Hi my name is Aleria. This is my first post in the community. I’ve been learning Japanese for a while now on and off with varying effect. On December 27th, I got serious with my studies and began WK. I’m currently level four on WK. I have basic understanding of Japanese sentence structure and grammar. I’m anxious to start reading, but when I attempt it I find I don’t know enough to get understanding and enjoyment. I love to read and reading is how I got better at English. I’m hoping Japanese will be the same. Do you guys have any suggestions on when I should read or what I should read to flex my Japanese muscles? Free options would be great but not required. Thank for your time and consideration.
Hello Aleria, nice to meet you!
I have a similar background and just started Wanikani last month. My first try to get into reading was Yotsubato!, but I felt like that it is a little above my head.
Now I got a graded reader which includes 6 small books with short illustrated stories. Those are easy to follow and the fact that I don’t get overwhelmed by them makes it much more fun to read:
Amazon.co.jp JGR level 0 vol.1
Today I was also discovering the Absolute Beginners Bookclubs in this forum.
Theres an bookclub starting on February first, which seems interesting to me:
Absolute Beginner Bookclub (starting February 1st)
Thank you. I’ll look into those.
You can also try Yotsuba bilingually (first try to read the japanese, then switch to english, then back).
Also, you can use a Browser extension like Yomichan there, which lets you quickly look up kanji by holding shift and hovering your mouse over them.
But in general, people recommend only starting cursory reading from level 10, and regular reading from level 20, where you’ll still have to look up a lot of Kanji though. From level 30, it will get a lot easier.
But even at level 10 or below, you could learn a lot.
I would definitely second the suggestion to look into graded readers. This thread details the main graded readers available - the ones usually recommended are published by Ask, or the White Rabbit eBooks.
Levels zero and one are really very easy; if you find that you can’t manage the lowest levels of these yet, I’d recommend focusing on just a bit more grammar study before you start trying to read things (I’m actually rather of the opinion that level zero is a bit of a waste of time anyway).
You’ll also see in the OP of that thread a link to the Japanese Tadoku association, which has a selection of free graded readers available. The quality isn’t as high, but graded readers are quite expensive.They are probably also a good way of gauging your level before splurging on a paid set, or reading some free level zero / level one texts before buying some level two +.
Thank you all.