After 3 years I finally know enough to start being able to read books. The problem has always been finding graded readers in Japanese.
I started with a set of graded readers called 「レベル別日本語多読ラブリー」
These are very slim books that come in sets of five with a CD. Levels 1 and 2 I had no difficulty with. Level 3 is probably around my reading level and is a bit of a challenge. All the kanji have furigana so their readings aren’t a problem.
The idea is to read books in the same way you read books in English. without a dictionary and guessing the meaning of unknown words by their context. The system is based on The Extensive Reading Method. And this is where I got my idea to try to read 1,000,000 characters this year. (slightly easier than the 1 million English words target, as I’ll count each character, kanji or kana, rather than each word. Actually I’ll estimate the numbers of characters in any given book)
- Start reading from the lowest possible level.
- Don’t use a dictionary.
- Skip over unknown words and phrases.
- If a book becomes too difficult or boring, start another.
So with the confidence given to me by being able to read this readers, I’ve bought some childrens books at Adami Shobo in Soho and hope to document my progress here.