What level for simple graded reading?

What Wanikani level is a good base board to start getting into graded reading or simple books? I’m following along with Genki, but I’d really like to start reading stories. I’ve seen a lot of topics about what to start reading, but not as many about when.

You can start whenever you like! I’d say it depends on how much knowledge you have outside of WK and also what your tolerance is for unknown words. If you don’t mind looking up a lot of words, start earlier. If it’s just going to demoralise you, maybe give it a bit longer.

I’d guess you could start with very basic graded readers from about levels 5-10, but your mileage may vary.


I suppose it depends on what you’re aiming to read. If you’re going for Graded Readers, they have furigana, so a lack of kanji knowledge wouldn’t get in the way at all.

If you’re also focussing on grammar studies, why not try to put it into practice? If you can read the simple things: huge motivation! If you’re struggling too much and just end up drained and demotivated; try again in a month or two.

Only by taking that plunge can you really gauge whether the reading is doable for you, because there is no one-size-fits all answer to what WK level you need. A visual novel without furigana? High WK level, or even higher levels of patience. Children’s tale with little to no kanji? No WK needed, just vocab and grammar knowledge.

Get stuck in! At lower levels, I tried and gave up on reading a few times because I just wasn’t there yet, but I have now been doing it most days of the week for a while.

Just make sure you keep trying periodically if it’s not going well enough to be sustainable right now.

Good luck!

Oh, and with regards to Graded Readers specifically, I was able to read (while resorting to a dictionary at times) the lowest level Readers in my early to mid teen levels of WK.


I’ll second what Omun said; with a rough idea of your grammar and vocab level, pick something to try and just try it. I read my first graded reader a couple months ago with a higher-level friend to help with grammar points I didn’t know and jisho open for the vocab we had to look up. I was about level 12 and only a couple chapters into Genki. It took us an hour to read through a ten page story, but it felt really good to do that. I’ve since gotten better with my grammar and it’s a lot easier to read through the same stories on my own, now, but my WK level hasn’t really changed much, since the vocab I’ve learned here since doesn’t really show up in the stories I have.

If you’re interested in graded readers or parallel texts specifically and would like to talk to others who own or have read them, you might also want to check out this thread. You can ask questions about the books you’re looking at or find some resources to free or cheap stories that you can try out without committing to a whole graded reader.

Just jumping in and trying it is probably the best thing to do, though, especially if it’s something you’re excited to do.


I got notified because of the linking :wink:

I would recomend starting here: Free books – にほんごたどく
Free graded readers!

When? NOW! =D
If you can’t read the level zero yet, then try again in a few levels. they are free to read, so doesn’t hurt to try. Once you reach the point where you can read a whole graded reader without looking up words is the best feeling! Finally makes you feel like you are starting to get it =)

I do feel I have learned a huge amount through WaniKani though, so even with furigana every level helps (all the vocab and knowing what the kanji means). But since you are already doing Genki you might be ready for level zero even at your current WK level. Genki is in fact more important, get that grammar in :wink:
For native material I would recommend higher WK level unless you know a lot outside of WK.


What he suggested :grin:. I’ve started with a lvl 0 reader at about chapter 5 of Genki and, I think Lvl 7 at wanikani. But I honestly think that you can start earlier than that.

I think the Lvl 0 books use only the ~masu form and maybe the past tense and that’s it. Don’t feel intimidated!


Thank you all!


I started around level 6 or 7. I’ve been able to read the entire level 0 ASK readers fairly easily with that amount of Kanji knowledge from WK and from going through the first 4 chapters of Tae Kim.

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The sooner you start reading the better, really. Find some stuff to read and then give it a shot. A grade 0 book about fruits and what color they are will probably feel like you’re trying to read all of Ulysses, but do it anyway. Enjoy the pain. Then, after a month or two, go back and see how easy it is and how far you’ve come. Then try to read an impossibly difficult book meant for first graders to remind yourself how far you have left to go. Rinse and repeat.


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