What to Do if You Read Slowly in Korean

Reading is one of the main sections in the study of a foreign language, including Korean. As I became more and more immersed in the Korean language, I ran into a problem. I read very slowly. In this article, I want to share more about this problem and the methods that I used to solve it.

Slow Reading

A couple of years ago, I started studying Korean intensively and attended classes once a week at the Sejong Center. We spent time reading, but as a rule, the texts in books are not too long. Because of the short text, I didn’t fully comprehend my reading speed.

This problem came to light after I took the TOPIK language exam for the first time. I managed to only complete 30 out of 50 questions in the reading section.

On the one hand, this may seem normal, because I had taken this exam for the first time, and the tasks are arranged according to the level of difficulty. Therefore, it is not unusual to be unable to complete the entire test.

I continued to learn and moved to new higher levels at the Korean language center I was attending. However, a year later I took the exam again, and I still had the same problem. I managed to complete only managed to get through two more questions than I had before an entire year of study. It wasn’t because of the difficulty of the questions. I couldn’t read the questions fast enough to get through the test within the time limit. So, I started looking for ways to improve my reading speed.

Korean Reading Speed ​​Techniques

Read Books

One of the more obvious pieces of advice comes from the fact that you need to read more. However, everything is not so easy. It is very important that reading is enjoyable, otherwise, the effect will be minimal.

what should you take into account before reading in foreign languages? First, it refers to the genre of books that you enjoy the most. If you read detective stories all the time but bought a Korean romance novel, then you probably won’t like it and the book simply won’t finish reading.

Second, once you’ve decided on a genre, try to find books that match your level of language proficiency. This is also quite an important point. This is because you should enjoy reading, and it should not be forced. If while reading one page to understand the content you translate too many words in a translator, then such a book does not correspond to your level and you need to find something simpler.

Korea is becoming more and more popular in many countries, and at the same time, interest in the Korean language is also increasing. When I lived in Russia, I was able to find adapted Korean fairy tales for the intermediate level with translation into Russian.

I really liked these books, because they had not only text in two languages, but also a small dictionary at the end of each story. Additionally, there were exercises for reading comprehension. I think that similar books can be found abroad already in many countries. Therefore, it can help to improve reading skills.

Read Webtoons & Blogs

Another option is to read webtoons. There is not too much text and it is easier to understand the meaning. Or you can start reading articles by Korean bloggers, for example on blog.naver.com. People post short articles on a variety of topics. Usually, they are written using simple vocabulary that is easy to understand at an intermediate level. If you live in Korea, then try to search for information more in Korean, because this way you will not only be able to develop reading but also get much more information you need.


Overall, as you learn Korean, your reading speed will gradually increase as well. But if you want to speed up this process, or you consider it your weak point in the language, then I recommend looking for special books for learning Korean, and to start reading webtoons or Korean blogs.

Want more tips on how to pass the TOPIK exam? Click Here for more information!