JLPT3 Kanji by Examples
3級編 例文で学ぶ漢字と言葉 – 西口 光一 (著) （スリーエーネットワーク）
These books could do with snappier titles. What we have here is another learn to read and write kanji book. The difference is this is the first one I’ve found that specifically covers kanji for JLPT and the vocabulary for JLPT. And it does this through reading passages. That’s what really inticed me to buy it.
It’s different from how I’ve usually seen kanji books.
In each unit, first there is about a page long passage to read. In this the kanji will have furigana and the vocabulary and grammar are at a suitable level. Then there is the usual practice sheet giving stroke order and a model kanji to copy. However instead of giving on-yomi and kun-yomi it uses words from the reading passage and those specific readings. It doesn’t give the English here. Then there are brief notes in Japanese about the vocabulary. Each unit also has a worksheet of reading and writing exercises. It has pleasant illustrations and is very nicely designed and laid out. Kanji not from JLPT3 are marked as such.
Lastly there is a full index of JLPT kanji with English meanings, on-yomi, kun-yomi and JLPT3 vocabulary that uses those kanji. Finally I have a definitive list I can put into my flashcard program. And there are also several tests at the end of the book.
This isn’t really a book to learn japanese from scratch. The book specifically recommends that you have finished an elementary course of study or are halfway through one. I suppose otherwise you won’t have the grammar or an understanding of the kana vocabulary.
The first two sections cover the 284 JLPT3 kanji which includes the JLPT4 kanji. They also cover 508 kanji words using these kanji. Most of the reading is in section 2 following the story of I-san and her friends in Japan. The last section introduces 131 JLPT2 kanji; probably because they are necessary to use some words properly. I suspect if JLPT3 is your goal you could probably skip Section 3 for now.
It’s probably at least a days work to cover a unit. Even if you have more time I doubt it would be useful to do more than one unit in a day. I estimate the JLPT3 part of the book would require at least 24 hours work over 2 months in order to learn to read the characters consistently. Writing would need more practice and review and take longer. Unfortunately the publishers didn’t include stroke order information but they made an accompanying web site with animated stroke orders.
Time to get started!