My relationship with Japanese is not a success story. I’ve been studying Japanese on-and-off for over 10 years, and a year ago I started using WaniKani and seriously got into studying again. While WK did significantly improve both my vocabulary and kanji knowledge, my biggest problem with studying hasn’t changed over the last 10 years – I hardly do any real-world practice at all.
Ever since I started studying Japanese I tried finding reading material suitable to my then-current level, but I simply failed. I end up having to consult Jisho (If it’s a manga and I can’t copy-paste the kanji, the lookup process slows me down even more) for missing vocabulary items and my friend for grammar (Sadly my grammar knowledge is abysmal due to the lacking practice) way too often – I end up wasting several minutes to read a single sentence, making the process not very enjoyable.
Currently, my only “practice” of Japanese is understanding random words and sentences here and there in anime (Doesn’t really practice reading much except for signs and so on) and songs (practices reading only when I search for the lyrics), and reading NHK’s easy Japanese news (Although I only ever a single blurb every time for the reasons stated before). When I’m actually in Japan (happens once every a few years) I get to practice a bit more with signs, leaflets, etc. and chit-chat with locals (Although my friends do most of the talking, I mostly listen). Obviously this is not nearly enough, and with over 1300 currently-burned items I’m starting to worry some of them will actually fade away due to lack of use.
To the point – I’m looking for reading material with vocabulary and kanji suitable to ~WK level 14 and very basic grammar, and all sorts of tips regarding making practicing reading more enjoyable and improving my grammar (Reading grammar textbooks doesn’t work for me, without proper practice (i.e. more than a few example sentences) most things just fade away quickly).
There are several book clubs here on WaniKani. Perhaps you should try joining the absolute beginner bookclub given your current struggles. As for grammar, I usually suggest textbooks, but if that doesn’t work for you maybe give https://bunpro.jp a shot.
Bunpro is a good choice for grammar. Forces you to revisit the grammar points over and over.
I’m with you on textbooks not being great. I tend to read the section, and forget it all in a few days. I’m not good at making my own practice, and remembering to revisit. It’s hard to not just “read” a textbook.
I would third giving Bunpro a go. I’d also say that taking a few minutes for one sentence isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes there’s just that one sentence that you cannot decipher for the life of you.
I would recommend finding an article on NHK Easy that looks interesting and taking the time to break it down, maybe print it out. If there’s a word you don’t know, look it up and write it above the word. If there’s grammar you don’t know, ask a friend what it means and what parts of the sentence it affects and note it down. It’ll also help you parse text.
And just remember that you’ll always make mistakes you’ll kick yourself for. I remember getting hung up on a sentence for more than half an hour because I just could not figure out what “まった//くちがう” meant. Until I realised that it was actually “まったく//ちがう”
I don’t know if you’ve tried them but Graded Readers were a good way for me to get used to reading Japanese. Since they’re actually made for people learning Japanese they come in different difficulty levels so you could choose the level that feels right for you.
There’s also a ‘bookclub’ for the different graded readers as well.