Problems with learning cause I can't read yet (vocabs and grammar, not kana)

To cut long story short, I can’t really tell some of the vocabulary from wanikani before I see it, just know it when I’m doing review but can’t use it when I want to do some practice or something. I know that’s normal and I just have to do some more reviews and read native material but it’s not that easy as doing the same while learning English, I’m at point where every n5 material has too difficult vocabs or too difficult grammar or both and I’m just suffering from learning grammar by heart, I spend so much time on it and I feel that it would be faster if I practise this grammar by reading ( I also see that when I start the next grammar topic I’m starting to not remember previous topic, cause I did’t have many chances to use it). Do you have any recommendations, tips, maybe you can tell what can I do with this things? I would take serious any tips so feel free to give even the hard ways of learning or sth.

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In order to get easier when reading, you need to read more, there’s no other way. Granted when you just starting out it’s not that easy and that’s normal.

Try read easier material. My recommendation is Graded Readers lvl 0-1. Keep looking up words that you don’t know, it will takes a lot of time and brain power to try understand basic sentences at the beginning, but it will pay off in the long run.

Do this everyday for a month and you will be surprised how much you improved in terms of reading speed and grammar. Good luck!


Graded Readers and Parallel Texts “Book Club”


Free online graded readers


Thank you, that’s really helpful, I will use these resources a lot!

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Try these. They’re not glamorous, but it’s a starting point. Japanese Graded Reader Difficulty List | Natively

The vocab issue is probably the easiest to deal with depending on what you’re doing. For reading stuff on the web a free browser extension like rikaikun or yomichan should help a lot.

There are more elaborate tools for assisted reading, I use Kitsun ($) and I think Japanese IO ($) is another option. Another neat trick is to just paste a sentence into Jisho (free) and it will try to tokenize it while making most of the words clickable. It’s not very good, but it’s better than nothing if you’re desperate.

It’s more expensive and serves a more specific purpose, but Satori Reader ($) takes this a step further by providing explanations + translations + narration for its selection of stories.

Some people make grammar decks. Alternatively there are options like Bunpro ($) which has a fill-in-the-blank style input system for its reviews as well as a page that makes grammar lookups relatively easy.

Otherwise consider getting in the habit of reading through some of the examples in your textbook for prior lessons as a warmup before tackling new ones.


Thank you for advices, I will stick to the lvl 0 materials by now so I’ll be able to read more difficult things later!


You can also watch japanese material that have japanese subtitles and just follow with your eyes and mind while the content is being said

That’s an advice I follow from a few polyglots

Don’t limit yourself because you are “low level”, people should watch native content from day 1


My reccomendation is; you can’t use Wanikani as a reliable source of your vocab learning. It’s because Wanikani purpose is not teaching you vocab but kanji. The level structure on Wanikani are not structured to teach vocab in term of usefullness. You might encounter N2 or N1 level vocab on the first 10 levels but N5 vocab on may be level 40+.

If one more SRS system is not too much for you. I recommend you download a 10k vocab anki deck and start using it.

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Thank you for resources, I actually use anki grammar deck with genki and it’s helpful, but I really need to practise this grammar by reading so thanks one more time for links!

I actually using Anki so I’ll check and probably use this mentioed by you deck, thanks for tip!

By subtitles I mean japanese subtitles and also don’t take all your time reading them, just let the subconscious do the acquisition, it just that with this strategy you are learning to read indirectly while hearing the sounds if you pay attention (it will help you follow), but you should obviously pay more attention to the action (aka the comprehensive input)

So you will be able to deconstruct the building blocks, by doing that you are doing listening and reading at the same time


I started reading real senteces only after I hit level 11 and wk email recommended nhk easy news, never heard of it before. It was a struggle in the beginning and only around level 20 I felt confident about the articles, most of the time I was checking the words with yomichan, but now my reading there is smooth and my doubts are usually related to grammar.

give time to time and when you get more vocabulary, you will feel easier.

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If you read NHK easy, they offer audio on the website, if you don’t do already I propose that you put the audio playing while you read and shadow what the host say it will help you read faster

Also let’s not forget sentence mining :

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never used the audio part, is it a robotic type? I dont like these type of audios tbh.

And I read nhk at work during free time, so I wont be able to listen to the audio actually.

If you put headpone that would be possible

Thanks, when i think about it, it’s the way i learnt English, by watching and reading everything but i though it would not work for japanese cause of kanji’s and I have to start with easier material, maybe using every resources is the best way.

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Japanese is not more special than english, it remain a language but I noticed that people that learn japanese tend to put it on a pedestal (thing I done before), even if japanese is a rough language for english speaker and have a tiring long set of kanji, it remains a language.

I am also not a native english speaker, I learnt english not by school and grammar book but with games, movies, youtuber’s videos and such.

Although grammatical refinement is plausible with the eduction system, I think that acquiring the language first is the best foundation before trying to reach a professional structure.

If you done it with english, why would it make it different with japanese lol.

Here my tip : Find what you like and enjoy it from day one, be it games, movies, animes, whatever, don’t limit yourself because “you don’t know enough kanji”. Just be sure to put it all in japanese all the time


Yeah, after reading your reply I think that limiting resources is absolutely the worst thing I could do, thank you one more time, you really helped me now!

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If you are still learning the kana, I really recommend using a workbook that teaches handwriting

this is the modern version of what I used 20 years ago

I know WK doesn’t teach handwriting because most people won’t ever need to hand write anything anymore, but everyone should know how to write both sets of kana. Otherwise reading is going to be brutal.

I don’t have problem with kana, i learnt it a long time ago and I know how to write it, I write every grammar note by using kana cause I don’t know how to write the most of kanji’s (I can only write by hand that kanji’s I learnt before starting wanikani). However, thanks for tip!