Do people actually learn new things by doing reading practice?

For those who are first starting out on reading Japanese, I like to reframe it.

It’s not reading.

It’s deciphering.

You’re taking a bunch of unknown words, bound by unknown grammar, and you’re puzzling them together to try and extract some sort of meaning, often with no clue as to whether you are right or wrong.

This is one reason I’m a big proponent of joining the Absolute Beginner Book Club once you’ve learned at least N5 grammar and some common vocabulary.

This gives an environment where you are reading alongside others, allowing you to ask questions and get verification, as well as education that is specific to the material being read.

Extra on what to expect from one’s first-time-reading experience (written with joining the book club in mind):