Do you just love reading?
Wish you could combine your passion for the written word with your Korean studies?
Well, lucky you. You absolutely can!
Whether you’re just getting started or simply looking for a solution to read in Korean more frequently, your best bet is to turn to Korean short stories.
Not sure how to go about it or where to find them?
Then read on.
We’ve rounded up the best online resources to help you continue your Korean journey with a variety of easy, memorable short stories.
Why Read Easy Korean Short Stories?
- They have simple plots and vocabulary. This makes it easy for you to focus on what matters to you as a Korean learner: the writing. The more you read, the more capable you’ll become at making quick progress in Korean and familiarizing yourself with a variety of Korean words, idioms and structures.
- They stimulate your imagination. What makes easy Korean short stories special is that they take you to a fantasy world created just for you by their authors.
They’ll also take your mind away from the process of studying, enabling you to learn more naturally. This makes reading short stories a pleasant experience with positive, long-lasting outcomes for your Korean skills.
- They’re rooted in Korean culture. Storytelling, through the tradition of 판소리 (pansori), or musical storytelling, is part of Korean folklore. In pansori, the narrator usually blends singing with the narrative to give the story more emotional impact.
The art of telling stories is intrinsic to the Korean lifestyle. Keep the tradition alive by reading stories in Korean!
How to Learn Korean with Easy Short Stories
- Opt for stories that you already know and read them in Korean. This will make it easier for you to focus on language, grammar and new vocabulary acquisition. A great place to start looking is Korean sites or publishing houses that focus on children’s literature, since they often translate iconic Western stories, myths and fables.
- Write down new words and structures. This may seem tedious at first, and if you wish to not break up the flow of your reading, simply use a pencil or highlighter to mark difficult vocabulary and come back to it when you read the story a second time. Then, note the words in a notepad, search for them in your dictionary and try to memorize them before giving this story a third read. (This article lists some great Korean dictionary apps to complement your studies.)
You’ll quickly find that this keeps the process engaging and productive!
- Create a routine. Make reading these stories a habit and don’t be afraid to set a fixed time every day to read them. If you’re a working professional with limited time, try to read at night when your work is completed and when you have plenty of time to relax.
Look at dead time in your schedule and turn it into productive time. Start reading while riding the subway, waiting at the dentist’s office or when stuck at home waiting for a delivery.
- Read stories in chunks of two or three. Especially if you’re just getting started with Korean short stories, reading them can be daunting and seem overwhelming. The best way to make this activity more manageable is to split them into sections and read them over multiple sessions. This makes them more digestible and will help you to build excitement about the stories you’re reading.
And if you can’t wait for the next session to read the next chunk, by all means, don’t resist!
9 Sites Full of Easy Korean Short Stories You’ll Never Forget
This colorful site gathers lots of fascinating short stories that are incredibly easy to follow and understand, no matter how old or advanced in your Korean studies you are. Finding fun, friendly animated characters, modern graphics and, in the vein of pansori, catchy songs, you’ll discover original stories about animals, life and the past.
The site offers free and premium stories. If you’re not able to use a Korean social security number and create a login, stick to the free materials. There are enough to keep you busy. The site doesn’t allow us to embed links other than to the homepage, so to find easy short stories, simply click on the 동화 (children’s story) icon on the home page header. This is the sixth icon from the left. Short stories are displayed as a gallery.
There are some great choices in there. Don’t miss out on “로미오와 줄리엣” (Romeo and Juliet), Shakespeare’s most famous love story, and “엄지공주” (Thumbelina), that uplifting fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
쥬니어 네이버 (Junior Naver)
This fantastic library of accessible and diverse Korean short stories aggregates the best content from the Korean Internet to facilitate your search and keep you on track with your reading. Highly visual, fun and easy to navigate, the entirely free site lets you access hundreds of original and famous short video stories in Korean, perfect for improving your listening skills.
Find popular stories and modern life stories, or opt for classic and traditional Korean stories.
If you wish to focus on the language rather than the storytelling, head on over to the Aesop’s fables section for a taste of these Western classics in Korean!
Videos average five minutes per clip, making them easy to fit into even the busiest study schedule. You’ll absolutely love the short stories that are uploaded there.
We can’t get enough of “여우와 신포도” (The Fox and the Grapes), one of Aesop’s stories, and “며느리 방귀” (The Farting Daughter-in-law), an endearing traditional Korean story about a diligent daughter-in-law whose uncontrollable tendency puts her in awkward situations.
채널예스 (Channel Yes)
This is a great site to find some interesting, original, animated and easy short Korean stories. Simply go to 한글 동화 (Korean children’s story) to retrieve the selection and be prepared for some exciting content.
Like Naver, this is a place to find video short stories, but the best part about them is that each video is accompanied by a brief blurb describing the story. In addition to providing an overview of the storyline, this is a great helper to identify key vocabulary and characters before you dive in.
Navigating the site from the above section is incredibly easy, as you have the option to browse stories by theme, such as 명작 (classic) and 생활 (life). Simply click on the buttons from the section header to display a more refined selection.
You’ll enjoy this comical animal story about a friendly bear with a pressing natural need, and “우리 가족의 비밀” (Our Family Secret), a story based on the children’s book by Park Ji-yeong, about a curious girl who plays detective to learn more about her family’s history.
FluentU has tons of videos to learn with.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Videos last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, and with new ones being added all the time, you’re sure to find plenty on topics you love. For example, beginners might enjoy “Gorilla’s Picnic,” a fun animated story that introduces vocabulary for the Korean consonants, and intermediate learners can check out “College Romance,” a cute college love story.
Lonweb Parallel Texts
Speaking of parallel texts, Lonweb has a few that span a whole variety of languages. You’re not going to find authentic Korean texts here, but you can read about the adventures of Daisy Hamilton the detective, with parallel texts in English, Korean and Romanized Korean (as well as audio).
A note about Romanization: If you’re reading this post and therefore presumably looking for Korean reading practice, I’d guess that you’ve probably already learned Hangul. If you haven’t, I’m not sure that I would recommend picking it up alongside Daisy Hamilton or the texts in these other sources.
I mean, you can if you want to, but Hangul is so easy to learn that you’d be doing yourself a favor by taking at least a few minutes to go over the alphabet before beginning your reading endeavors.
Regardless of what point you’re at, though, I also don’t think it’s necessarily a disadvantage that Romanization is provided here. For one thing, the Romanization column in the middle separates the Hangul from the English, which pads you against getting distracted by the English translation as you’re reading in Korean.
Also, along with the audio, you can use the Romanization in much in the same way you might use the translation—to check your understanding (in this case, of the pronunciation).
Beelinguapp (Android | iPhone)
This is a useful resource for immediately accessing Korean-English bilingual texts on your phone. Like with Lonweb, you won’t necessarily find authentic reading here, but rather parallel texts that have been translated across a variety of languages, for a variety of levels.
Texts come with “karaoke” reading, automatically self-highlighting as the audio plays, which is useful for keeping focused on the Korean text and increasing your reading speed while also learning new vocabulary in context. You’ll find everything here from simple lists of sentences to classic novels.
Naver’s Bilingual 만화 (Manhwa)
Webcomics come in bite-sized pieces, making each episode a perfect little mini-story.
Naver offers two sites for online manhwa (comics), one in English and one in Korean (both linked above), with some webtoons being available in both languages. Manhwa is already great for learning through visual context clues, and the presence of English translations means that you can check your understanding.
“마음의 소리,” or “The Sound of Your Heart,” is a hugely popular South Korean webtoon by Jo Seok that has inspired not just one but two television series, both of which are currently available on Netflix. It applies a bizarre drawing style and an absurd sense of humor to everyday situations based on the author’s life, and has 526 pages to read through.
To find more translated webtoons, it’s probably best to start with the Korean version of the site, because many of the comics on the English site aren’t by Korean speakers. If you find something that looks interesting and it’s somewhat well-known, you may be able to copy the title into Wikipedia and find the English title by switching the article language to English.
This is a nifty little blog that gives you short, entertaining comics to read with optional English translations beneath them (just hit the “English” option in the menu bar at the top of the page to hide the translations or make them visible).
The translations include cultural notes—on everything from Korean brands of alcohol and hangover cures, to film, currency and street food.
Since the comics are isolated into small blocks, you can take your time with them and use the translations and cultural notes to make them into intensive mini-lessons.
KoreanClass101 YouTube Reading Playlists for Absolute Beginners and Beginners
Although they’re not strictly short stories, these animated videos test your understanding of written Korean (or allow you to learn it from scratch) through common scenarios like buying a train ticket.
You can logically deduce some word meanings from context, which helps your understanding of usage and aids memorization. In the videos, you’ll be looking at Hangul in a variety of situations, and you’ll be given a certain amount of time to interpret text, such as the information on your train ticket.
While these playlists don’t provide extensive materials for practice, they help you get used to practical reading in time-sensitive situations. Plus, they conveniently combine reading practice with listening practice, so you can work on your listening comprehension and your accent as you read.
The availability of content on the KoreanClass101 channel can vary for non-subscribers, but you can search within the channel to find reading resources for other levels, too, such as this video for advanced reading comprehension.
These great resources are terrific for discovering memorable and inspiring Korean short stories!
If you read them regularly and follow our tips, we have no doubt that you’ll become closer and closer to the Korean language and culture.