Reading a book

Hi. I’ve been learning with WK for a while but slowly. It’s complicated! I’m in level 5 now. I was wondering if any English speakers who are more advanced than me could answer a question. At what level roughly were you able to start reading books in Japanese? Also, any recommendations for things to start trying to read?

Thanks
M

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Well, you can start reading at any level, it’s just that the higher your level - the less words you would need to look up at jisho.org (or any other dictionary).

Personally, I started my attempts at reading at about level 15-20, but there is really no need to wait till then.
However, don’t forget that it’s not just about kanji, you need to know at least the basic grammar to do reading, so if you haven’t studied any grammar yet - that’s what you should start doing, parallel to studying kanji.

As for recommendations, here is a good free resource for reading

Level 0 readers are so easy that even at your current level you probably won’t have any problems with them.

Another great free resource for reading is

And there is also

Unfortunately, it’s not free, but it might be the best reading resource for a complete beginner, because every article there is very carefully analyzed for you; you can click on every word - and it would tell you the reading and translation; you can see the translation for every sentence and there are also a lot of notes on grammar there, like, why this particular word was used in that particular form in this sentence, etc. I highly recommend at least checking it out, even if you won’t subscribe to it.

Also, there are a lot of book clubs here, on this forum. You can participate in any of them. There you’d be able to ask questions about the book you’d be reading together, whenever there’s something you don’t understand.

Anyway, welcome to WaniKani!
I really hope you’d like it here!
And best of luck with your studies!

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Around level 15-20 is where I’d say looking up things gets less annoying.

But, you’ll need at least N5 and some N4 grammar as well. I’d say you could get by on simple stuff with just a bit of N5.

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I think your grammar level is more important than your Wanikani level. I’d advise getting to JLPT N5 grammar level/end of the Genki 1 textbook before starting reading. For me I was Wanikani level 25 by that point but definitely could have started reading at a lower level if I’d got my grammar going earlier.

My first book was なぜ?どうして?せかいはふしぎ which I read along with the Absolute Beginner Book Club. That was a non fiction book about the world, aimed at 2nd grade Japanese students.

The Absolute Beginners Book Club has read lots of other books since. You can read any of those books and look at the vocab sheets and translation questions that were posted in the discussions of those books. There’s a new manga starting next week. The home thread for the book club is:

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Hi! I’m also in the beginning stages. Level 7 currently. I’ve been reading (or at least attempting :sweat_smile:) since level 3 or 4. I’ve found it to be tremendously helpful. I’m just reading manga that I already am familiar with so it helps with getting the general gist of the plot. It’s also helps to solidify the different kanji and readings that you are currently learning. Definitely start reading manga (with furigana). It’s never too early and will only be a benefit as you continue. You won’t understand everything and THAT’S OKAY. Embrace the ambiguity! I gotta say this to myself because I know it will be a while before I can fully understand most of what I read

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30 what held me back was grammar and vocabulary not kanji (depending on what series you read alot of them have furigana anyways)

I generally read what i really like for example i really liked kimetsu no yaiba as an anime so i read the manga. Even though it was hard to me back then i kept going because i like it. So look into what you want to really want to read by not forcing yourself you ofc u get better at it after a while. So for recommendation kimetsu no yaiba (ofc), promised neverland( i didn’t read it all but it has furigana so )nothing else in my mind rn

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I read the first chapter of promised neverland a few months ago and found it quite difficult. I put it on the back on the shelf for now. Does it get any easier after chapter 1?

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No idea. I haven’t completed the first chapter. But from what i have read it doesn’t seem that difficult

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Thanks. I must say having read a few manga I think there are simpler ones out there and I’m not sure I’d recommend the promised neverland as one to start with. Even though there were furigana some of the vocab seemed quite obscure and some of the phrasing I found difficult.

I thought that a book like Girl’s Last Tour (read by beginner book club) which didn’t have furigana was actually easier to read. I’ll probably pick it up again in a few months time and if it gets easier I might have to report back!

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I don’t expect myself to know alot of vocabulary since my vocabulary study is behind both kanji and grammer by a mile. So as long as there’s furigana on kanjis i don’t know then i can at least look it up. Of the first mangas i read was kimetsu no yaiba it definitely wasn’t easy but from what i remember some of the kanjis i didn’t know had furigana

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At Level 12, I’m just starting to feel that I can read and follow some of the manga, such as Yotsuba, recommended in this article from the makers of WaniKani:

The other posts recommending level 15-20 sound about right to me based on where I feel I’m at now.

I have read the first three volumes a few days ago. I’m not the best person to judge that sort of things, but no, I haven’t noticed a change in difficulty. If anything, it’s probably getting harder, due to all the mind game going on.

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