Suitable for beginner level students, Volume 1 level of the Japanese Graded Readers series is one of our most popular titles. Published in late 2006, this product is actullay a boxed-set of 5 booklets which comprise 5 stories with about 500-1,500 words each. The included CD audio companion includes the full-text read by Japanese native speakers.
Japanese Graded Readers Level 1 - Volume 1 is designed for a proficiency level equivalent to Japanese Langauge Proficiency Test Level N4~N5. The set of stories utilizes a vocabulary of about 350 words. The grammar points include: ~desu, ~masu, present tense, past tense, question form, ~tai, etc.
The stories are beautifully illustrated, and furigana (small kana written beside kanji to show the pronunciation) are included on all the kanji.
(Volume 2 is also available.)
Click here for Level 1 sample page
By Zack Kaplan
Japanese Graded Readers Vol. 1 Level 1 contains text which equates to level four of the JLPT, however, it can be immediately useful to many learners, and chances are that if you are already searching for Japanese texts, then you are ready to let these stories start helping you. The stories make use of a mixture of sentences structures ranging from the very basic 'see spot run' format to more complex styles, which begin to test and teach more sophisticated linguistic patterns. The vocabulary itself is mostly basic with a few words that reach out of the box. If you know the basics in motions, seasons, emotions and nouns you should be alright. The text also requires an understanding of ~mas form, ~te form, past tense, present tense, the question form, tai form, desu and a few other basic conjugations. Each booklet in level one consists of roughly 350 words, and subjects range from basic to slightly more complex.
The kanji that is mixed into the text isn't an obstacle for beginning readers because all kanji have accompanying furigana, (so unfamiliar words can be pronounced and found with the help of a dictionary or the Internet) [But this reader is really designed so that you can infer the meaning of unknown words from the context of the story because the words are used repeatedly. --Max] while at the same time the text provides good practice for those familiar with the kanji within. For readers who are unfamiliar with many kanji, it's just as easy to forget there are kanji in the text as it is to forget that you are reading in Japanese as you move through the stories. It should be noted that these books contain no English. Of course, the pictures and context provided within should be more than enough to fill the comprehension breach and help kick you off the crutch of texts which supply English. These books help you down the road to thinking in Japanese, as well as reading in Japanese.
Each page consists of a rather affable illustration with several columns of overlaid text (just as one would find in a children's book.) The images help aid the reader in their understanding of the text, and help the reader fill in some words that they may be unfamiliar with. However, the images don't give away too much meaning; just because you understand the text doesn't mean you're being cheated.
The vocabulary you learn in the individual stories are repeated throughout the following tales, (often times) creating a fun environment in which the reader can easily pick up and keep new vocabulary and phrases. After using these books, it's hard to go back to old-fashioned vocabulary lists and sentence diagramming. It's a great way to really make new words your own and to cement old vocabulary as well as facilitate the quick use and comprehension of sentence structures and words that have several meanings.
These stories will really help you remember words, think in the language, and keep up with core vocabularies.
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Good for pleasure reading
These books are nice all-around. The illustrations are pretty and the stories interesting. The first one is a bit over-easy but by the third one it was more comfortably leveled without being too difficult to enjoy. The Hachiko story even made me tear up a little (but I'm a soft touch for pet stories!).
Excellent for beginners
This was the first book i purchased of the series, and I found i could understand all of the stories perfectly despite not knowing all of the words. An excellent chance to test my own knowledge of the language.
Just what I was looking for
I saw someone else with these readers, so I thought I'd try them out for myself, and they're perfect. It really helps with kanji since they have furigana, and also builds up some basic vocabulary.
This was the first set of readers I purchased and I was excited to discover that even though I didnt know all of the words, I could understand the stories. For the words I didnt know, I just looked them up in the dictionary and jotted them down to learn later.
The furigana is perfect for beginners and can be easily covered if needed.
Good intro level material
Great entry level material. I found I needed to use a dictionary infrequently. As others have the said, the pictures help you understand context a lot. They put furigana over ever Kanji instead of the first instance, which I found a nuisance, but you can just cover them with a bookmark as you read.