These reading comprehension worksheets let you practice intermediate-level English reading skills.
Check how well you understand the author’s main points and vocabulary-- and your mastery of other key skills. They're all important for university study or tests like the IELTS or TOEFL.
Some of the free worksheets have the same questions as the interactive exercises linked from Reading Strategies and Comprehension Practice.
That way, you can choose when you want to practice online and when to use the worksheets (printable pdfs) here.
ESL teachers (or even high school English teachers) might find these worksheets useful too.
(Sometimes, as in the TED talks, an audio recording or video with transcript can be used for either reading or listening comprehension. They can also work as discussion starters or inspiration for a writing prompt.)
These pdfs are available for individual or class use. They are copyrighted. (You may not sell them, post them without permission, or distribute them without the copyright notice.)
Jump directly to the worksheets (or read how to use them first, below.)
Reading comprehension requires several skills. You need to recognize words and their parts (roots, prefixes, etc. That's 'decoding' them.) You need to understand English sentences and to think about what the author is trying to say.
Know why you want (or need) to read-- what you want to get out of the text. Then learn to skim, to scan headlines, call-out boxes, pictures, etc. for the information you need. Sometimes you need to slow down and analyze dense text when every word matters.
Tests like the TOEFL, IELTS, or SAT expect you to make inferences and to recognize the implications of what you read. They test your critical thinking skills. Can you recognize the author's purpose or biases? Is the author trying to manipulate you or sell you something?
These skills are important at work as well as school-- and you can practice them on these worksheets. (If you need help with some of them, see Improve Your Reading Skills.)
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the worksheets, I’d be happy to hear. Use the Contact me link or make a comment, both at the bottom of the page.
Intermediate (and up):
> Practice for the TOEFL and Other Reading Tests (with a reading selection about early American agriculture)
> Reading Comprehension Worksheet on Education’s Death Valley (a TED video with transcript to read.)
> Reading Comprehension Test Practice on another TED video: "Where Ideas Come From."
High Intermediate or Advanced:
> A Comprehension Test on a TED talk on motivation. (It tests either reading-- if students first read the transcript-- or listening/watching.) This is the pdf version of the interactive Comprehension Test page. It's also connected with a Lesson Plan on Motivation.
> A Practice Reading Test (on psychodynamic therapies)
> Check Your Reading Skill (with a selection on mental illness)
Medical Mysteries looks at the ways diseases have affected history. It reviews the hard-won progress people have made in understanding and controlling them.
This pdf includes 3 short readings: The Impact of Disease on History, Solving the Mystery of Yellow Fever, and Scurvy and Sailing Ships. It also has links to some short videos about the fight against other diseases.
After each of the articles, there are a few questions to check your understanding. (They also provide practice for some of the question types on the IELTS and TOEFL Reading Tests.)
"The Impact of Disease" includes a sidebar that defines some important disease vocabulary. After answering a few questions, practice these words (& others) with a crossword puzzle. There's also a bibliography of sources. (Most are online so that you can read them if you'd like.)
Click the Buy Now button to download Medical Mysteries (Individual Study packet) for $3.75.
If you're a teacher, check out the original version of Medical Mysteries. It has lesson plans for a week or more of class investigation.
The classroom version also has individual or group webquest suggestions. Students can look into the efforts of scientists who helped break the hold of disease. (Jenner, Pasteur, Koch, Snow, Salk, and six others.)
It's on Reading Comprehension Lesson Plans. So are shorter versions for those with less time available.
If you don't need the complete Medical Mysteries collection, check out these individual selections taken from it.
"The Impact of Disease on History" Individual Study packet is a section of Medical Mysteries, above. It has a three-page article on the ways killer diseases have affected history (with a glossary.)
You can answer a few questions. to check your understanding, then do a crossword. There are also links to a few suggested videos.
Press the "Buy Now" button to download it for $2.50.
This is a short individual selection. It's three pages: a short reading selection and questions, plus the answer sheet. It tells the story of the heroic efforts that led to the understanding and conquest of yellow fever. That success saved thousands-- possibly millions-- of lives. It made it possible to finish the Panama Canal.
Click "Buy Now" to get it for just $1.25.
See also the "Words for Success" lesson plan and worksheet packet in Academic Vocabulary Worksheets. It includes a reading comprehension worksheet on an outstanding commencement address on true success. It also offers practice with goal-setting and success-related vocabulary.