Graded Readers and Parallel Texts "Book Club"

I want this to be a “Free for all” and open to all types of Graded Reader books.
We are many who have them, but not necessarily the same ones. And this is where this differs from the Book Clubs; I want everyone to be able to ask about any and all Graded readers. They are a great resource that comes in a good variety of difficulties!

Most of the stories are very short. If you ask about the beginning or middle, no spoiler tag is needed. If you ask about a plot point near the end you should probably put a spoiler blur on it like this.

There are many kinds too, so remember to tell which book you are reading.

If you have any suggestions just let me know! =D
I’m just a huge fan of these books, own such a big bunch of them and seen others post they own some too, would be great to have a place to discuss them! =D

This post is a Wiki. You can help add books to the list =)

Book List:

Graded Readers

Free Books Online: link

White Rabbit has a great collection here: link

White Rabbit Press App



Graded readers app for ios and Android. Currently 9 stories available, level 0-3. More have been promised to be on the way.
You can decide to hide furigana, and show them when you touch the screen, has audio without the hassle of a CD room or hassle of download.
Audio Files

Ask Graded Readers
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One of the most used sets. Has difficulty 0-4. Each one has 3 boxes each, containing separate little booklets per story. Mix of fiction and facts.
Audio Files

Nihongo Tadoku Graded Readers


Has difficulty 0-5. It has 10 boxes, most of them a mix of 2 difficulties (box 1 has three difficulties in one box)
Each box contains a set of booklets with separate stories. Mix of fiction and facts.
Audio Files

Oxfords Let’s Read Japanese
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Note; Their levels are not the same as the previous sets. 1 here is closer to 2 in the others.

More Extensive Book List of Reading Material

Parallel Texts

Generally much harder than Graded Readers, but comes with translation and notes so you don’t have to spend a lot of time looking things up. Some are more difficult than others.

Free: Edu Stories

Read Japanese like a pro with free bilingual texts.
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Japanese Readers by Clay and Yumi
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These are books with a few stories in each. There are many books in this series and they are consistently making new ones. Contains translations and notes. These are some of the easiest in this category, while still being harder than graded readers (at least the lower levels). It gives you all the help you need to understand it all, and you don’t have to look everything up.

Penguin Short Stories Parallel Text

Breaking into Japanese Literature
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Amazon
Original Japanese stories

Read Real Japanese Essays
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Amazon

Read Real Japanese Fiction
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Amazon

Parallel Texts in other languages

Feel free to add Parallel Texts translated to other languages than English
Main focus will be Japanese/English though, but other languages are welcome =^_^=

German

Readers from the Aya Puster Verlag
The Aya Puster Verlag has 8 readers right now. I would say, they are at around JLPT N4-N3. The Readers always have a german translation from all the stories in the second half of the books and they are quit cheap. Each reader costs around 10€. They have readers which are specialised on different prefectures, like " Kyushu Daisuki I" and readers with folktales and such stuff, for example " Minwa - Alte Volksmärchen aus Japan in sehr einfachem Japanisch".
Here’s a link to there page: https://www.puster-verlag.de/de/leichte_lektuere.html

Bilingual Books

Similarly to Parallel Texts, these provide the text in translated form as well as Japanese, but they don’t include word breakdowns or text analysis or anything. They’re often a bit easier though because they’re usually aimed at children.

Japanese Myths, Legends & Folktales


Tuttle
A collection of twelve folk tales. The text is fairly separated so it’s easy to avoid ‘cheating’. It was previously published as “A Treasury of Japanese Folktales” with a red cover.

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I want to get an overview of what people have, and what they have read =)
This will hopefully help spur conversations more easily, and I hope it might inspire to finish more of them.
This is a Wiki, so you can add yourself to the list.


How to record your progress

Graded Readers
App Level 0 1 2 3
Ask Level 0 1[*] 2 3 4
Taishukan Volume 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

- Own
- Don’t currently own
[*] - Have read some, but not all of the stories
- Have read all of the stories

You are allowed to add new items to the listing =)


Graded Readers

White Rabbit Press App

Level 0[*] 1[*] 2 3 Toyger
Level 0[*] 1[-][-][-] 2[-][-][-] 3[-][-] katvonbirb
Level 0 1 2 3[-] ShaunOfTheLive
Level 0 1 2[-][-][-] 3[-][-] MissDagger
Level 0 1 2 3 Rowena

Ask Tadoku

Level 0[*] 1 2[*] 3 4 Toyger
Level 0[-][-][-] 1 2 3 4[-][*] Mithrillion
Level 0[-][-][-] 1 2 3[-][-][-] 4[-][-][-] Radish8
Level 0[-][-] 1[-][-][-] 2 3 4 rawrdinosaur
Level 0 1 2 3 4Ncastaneda
Level 0[-][-][-] 1[-][-][-] 2[-][-] 3[*][-][-] 4[-][-][-] Jul3
Level 0[*][-][-] 1[-][-] 2[-][-][-] 3[-][-][-] 4[-][-][-] cybershark
Level 0 1 2[-][-][-] 3[-][-][-] 4[-][-][-] tombo
Level 0 1 2 3 4 Rowena
Level 0[-][-][-] 1[-] 2[-][-][-] 3[-][-][-] 4[-][-][-] katvonbirb
Level 0[-] 1 2[*][-] 3[*][-][-] 4[-][-][-] ShaunOfTheLive
Level 0 1 2 3 4 MissDagger
Level 0 1[*] 2 3[-][-][-] 4[-][-][-] _nodame
Level 0 1[-][-] 2[-][-][-] 3[-][-][-] 4[-][-] Evueimeimei
Level 0[-] 1[-] 2[-][-] 3[-][-] 4[-][-][-] DollyDaydream
Level 0[*][-][-] 1 2 3 4 EiEiO

Taishukan

Volume 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Toyger
Volume 1 2 3 4 5 6[*] 7[*] 8[-] 9[-] 10[-] Mithrillion
Volume 1[*] 2[*] 3 4 5 6 7[-] 8[-] 9[-] 10[-] Saruko
Volume 1 2 3 4[*] 5 6 7[-] 8[-] 9[-] 10[-] Ncastaneda
Volume 1 2[-] 3[-] 4[-] 5[-] 6[-] 7[-] 8[-] 9[-] 10[-] Jul3
Volume 1[-] 2[-] 3[-] 4 5[-] 6 7[-] 8 9[-] 10[-] cybershark
Volume 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Rowena
Volume 1 2[-] 3[-] 4[-] 5[-] 6[-] 7[-] 8[-] 9[-] 10[-] _nodame

Oxford Brookes

Level 1 Vol 1
Toyger
NCastaneda
Jul3
cybershark

Level 2 Vol 1
NCastaneda
Toyger
Micki

Level 2 Vol 2
NCastaneda
Toyger

Level 3 Vol 1
Toyger


Parallel Texts

The Japan Shop

Japanese History Reader
Toyger
EiEiO

Learn Japanese with Yokai
Toyger
EiEiO

Japanese Dialogues
Toyger

Learn Japanese with Stories

From The Japan Shop, by Clay and Yumi


Hikoichi
Toyger
[*] MissDagger
Micki
EiEiO


Momotaro
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


Inch-high Samurai
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


The Mouse Bride
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


The Cut-Tongue Sparrow
Toyger
MissDagger
marcusp
EiEiO


The Snow Woman
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


The Little Match Girl
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


Hikoichi Revisited
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


Fountain of Youth
Toyger
MissDagger
EiEiO


Urashima Tarou
Toyger
EiEiO


Penguin Parallel Text

Kyayna
Toyger

Breaking Into Japanese Literature

[*] Kyayna
[*] Toyger

Read Real Japanese Essays

Kyayna
Toyger


Bilingual Books

Japanese Myths, Legends & Folktales

Radish8
Toyger



7 Likes

I’ll try add more to the list tomorrow. Should we also include links to where to buy?
And I see White Rabbit Press lists some Japanese elementary school books in their list called “Graded readers”, but I think we should focus more on books created for foreigners trying to learn Japanese.

Also, remember to state what book you are reading in your comment :wink:
If you don’t have any questions, you could just give a thought about the books, what you feel or general comment about the material =)

I think my favorite so far is actually the level 0 story from the White Rabbit Press App.
It was the first story I could read and understand completely, which makes it special to me. I’ve read it countless times cause I just love the story. It isn’t an original story from Japan though, it’s an Aesop fable called The Ant and the Grasshopper. But I didn’t know the story from before so it was still new to me and I just loved the ending so much I had to translate it to a friend! (which was also good practice :wink: )

Which reminds me, if you want to try your hand at translating stories it might be best to put it under drop downs or blur spoilers =)
And I’m not sure how much of a given text we are allowed to share without violating the copyright :thinking:

4 Likes

I can recommend the Breaking into Japanese Literature and Read Real Japanese books. (1: Contemporary Writings and 2: Short Stories)

They all have parallel text and insightful notes/translations.

2 Likes

I own Level 1 of the Graded Reader Library from White Rabbit (I think they’re actually a little too easy for my current level and probably should have bought the Level 2 but nevermind, easy is fun and makes me feel confidence, at least.).

I haven’t read them all yet, so I’d be keen to read them all to justice grabbing Level 2 some time haha.

Also did anybody else tear up reading the Hachiko one or just me cuz like I didn’t realise what I was reading until too late.

I also have a couple of them on the app. There was a fun one about the origin of the bat. I really liked that one. Anybody else know of that one?

2 Likes

This is a nice thread idea. Should we also include graded readers in our own language? Might be interesting for some. There‘s a nice german japanese graded reader I own.

4 Likes

I’d never even heard the story before so it was pretty traumatic for me :stuck_out_tongue:

Not as tragic as the elephant one though; that one was legitimately upsetting

4 Likes

The Bat story is my second favorite! And one of few that I’ve read many times =)

And yes, Hachiko got to me too :sob:
I think it was my first time hearing the story… I have since read up about it and seen the movie (American version)

I just recently bought more level 0 sets, cause they have a tendency to be fun and boosts my confidence :rofl:
I also wanted to evaluate them to see if they could be suitable for the Absolute Beginner Club. I will nominate one of the sets, just figure out which one would be best (it’s the mixed level ones)

2 Likes

Sure, we can make a separate list (on the same wiki, but second drop down)

I thought the ant and the grasshopper story was sad… It’s a really meaningful ending especially for such an easy book. I was so surprised I could get so emotional over a 10 minute story haha

1 Like

It’s sad and shocking, and is why I loved it cause it made me feel. I didn’t expect that with such a short story! O_o

2 Likes

I have them all and was planing on adding them! =D
I just had to get to bed, was nearing 2am :rofl:

Is the Hachiko one people mentioned in any physical book or just available on the White Rabbit app?

1 Like

It’s in one of the physical ones. One moment, will go check which one specifically (it is in the Ask series)
Ask Graded Readers Level 1 Volume 1

2 Likes

I have this set, too. But it‘s a bit to difficult for me, i fear. I miss to much vocab to enjoy it.

1 Like

I wanted to ask about how you usually study with graded readers. Read the story along with the audio? Listen to the audio first? Read the story first without audio? etc. What has been the most effective way for you all to study with graded readers?

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So far my routine has been
reading -> picking all unknown terms and add those to anki -> audio of the story as passive immersion during that week (the thing I’ll listen while cooking for example).

That for a bit longer than a year. This week I’ll be finishing the Level 4 Vol. 3 … the last one …:hugs:
Every time there has been less things to look up, to the point that now it feels just like reading any other story in my own language.
Anyway, of course this is just the illusion it provides … I’ll pick up a series aimed to natives and the dictionary will be needed most of the time … so yeah… there’s that…

3 Likes

When I started I liked to read first, then audio, then read again.
But then my computer broke and the new one had no CD-room. Much later I got an external cd drive, and have since found the audio files online, so I should start using them again :rofl:
So most of the ones I’ve read I’ve only read through, tried to see what I could understand without looking up. I should get better at actually looking up and add to anki though.

They recommend not stopping while reading. Read it once, completely. Go back and check things after. (at least the short Graded Readers. The longer Japanese Readers should be tackled differently)

1 Like

Nihongo Tadoku has a higher level than the Ask Graded Readers =)
There’s only two of them, and come bundled with some lvl 4 books =^_^=


I haven’t read them yet, so can’t tell how hard they are or about the quality. But their lvl 0 and 1 stuff are great! (I just recently bought them all, and will read my way up level by level, including the Ask ones once I reach the level I was at (2 or 3) :wink: )

1 Like

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: … yeah … I kinda went on a shopping spree last time I was in a Kinokuniya store … the bookshelf ended up full of graded material and them some more…

I still have the last 3 volumes of the Taishukan series and the Level 3 in the Oxford Brookes series to go … Alongside with the 10分で読める伝記 series I was planning to write something like a review of the whole “graded series” deal.

14 Likes