Category Archives: reading

German fairy tales – read, watch and listen

German fairy tales are not the best solution for totally beginners, however, it’s worth trying reading or listening to their easier versions (see below). They are ideal for learners who would like to improve their vocabulary and have great imagination and love to read, listen or watch fantasy genre at the same time. We are talking here about stories and films which were written or made by Germans. The plot is always great, the films are of highly quality and you will enjoy watching them.


If you would like to READ fairy tales, then feel free to take advantage of the following possibilities:

Reading – EASY language:

  1. Literatur in einfacher Sprache – when you are there just click on the Märchen box on the left hand side menu. These texts have been adjusted for kids with hearing impairment.
  2. Goethe Institute has adjusted 12 most popular Grimm fairy tales for learners:  Grimms Märchen zum Lesen

Reading – “NORMAL” language:

Autenrieths Linkbibliothek für Lerner und Schüler (when you are there, just click on any of the provided links and chose a fairy tale that you would like to read).


Listening – EASY language:

Grimms Märchen zum Hören: Goethe Institute has also provided a possibility for learners to listen to fairy tales. They are between 3 and 16 minutes long.

Listening – “NORMAL” language:

You can listen to Grimms Märchen as radio dramas too.  When you are on that web page, just click on the links in the right hand side menu.  


If you would rather WATCH films, there are two possibilities for you:

My favourite source of German fairy tales: Fairy Tales in the ARD Mediathek

Another valuable source of fairy tale films can be found here: Märchen TV (this is actually a real fairy tale TV!)


Materials provided by Goethe Institute that you can use for your classes can be found here: Märchen im Unterricht. You can find many other interesting stuff there. Just look at the tabs at the top of the page!


German Proverbs

Gleich und Gleich gesellt sich gern.

Wer rastet, der rostet. 

Ein blindes Huhn findet auch mal ein Korn.

Was der Mensch sät, das wird er ernten.

Wer anderen eine Grube gräbt, fällt selbst hinein.

Wer hat die Wahl, hat die Qual.

Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen.

Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute.

Ein jeder ist seines Glückes Schmied.

Alle guten Dinge sind drei.

Morgenstunde hat Gold im Munde.

Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm.

Would you like to read Quotes in German or Jokes about Chuck Norris in German?

FOR TEACHERS: For ideas about how you could create your own worksheets and exercises related to this or any other topic click here.

If you are wondering how you could practice this or any other vocabulary with your students click here.

Additional useful online applications that could help you in your daily work can be found here.


A perfect way to learn German is to read short stories. You don’t have to spend any money in order to read a good story because there is a web page that offers various stories in a form of PDF files and readings. In order for you to navigate to that web page just click here. if you wish to download a PDF file with about 10 stories written by famous German writers click here.


Easy reading in German

Author: Jadranka Bokan

Good way to improve your German is to read stories, books and newspapers in German, online or in print.


1) Nachrichten in leichter Sprache (A1-A2 )

The “Augsburger Allgemeine” journal was so kind to provide us with online news in easy language which is at the A2 and above level. Every Friday new texts are being published – for people with difficulties in learning and those who do not speak German well. The letters are large, every difficult word is explained, sentences are short and mages can help you understand the text better.

Looking for a German teacher? Learn German with me!

2) Easy stories (A2)

This is a site with easy stories, so called “Schwänke” (amusing stories). Enjoy!

3) Picture books (at different levels, with sound)

This is a web page with stories in 3 different levels (easy, medium, hard) and in 8 different languages.  It was created for kids who are starting to read. Also, it aims at kids who learn German as a foreign language (second language). All texts have been edited so that beginners do not have any comprehension problems.

4)  Short stories as videos with subtitles

If you prefer the “text + sound + video” combination – then this is the right thing for you. These videos with subtitles are showing easy stories and are interesting for children.

5) Liebe auf Deutsch

This story was writen by David Fermer – and it is not an ordinary story. It has multiple endings. It contains several short episodes (about 10 sentences long) and a question at the end of them – making you the one who will decide how the story is going to continue. And another  advantage: you can read it online.

6) Quora in German (A2 and above)

You should learn and practice a foreign language with topics that interest you the most. Quora in German is a perfect place for that. Language is not that difficult and you can read through other people’s answers to questions that could be interesting for you.

7)  Funky –  die Jugendredaktion der Funke Mediengruppe (A2 and above)

You will find here articles that were written by young journalists (kids). They write for their peers so you can expect vivid topics and interesting texts! They are grouped by categories: how we live, how we feel, what we like etc.

8) Deutsch auf die Schnelle

This is a section on the Alumniportal Deutsch and contains texts that are given in two versions – at the A2 and B2 level (the same text is given at these two levels).

9) Children’s stories  

These stories have been translated into German, you can however read their English translation too and hear a slow audio from a native German speaker. They are great for kids but also for the adults!

There are two extra stories for you from this edition:



Goldloeckchen und die drei Baeren


10) Easy German grammar stories (A2 and above)

Do you struggle with noun gender in German? You don’t have to! My friend Thomas Gerstmann has written easy stories consisting of basic masculine / feminine / neuter nouns! One book for each gender! Isn’t it ingenius? There is also one book that deals with Konjunktiv 2 and verbs that require prepositions. You can order your copy here:  

11) All books from the edition Leo & Co. are at the level A1 (A1.2. – A 2.1.). They have been published by Langenscheidt. I recommend them very much. The stories are not too long, they contain many every day words, which is very important, and plenty of exercises at the end of each book. Here are three examples: Leo & Co. Die PrinzessinLeo & Co. Ein HundelebenLeo & Co. Das schnelle Glück. You can order your copy in the window at the bottom of this page.


12) Easy books published by Cornelsen are generally not that good as the above edition (Leo & Co.), published by Langenscheidt. However, I could recommend Die Überraschung. It is at the A2/B1 level and it is interesting because of its rich plot which is similar to soup operas, however, surprisingly, not that hollow. You can order your copy in the window at the bottom of this page.


13) 11 Humorous Short Stories in German for Beginners & Intermediate Level. My colleagues teachers recommend these stories because they are short and funny.  You can order your copy in the window below. For the Kindle version click here: German Short Stories for Beginners & Intermediate Level: 11 Humorous Short Stories to Grow Your German Language Skills, Vocabulary & Learn German the Easy Way (Lernen Sie Deutsch) (English Edition)

Looking for a German teacher? Learn German with me!

14) Among books for children, my favourite is Die kleine Hexe. You definitely need to be at the A2 level in order to be able to read this book because it is full of Imperfekt. This is an “old-timer” among books for children and the best-seller of all times. It follows adventures of a little witch and it teaches kids what are the good values in life. You can order your copy in the window below.

15) which is a publishing house specialized for “easy” books. Those books are good for native speakers who have some reading problems or for foreign learners.  They offer best-seller novels, short stories, detective stories, classics etc. that have been adjusted to different language levels (A2 – B1). Just scroll to the bottom of their home page and browse through the assortment.

Quotes in German

“Wege entstehen dadurch, dass man sie geht.” (Franz Kafka)

“Lebe jeden Tag, als wäre es Dein letzter. Irgendwann wirst du Recht behalten.” (Muhammad Ali)

“Nur wer sein Ziel kennt, findet den Weg.” (chinesische Weisheit)

“Die Welt gehört denen, die zu ihrer Eroberung ausziehen, bewaffnet mit Sicherheit und guter Laune.” (Charles Dickens)

“Ohne Salz und Brot kann es auch kein gutes Gespräch geben.” (Russisches Sprichwort)

Would you like to read German proverbs?

“Wer sichere Schritte tun will, muss sie langsam tun.” (Johann Wolfang von Goethe)

“Freundschaft ist wie Heimat!” (Kurt Tucholsky)

“Mein großer Motivator ist der Spaß an der Arbeit, am Erfolg.” (Siegfried Luther)

“Der zuverlässigste Weg, die Zukunft zu sehen, ist das Verstehen der Gegenwart.” (John Naisbitt, amerikanischer Prognostiker)

“Was wir mit Freude lernen, vergessen wir nie.” (Alfred Mercier)

Want to read easy German online and in print?

“Nicht die Welt macht diese Menschen, sondern diese Menschen machen die Welt.” (Elfriede Hable)

“Die Hauptaufgabe des Lehrers ist nicht, Bedeutungen zu erklären, sondern an die Tür des Geistes zu klopfen.” (Rabindranath Tagore)

“Zu oft geben wir unseren Kindern Antworten, die sie behalten sollen, anstatt Aufgaben, die sie lösen sollen.” (Roger Lewin)

“Fremde sind Freunde, die man nur noch nicht kennengelernt hat.” (Marie v. Ebner-Eschenbach)

“Ideen regieren die Welt.” (James A. Garfield)

“Erfolg kommt dann, wenn du tust, was du liebst.”

“Beziehungsstatus: der gewünschte Partner ist zur Zeit nicht verfügbar.”

“Alter ist unwichtig, es sei denn du bist Käse.” (Helen Hayes, Schauspielerin)

“Das ist mir genau so egal, als ob in China ein Sack Reis umfällt.”

“Schönheit liegt im Auge des Betrachters.”

“Keine Droge ist für Kinder so gefährlich, wie Eltern, die zu wenig darüber wissen.” (Steffen Geyer, Hanfaktivist)

“Der kürzeste Weg zu dir selbst führt einmal um die Welt.” (Richard Hoffmann, deutscher Fotograf)

“Auch der weiteste Weg beginnt mit einem ersten Schritt.” (Konfuzius)

“Das Beherrschen von Sprachen und das Kennen der Kulturen wird eine wachsende Qualifikation sein.” (Lutz von Rosenstiel, Professor für Psychologie).

“Es genügt nicht, an den Fluss zu kommen, nur mit dem Wunsch, Fische zu fangen. Man muss auch das Netz mitbringen.” (Chinesisches Sprichwort)

“Der Mensch soll lernen, nur die Ochsen büffeln.” (Erich Kästner)

“Vergnügen ist ein wesentliches lebensantreibendes Motiv, es ist lehrreich, angenehm und so gut wie unerlässlich.” (Lord Yehudi Menuhin)

“Auskennen muss man sich in der Welt, das ist die Hauptsach’ …” (Johann Nepomuk Nestroy)

“Gedanken wollen oft… dass man mit ihnen im Freien spazieren geht.” (Christian Morgenstern)

“Ich möchte Weltbürger sein, überall zu Hause…” (Erasmus von Rotterdam)

“Kein Weg ist lang, mit einem Freund an der Seite.” (Japanische Weisheit)

“Was der Sonnenschein für die Blumen ist, das sind lachende Gesichter für die Menschen.” (Joseph Addison)

“Zwei Dinge sollen Kinder von ihren Eltern bekommen: Wurzeln und Flügel.” (Goethe zugeschrieben)

“Wahre Erziehung bedeutet zu lernen, wie man denkt, nicht was man man denkt.” (Krishnamurti)

“Wenn du Teenager unterrichten kannst, kannst du jede Zielgruppe unterrichten.” (Michael Grinder)

Here goes to jokes in German.