into actual news articles.
Insight news website. I think this is the easier news website. Although I also think it is a bit on the trashier side, but hey, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading trashy entertainment article if you’re learning Korean!
2 thoughts on “Compilation of reading resources”
What a great list of ressources! Your website really proves to be the most helpful I’ve seen so far. Thank you!
Have you ever looked at the Korean from Zero! course? It seems to be popular and I wonder whether its worth taking it as “main course”, while using other ressources for additional learning.
Thanks for the kind words it gives me motivation to write some more things!
I heard some good things about Korean from zero although I never tried it. Some people say it is as good as ttmik. If you like their free stuff then maybe spending some money could be worth it.