You’ve been learning German for a while. Now you want to read newspapers and watch news broadcasts. But whenever you try to do that, you can’t understand much of anything.
Don’t give up! There’s German news out there that’s relatively simple and that can help you get started understanding media.Here are seven sources to ease you into reading and listening to news without becoming overwhelmed. Try them all out. Some may feel too hard for where you’re at right now. Some too easy. Just keep chipping away, and soon you’ll be handling these all with ease.
1. DW Top Thema
Deutsche-Welle is a goldmine of German language learning materials. Whenever someone mentions DW news, it’s usually in reference to their Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten (slowly spoken news). However, their Top Thema is much easier to understand. It’s news that’s written in simple language and geared toward B1 (intermediate) learners. It also contains an audio file of an announcer reading the text, which is really useful.
This is news for kids, provided as articles, videos, and podcasts. It’s put out by the TV network ZDF and updated at least a couple times a week. To explain complex issues to children, Logo runs explanatory cartoons, which I benefit from as well.
3. Deutsch Perfekt Nachrichten
Blog reader Hitri made me hip to Deutsch Perfekt, a magazine for German learners. (Thanks, Hitri!) It has a news section, with articles labelled as easy, medium, and hard. Tip: Click each category link (Panorama, Kultur, Sport, etc.) for a pretty good sized selection of archived articles.
4. Mary Glasgow Plus – German – News
Mary Glasgow is another magazine for language learners. It’s put out by Scholastic and is available in several languages. Two tips. First, click the News-Archiv link at the bottom to get archived articles from the past couple months. Second, all of the articles have an easy version and a slightly more difficult version. In the body of the article, look for the link that says “Diesen Artikel auf einem anderen Niveau lesen” (Read this article at another level) to select your difficulty.
5. Huffington Post – Deutschland
You’ve probably heard of the Huffington Post. Well, there’s a German version. On huffpost.de, some of the articles from the American version have been translated into Deutsch, but many articles are written specifically for the German crowd. Be careful here, because some of the articles are extremely difficult. But the clickbait-like posts are easy to comprehend, and most of the opinion articles (i.e., rants) are written using plain language but with a twinge of journalistic style.
Nachrichtenleicht could be translated as”News Light” or “Easy News,” so it definitely deserves a spot on this list. It’s updated pretty often and the writing is easy to understand. Each article also has an audio component: someone reading the article aloud, slowly. In my opinion, the reading pace is too slow and the audio component is difficult to sit through. The written articles themselves, though, are a fantastic.
Sowieso is another kids’ news program. Unlike the other program on this list, Logo, Sowieso doesn’t have any audio components. The articles themselves, though, are great and are updated very regularly. They also cover a wide variety of subjects, ranging from world news to sports reports.
I know I left some off. (And some favorite light-reading publications, like Bild, were left off on purpose since I don’t find them particularly easy.) Are there any I missed that you like? Let me know in the comments!