English Reading Practice

North Korea

North Korea is a country on the Korean Peninsula. A "peninsula" is a piece of land that has water on three sides. It shares a border with South Korea.

These used to be one country but in 1945, after World War Two, they were divided into two countries.

The two countries have very similar histories until 1945 but have become very different in the years since then. 

North Korea

North Korea has been a very isolated country. "Isolated" means alone. It has developed without much influence from the Western world. North Korea's closest ally is China. An "ally" is a friend. Because North Korea has been so isolated, not very much is known about the country and its culture.

Even though North Korea has kept to itself mostly, it has developed its own art and sports culture that are very important to the North Korean people. Sports games and performances are some of the only times that the North Koreans welcome people from other countries to watch or compete.

Sports in North Korea

One very important display of North Korean art and sports happens during a festival called the Arirang Festival. A "display" is a show. This festival includes different sports including soccer and a performance called the Mass Games.

The Mass Games are held every year and sometimes twice a year – once in the Fall and once in the Spring. They celebrate national holidays like the birthday of the leader of North Korea.

These games feature over 100,000 people performing gymnastics for an hour and a half. In addition to gymnastics, the participants also perform dance, acrobatics, music, and drama. "Participants" means the people involved in the games. All the participants move together in synchronized movements. "Synchronized" means at the same time.

The Mass Games are held a few nights a week during the festival times.

Another major sport in North Korea is soccer. Soccer is called football in other parts of the world, including North Korea. During the Arirang Festival, fifteen different soccer teams compete in the festival. These teams also compete in worldwide competitions.

Another place where North Korean athletes participate is in the Olympics. North Korean teams compete in most sports at the Olympics including soccer, martial arts, wrestling, volleyball, and gymnastics. They have won a number of medals including some gold medals at the Olympics.


North Korea has a very rich history. Much of the more recent history is not known outside of North Korea. Hopefully this will change in the future and we will know more about North Korean culture, history, and people.

And now, practice:

North Korea - Exercises

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "isolated" mean?

a) alone

b) with many friends

c) with some friends

d) together

2. What does "ally" mean?

a) another country

b) another person

c) a friend

d) a neighbor

3. What does "display" mean?

a) a country

b) a sport

a) a show

b) a person

Grammar Questions

1. North Korea is a country on the Korean Peninsula

a) in

b) at

c) on

d) of

2. Every year, the games ________ national holidays like the birthday of the leader of North Korea. 

a) celebrate

b) celebrated

c) have celebrated

d) will celebrate

3. North Korea has ________ very rich history.

a) a

b) an

c) the

d) that

Comprehension Questions

1. What country is an ally of North Korea?


2. What activity do participants perform during the Mass Games?


3. What sports do the North Koreans complete in worldwide?


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