After finishing HJ, should I start reading from the absolute beginner book club?

When I say learn words from reading, I mean look up kanji in a dictionary and add them to SRS. Something like HouHou is great for this, as it is both a dictionary and an SRS system.

When I first started I didn’t care for using a dictionary and thought I could just skip words I didn’t know. But I really learned almost nothing from this. Better to look up words as you go and add them to SRS. Then in a few days you can reread the passage without using a dictionary. Even if you don’t understand every last thing, you’ll at least be expanding your vocabulary.

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