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A Guide to Map Reading for Beginners

Learning to read a map and navigate on land will help with directions on a road trip, hiking or orienteering. With cell phones and GPS trackers, it’s almost a lost art. It can be an important skill to master. Read these tips as a guide for map reading for beginners.

What are the benefits to learning to read a paper map? First, you’ll never get lost if you can read a map like a pro. Second, a paper map doesn’t require batteries so you don’t have to worry that it won’t work. And third, you don’t have to worry about lost signals in remote areas like cell phones and GPS trackers can do.

Understand the map’s scale with ratios for distance. This information is printed on the road and topographical maps. The scale indicates the ratio of inches to miles or centimeters to kilometers to help you judge the distance between your starting point and your ending point. Use it as a visual reference to calculate your route.

Legend or Key

The legend or key is marked on the map. It uses symbols to let you know what’s ahead. Many are important to guide you along the way. The symbols could show a design for train tracks, symbols for gas stations, hospitals, restrooms, lodging and flags for schools. Color variations or contour lines depict the terrain for rivers, hills, valleys and high elevation. A dashed line usually maps out the borders and a solid line frames the map. Study the legend to understand details in the map.

All maps have titles. Note the title of the map as it defines what the map is navigating. If you’re using a map of the state of Wisconsin or a map of the state of Indiana, you’ll have road maps for that individual state. Interstate and state highways will be laid out to help with directions navigating through the specified state. State landmarks will have symbols to let you know where to find them.

Maps have grids with lines running vertically and horizontally representing longitude and latitude. A compass rose may be displayed to show where north, south, east and west are positioned. Some maps specify true north as the North Pole or magnetic north where the compass points to Canada. Once you’ve learned the basics of reading a map, you’re no longer a beginner. This is a survival skill that will be useful on trips, vacations and when exploring in nature.


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Beginners Short Reading Completion

1. Beginners Reading Fill in 1 2. Beginners Reading Fill in 2 3. Beginners Reading Fill in 3 4. Beginners Reading Fill in 4 5. Beginners Reading Fill in 5 6. Beginners Reading Fill in 6 7. Beginners Reading Fill in 7 7. Beginners Reading Fill in 8

Beginners Reading Comprehension Exercises

1. Beginners Reading Comprehension 1 2. Beginners Reading Comprehension 2 3. Beginners Reading Comprehension 3 4. Beginners Reading Comprehension 4 5. Beginners Reading Comprehension 5 6. Beginners Reading Comprehension 6 7. Beginners Reading Comprehension 7 PDF KIDS/Beginners Reading Comprehension: 1. Kids Reading Comprehension 1 2. Kids Reading Comprehension 2 3. Beginners Reading Comprehension Worksheet 1 4. Daily Routine Reading Comprehension and Answers

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Beginners - reading

My Name Is Ben: True/False Questions Answer Sheet After reading the 'My Name Is Ben' text, students can answer these true/false reading comprehension questions. My Name Is Ben: Open Questions Answer Sheet After reading the 'My Name Is Ben' text, students can do this open reading comprehension question exercise.

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Multiple choice reading exercise Multiple choice questions to go with the 'The Town Of Clarkson' reading text. True or False questions True or false questions to go with the 'The Town Of Clarkson' reading text. Forming Questions Worksheet which gets students forming questions based on the 'The Town Of Clarkson' reading text.
Tom's Day: True/False Questions Answer Sheet After reading the 'Tom's Day' text, students complete a true/false comprehension questions worksheet. Tom's Day: Question Formation Worksheet Answer Sheet After reading the 'Tom's Day' text, students form questions based on the information in the text.
The Seattle Journalist: Answer to Question Worksheet A worksheet that gets students to write questions in the present simple based on the 'The Seattle Journalist' reading. Focuses on have/has. The Seattle Journalist: Short Answer Worksheet A worksheet that gets students to write short answers to questions based on the 'The Seattle Journalist' reading.
My Working Day: Open Questions Answer Sheet After reading the 'My Name Is Ben' text, students can answer these true/false reading comprehension questions. My Working Day: Question Formation Worksheet Answer Sheet After reading the 'My Working Day' text, students form questions based on the information in the text.
Barnton Swimming Pool: True/False Questions Answer Sheet After reading the 'Barnton Swimming Pool' text, students can answer these true/false reading comprehension questions.
My Garden: Sentence Completion Answer Sheet Reading comprehension worksheet where students need to use one word to complete each sentence about the "My Garden" reading text. Premium

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Free ESL Reading Comprehension Worksheets for Your Lessons

Do you need English reading comprehension worksheets to supplement your ESL classroom?

Check out some of the worksheets and editable documents on this page.

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Reading comprehension worksheets for ESL lessons

Why Reading Comprehension Is Important

Printable esl reading comprehension worksheets, how to teach reading comprehension (5 tips).

Reading comprehension, or the ability to understand the things you read, is a vital component of any ESL curriculum.

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Students learning a second language may be able to easily and accurately pronounce the text they see on a page without actually understanding what it says, so it’s important to test them to make sure they’re actually comprehending the things they’re reading.

It’s also important to give your students strategies for reading to help them more easily understand stories and other texts.

You can download and print all of the following worksheets for free. Use them in your lessons or assign them as homework to your students.

Worksheets for Beginner/Elementary (A1-A2)

Worksheets for intermediate/intermediate-advanced (b1-b2), worksheets for advanced (c1-c2), incorporate reading comprehension exercises in your esl classes.

You can teach reading comprehension in your ESL class by giving students exercises to complete directly after they read a passage. This forces them to pay attention to the content of what they’re reading because they know questions are coming.

You can also practice active reading with your students, showing them how to pay attention to sentence structures and keywords. This helps them recognize what to look for when they’re reading and figure out what’s happening in a passage without understanding every single word.

Hand out Worksheets as Homework

Because reading is a solitary activity, reading comprehension worksheets are a great homework assignment for students. Your ESL students can read and answer questions at their own pace at home, strengthening their reading comprehension skills and deepening their love of learning in the process.

Check Pronunciation

If you are using these worksheets in a one-to-one lesson then use it as an opportunity to test your student’s pronunciation. The first time they read the passage, have them read it out loud.

Make a note of any words where the pronunciation needs improving and then correct them afterwards. Once the first pass is done, they can read it in their head if it helps aid their comprehension.

Pick the Right Level

Don’t forget to choose a suitable worksheet for your student’s level. It should go without saying but it can be easy to forget this sometimes.

Don’t be afraid to step back a level if your student is really having a rough time. At the same time, if they are going through these like a knife through butter then it’s time to turn up the difficulty level!

Help Them Out

Try to get your students to work things out from context as much as possible. This will help build their language ability.

However, if they are really not getting a particular section, don’t be afraid to step in and help them out. Sometimes, understanding just one important keyword in a sentence is enough to unlock the context of an entire paragraph.

Browse our full archive of printable ESL worksheets.

9 thoughts on “Free ESL Reading Comprehension Worksheets for Your Lessons”


The website is informative and user friendly too. Thank you so much!


Thank you for sharing. It’s much appreciated!! ;-)


Thank you so much. I appreciate you sharing your comprehension exercises. They will be so helpful. It is very generous of you.


Thank you so much.




Thanks for all the information, what a helpful website!

Marcel Jimmy

Hi Julia, we’re happy to help!


Thank you very much!

Hi Andrea, thanks for leaving a comment and showing your appreciation!

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EL Civics for ESL Students

ESL Reading Worksheets

Each worksheet includes a short paragraph about an everyday problem a character faces, a true-false exercise, a writing prompt, and a black and white image. They are presented in pdf format and should download quickly. I suggest reading the stories to the class before assigning the writing exercises. Estimated lesson time: 20 minutes.

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This page offers printable pdf exercises to teach reading comprehension. The most popular of these exercises is our text mazes that work magic in teaching students reading.Text mazes hide text as in a maze and this forces students to read when solving the maze. At the end we have comprehension questions to go with these exercises. You will need the free Acrobat Reader to view these files.

  • Food- World food text maze- Read and answer questions about food by solving a maze
  • Present simple reading - Tom goes to eat breakfast - Solve the text maze/comprehension questions
  • Tom's daily routines - practice adverbs of frequency, usually, always - text maze exercise
  • A day at the space station - Text maze with space vocabulary and solar system
  • Future tense reading exercise - Cathy's life in the future - A text maze with comprehension questions

Word Formation

Prefixes & suffixes lesson plan stuff.

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Interactive Prefix and suffix Quizzes for Students

  • Prefix and suffix multiple choice exercise.
  • Prefix and suffix matching quiz. Match prefixes to their meanings
  • Prefix word base matching- Match prefixed words to base meaning1
  • Prefix word base matching- Match prefixed words to base meaning2

Prefixes and suffixes are generally known as affixes. Affixes create new words, usually by modifying or changing the meaning of a root word. If we take a root word like HAPPY, we can see how affixes can change the meaning as in this example: prefix = UN, root word = HAPPY and suffix = NESS. The end result is UNHAPPINESS.

Sometimes raising awareness to this word formation aspect of English can be the light that dispels the darkness of dictionary worship. Since English is a language that has thousands of words from other languages, a brief etymology of commonly used prefixes and suffixes would do much good. For example the OCT prefix comes from the Latin OCTO which means EIGHT.  If you look at most English words beginning with OCT, the meaning is never too far from eight. So ask yourself for example: What is an o ctopus, octogenarian, octagon, octave, and octet ? In a similar line, TELE - has its roots in Greek, which means far or distant. So what do words like telecommunication, television, telephone and telex have in common?   

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Reading -beginners

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Basic reading for beginners.

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Reading -beginners


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    Reading comprehension exercises for all levels esl. Free interactive reading exercises. Fables, short stories, English talks, ebooks.

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