Graded Readers and Parallel Texts "Book Club"


what book would you recommend for an absolute beginner first time to reading? I’ve been wanting to read a graded reader but didn’t want to get something difficult that might demotivate me


For the most beginner, I would recommend these:

As others have mentioned here, if you feel like buying level 0 books is too expensive for the amount of content one gets, you could probably do Level 1 instead. Level 0 is really great for absolute beginners though who are just starting to read. On that site I linked above, you can actually look at one-page samples of each book, which could help you determine if they’d be worth it for you.

Though this goes slightly against the Tadoku-recommended method, the first time I read a book I typically do it with open, so I can look up words as I go. I then write the words on a notecard that I keep inside each book. That way, when I re-read the book, I don’t have to look up things again, and can focus more on enjoying the story.

Just some thoughts! Hope they’re helpful!


While I can’t recommend the LVl 0 books because of the price, it’s probably still not a bad idea for a total beginner to get one set. It’s a good starting point. You can also buy one lvl 0 story on the japanese graded readers app. The app is linked in the second post. There you can also buy 3 lvl 1 storie, so you can see wat fits your level best for not much money.


It is expensive, but I was wild with excitement when I could read almost all of it without too much trouble. It’s great for beginner confidence.


Yass I felt the same way!


I have bought and downloaded this but haven’t started it yet. It gets great reviews though and I love their “normal” app so I have high hopes.

JA Sensei Audiobook Learning:


I still buy level zero books at my level :wink:
Yes, for the money you get few words, but if you can afford it, they are quite enjoyable and I do read them several times over.

I started reading zero 2.5 years ago, but when I found a new set this year I couldn’t buy an incomplete set, so had to have the lvl zero’s too :wink:

First booklet I tried I saw how little text there was on page one and though "gosh, maybe it wasn’t worth it… ^^; "
But then I realized each page was a clue to a riddle! And it was a fun riddle! The booklet had two riddles in them, and they were so enjoyable, and being able to not only understand the text perfectly, but also guess the riddle was so enjoyable!
This was one of the lvl zero books in Nihongo Tadoku, so volume 1, 7 or 8.


I got some funky bugs O_o
Some failed to download, and ALL got named The Ant and Grasshopper! XD
But you can see it is supposed to be the other files… They work, but ouch, I don’t like the quality ^^;
I think I’ll only use the Ask audio, they are nice and clean


Perhaps you could try the online free graded readers to get an idea of what the levels are about to pick. Start from Level 0 and see!


I want this upgrade too! :rofl:
Along with grammar and vocab :wink:

Nihongo Tadoku Volume 8, a lvl 1 book


I’m currently reading 「ジョンさんの夏休み」(ASK Level 1 Vol 3 reader) and they’re referencing the tanabata story, and I totally get it all since I read it in one of the Level 0 readers!! So great! Love that they’re recycling topics like that. Very helpful :D!


I also like how they repeat characters =)
There are a few stories about ジョンさん, a few about the policeman, a few about this family and so on.
In the other set I have found a few about a boy and his robot so far. (the robot pictured above =) )


I moved the book list to the first post, and made the second post a place to post what you have read and are currently reading. (both are Wiki’s, please feel free to contribute! )

Seeing if others are reading the same material might make it easier to get some conversations going =)

And damaged from the poll thread, I LOVE polls! If you have one that had an effect on you, ask if others felt the same or differently (just state what story it is)

I personally can’t get enough of the lvl 0 story in the Graded Reader App; The Ants and the Grasshopper.

If you have read it, what did you think of the ending? (made it simple choices to not spoil it)

  • Loved it!
  • Hated it
  • Neutral
  • I haven’t read it

0 voters

Contains spoiler of the ending

I LOVED it! Evil, yes, but so well deserved :wink:
Had he made an effort but still needed help, then pf cause they would have helped. It was his attitude that made it just =P
I do imagine they helped him though, but made him work for it (do chores for them in return) At least that’s what I like to think would have happened =) (though it does suggest otherwise)


This thread has made me realise I need to tidy up my parallel text section D:

Also, I haven’t read that graded reader volume but I know the story because it’s one of Aesop’s Fables :wink: so to comment on the story - seemed like a pretty standard Aesop move to me, hehe!


It was my first time reading that story. I did half expect it I guess, but it’s the comeback that made it funny (I like how they worded it) I bet it’s a close translation though, so probably very similar in the original version =)


You should get a collection of Aesop’s Fables; I reckon you’d like them :grin:


I wouldn’t be surprised if I already have it :rofl:
I… collect books ^^;

Edit; jupp, I had a feeling :wink:
It’s a lovely, thick hardback book too :slight_smile:

I found it!

That was…short O_o
The Japanese version is much better! It has build up and character, and is open ended (doesn’t include the «Now you can dance» part)


Love the implication that of course we’ll own it at some point :joy:

I also have this bilingual book:

Should I add it to my list?


It was mostly cause there are three (in the ask ones), so would be good to know which they have/miss, but yeah, we do get them all, don’t we? :wink:

Bilingual! I’ll have to buy it! (Yes, a good add! I love these kinds!)
I should add the ones I have (they are short so no where bear as good as the one you linked!)
Hm, should probably make it it’s own category (parallel with and without commentary work differently)


I edited the wiki post. Where I added “I own” I meant “I definitly saw some of these in the local library”. Unfortunately in some cases not the whole set is in the library, so I won’t have a full list of s ever. (E.g. 海幸山幸 ―日本の神話 is missing from the Taishukan vol 3.)