Supplemental Reading Material to help you Learn to Read Japanese
The supplemental reading material recommended for readers of Learn to Read in Japanese, Volumes 2 and 3, can be found in two online resources: Satori Reader and Read in Slow Japanese. This reading material meets the following criteria: it includes romaji or kana equivalents of the kanji, it includes English translations, and it does not contain furigana, since furigana can interfere with the acquisition of reading fluency.
In order to ensure that these resources contain only kanji that you know or are learning, we introduce kanji in these books in the same order that they are introduced in the resources. As a result, when you have completed Chapter 2 of Volume 2, you will be able to read the first article in Satori Reader. When you have completed Chapter 3 of Volume 2, you will be able to read the second article, and so on. Likewise, when you have finished Chapter 48 of Volume 2, you will be able to read the first article in Read in Slow Japanese. When you have finished Chapter 50 of Volume 2, you will be able to read the second article, and so forth. Understandably, the authors of these resources charge nominal fees for access to their original work. If you are unable to afford those fees, you may consider this supplemental reading practice material optional.
To help keep your expenses down as you learn to read Japanese, Satori Reader is offering a discount code, good for 20% off the first three months, or 15% off the first year of a new subscription. To use this, first create an account on Satori Reader. Then, from the “Subscribe Now” screen (either during the signup process or later at any time), simply choose a Monthly or Annual subscription, enter the code where prompted and hit “Apply.” The page will immediately update to show the discounted price. You can then complete the purchase with the discount. The code is LTRJ-ZLWWTWAC.
News in Slow Japanese also offers some very reasonable rates, including a “non-recurring” option that never expires.
We hope that you will be able to subscribe to these two resources, at least briefly. You will almost certainly experience a thrill when you find that you are able to read the compelling Japanese text that they provide. You will probably want to save that text and re-read it several times. In addition, during the time that you subscribe, you will have a chance to listen to the audio versions of the articles, and you will be able to read the excellent explanatory material that accompanies them.
Below you will find samples of the first lessons from both online resources, reproduced with permission from the authors. I have formatted them in a way that should make it easy for you to read the Japanese text without inadvertently seeing the romaji, while still allowing you to locate explanatory material easily as you read. In this formatting scheme, the Japanese text appears in font size 14. After each line of Japanese text, there is a blank line. Then the romaji text appears in font size 8, supplemented by occasional explanations in parentheses which I have added.
Satori Reader does not provide romaji text. You may not need it, but I have used the Google Translate service to convert the Japanese text from Satori Reader to romaji text, as you can see in the sample.
Notice for Students who are Planning to Take the JLPT N3 Test
The JLPT testing organization does not release the exact kanji that are required for each level of the test, and various people are supplying their own estimates. According to one estimate that I saw, the JLPT N5 test requires knowledge of 103 kanji, and the N4 test requires knowledge of 181 kanj. All of these kanji are taught in Learn to Read in Japanese, Volume 1.
According to the same source, the JLPT N3 test requires knowledge of 580 additional kanji that are not taught in Volume 1. Volumes 1 and 2 of Learn to Read in Japanese teach 506 of those kanji. All of them are taught in Volume 3 of the series.