When did you start reading?

Just wondering at what level of WK you started reading?

Also would be awesome if there was a list of books sorted by WK levels!


I started before doing WK.

It is a bit hard to organize books by WK level because WK doesn’t use the usual categorizing, and doesn’t even touch grammar.


I also started before wanikani.
Books are hard for me to read because of the grammar.
Now at level 26 I recognize a lot of kanji in the books thanks to wanikani. Takes the edge off.

It’ll be very hard to read at first but worth it.

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There absolutely is such a list. :slight_smile:

Somewhere… :sweat_smile: I know there was a list that mapped certain graded readers (and perhaps other books that were similar in level) to WK level, but I seem to have lost the link. I’ll keep looking but hopefully the mention will jog someone’s memory.

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This one?


Edit: as for the question, I started my first proper reading project that I slogged all the way through around mid level 20s, I think. With grammar being somewhere in N4 on Bunpro. But I also watched Cure Dolly so there were probably some N3 points in there that helped when reading.

At the start of the VN, I understood about 5-10% at any given time (no way to quickly mine unknown kanji / words apart from manually looking it up). By the end, having continued WK and Bunpro every day, I understood 90+%

I hope you’ll find something fun to read! It can be a really tough start, but it’ll get better. ^^


I think I found what I was thinking of, although it appears to have gone offline, probably for good. The rest of the post is quite useful though, so I recommend checking it out.

Edit: Nope still not what I was thinking of.

Hmm. If it helps, it looks like a txt version of an excel spreadsheet and had a rather plain list. Books on the left column, wk level for 90% (or something similar) kanji recognition on the right

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That one’s before my time, but it looks quite useful as well!

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Reading what?

Textbook sentences: before wk
NHK News Easy: around lvl 5
Manga: around lvl 25
Novels: around lvl 45

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Something must be wrong with me, then :scream::rofl::rofl:

As for the thread’s question: haven’t started proper reading yet. I tried before, but there were still too many unknown kanji and grammar for my liking. So now I’m personally gonna wait until I finish N4 grammar first (plus some more levels of WK)

Why is that? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
I never said it was easy! Plus, I’ve been studying Japanese for a year before starting WK (youtube, lingodeer, tae kim).

Actually looking back at my first experience with NHK News Easy, it was pretty difficult. I had the most basic questions and it was taking me time to work throug an article.


I think I started reading around level 15? Pretty difficult at first but you get used to it :muscle:

It’s not quite what you’re looking for but https://learnnatively.com/ ranks native material and graded readers based on how difficult they are to read for language learners. So some of the books ranked as easy might be worth checking out at a low WK level :smiley:

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Textbook sentences/small passages: Before starting WK
NHK News Easy: Level 7
Children’s picture book (Doggy Detectives): Level 15
Children’s novel (Kiki’s Delivery Service): Level 25

I would say choose your reading material mostly based on grammar knowledge, not WK level. :slightly_smiling_face:


I started reading pretty early on, but it was around N4 level grammar knowledge and level 30ish WaniKani that it felt like I actually knew what I was doing. Before that it would take hours just to get through a couple of pages, but around that level I started being able to pick up beginner-level material and understand 70-80% without having to look stuff up.

I don’t “read” any books, but I do skim through manga chapters written in Japanese occasionally. Most of my natural language intake happens through listening anyways (mostly JP VTubers).

I would argue that it’s important you don’t read something just because you feel the need to read something to improve. Read something because you’re genuinely interested in the content, not because it’s a homework assignment. Don’t approach reading a novel like a language exam.

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I started around 25 maybe with yotsubato

Around level 30 I moved on to VNs meant for adults. Kids stuff was just too boring for me.

I started reading manga at level 7 or so. It wqs painful, but it definitely was a case of not knowing enough words. If you use a dictionary alongside the reading, and maybe even mine the vocab, then you can usually understand what is being said.

lvl 25 N4
Still difficult to read today though, because of grammar, small set phrases, slang and stuff like that.
A breeze for the kanji part though. infomercial voice "Thank you Koichi ! :smiley::+1: "

as for novels, I still can’t figure out what’s going on in any of them (semi-kidding)

lvl 2, but had some vocab under my belt, so more like lvl 10, still had to look up almost every word.
luckily furigana makes kanji look up a non issue, knowing grammar beforehand through bunpro (n5+n4) was extremely helpful.
there is a master list of book clubs here somewhere, if you check out what the book clubs read at their level, you might get a small but useful list.

I started trying to read text in Japanese before I started learning the language :sweat_smile:. As you might guess, it did not go particularly well, which is why I’m here on WaniKani!

I still have yet to read an entire manga or a more involved Japanese text (though I’m planning on attempting my first manga with the absolute beginners book club next month), but I do quite a bit of reading small bits of text on twitter and other places, as well as reading the text in Minna no Nihongo.

I think it’s never too early to start, though how much you get out of it depends on how willing you are to struggle through not understanding things. My current strategy is very passive-immersion-heavy, where I’m exposed to a lot of Japanese text and speech and I don’t even try to comprehend all of it or even most of it. I just focus on little pieces that have words or kanji I’ve learned already, or occasional individual sentences that I have a strong desire to understand more thoroughly than I can get through machine translation.

So far, it has been a really good strategy that has allowed me to apply a lot of what I’m learning in WK and in my textbook while avoiding getting too frustrated by material that is far beyond my current ability. But I think this mainly works because it’s the same content I was reading and watching before I started learning the language, so I haven’t really tried to change my media consumption habits specifically to add material for study purposes.

Generally, I think the stronger your motivation to access the content, the easier it will be to push through the frustration. If your reading material is very uninteresting to you, it’ll probably need to be easier for you to read. But if you find something that you really love, your desire to understand it will help motivate you to get through more difficult texts.

As others have said, the main obstacle is more your grammar knowledge than your kanji knowledge, as a lot of low-level text has furigana anyway. So WK levels aren’t a very useful benchmark for evaluating ease of reading, since everyone is at a different level of familiarity with grammar.

I tried at various stages to read, but it only took off a few months ago. I jumped right into manga, instead of graded readers.