Hi, my name is Liana Kerr. I’m 29 years old and live in Tacoma, Washington with my husband Brian Kerr and our two cats. I work as a rater for the writing portion of the TOEFL iBT, and when I’m not studying Japanese, I’m often drawing paper dolls, playing video games, cooking or watching movies. I volunteer at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium doing miscellaneous office work (and not feeding the polar bears, don’t get the wrong idea), and I’ve recently started organizing the Tacoma Japanese Language and Culture Meetup Group.

I studied Japanese for three years in college, but studied and used the language only intermittently for several years after I graduated. I’ve been interested in extensive reading, or tadoku (多読) since some of my friends on Lang-8 told me about their experiences with it in late 2009; I started trying to do extensive reading in spring of 2010, but I started focusing on it (and finally stopped using the dictionary) around the end of the same year, a few months after we moved to Tacoma. I follow the guidelines my friends use, loosely translated from Kunihide Sakai’s tadoku.org:

1. Don’t look up words in the dictionary.
2. Skip over parts you don’t understand.
3. If you aren’t enjoying one book, toss it aside and get another.

My goals are to read a million words, to read all of the Japanese children’s books in the Tacoma library system and to read my copy of 三国志. I hope to someday be able to read Japanese as quickly as I can read English. I also consider extensive reading one of the most valuable methods of language learning I’ve ever come across, so I hope to help others who are learning Japanese and may be interested in extensive reading.

I have a M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Eastern Michigan University and am fascinated by the process of language learning, so I hope to use this blog to describe and categorize books that should be helpful to extensive readers learning Japanese, summarize and discuss papers having to do with extensive reading, particularly as it relates to Japanese, and describe my own experience as a language learner.

Feel free to about anything having to do with extensive reading, Japanese or language learning!


14 Responses to About Liana

  1. さかい@tadoku.org says:




  2. Liana says:


    これからもtwitterで楽しいことについてたくさん話しましょう ♪

  3. Hello Liana,
    I just happened upon your site and was very surprised to find a link to my blog here. Thank you very much! I checked out some posts and they have changed how I approach extensive reading. I have added a link to your blog to my site as well. Good luck on your journey to fluency!

  4. Liana says:

    Hi Koyami,
    Thanks for linking to me! ^^ I’d be interested to hear how the changes you make affect your progress — I hope you write about it by and by! Good luck to you too :)

  5. Bob says:

    Lianna, Thank you for putting this blog together. I looks like an excellent resource for all levels. Being able to find different levels of books online is very helpful.

  6. Liana says:

    Thank you, I hope you find it helpful! ^^

  7. 1) Why Japanese teachers of English are the hardest to convince about the merits of tadoku.

    This is a big topic which would need a few thousand words if discussed in full, so let me just enumerate some of the problems teachers have with tadoku.

    * Teachers of English are the hardest nuts to crack because they have semi-instinctive resistance to tadoku, which is against everything they have believed in all along: use of a dictionary, translation into Japanese, vocab building through sheer memorization, focus on grammar, evaluation by tests and exams, among other things.
    * They think they are proficient in English thanks to the conventional methods described above, and they expect their students to follow their own steps. We all know the kind of disaster that results, don’t we?
    * Most teachers blame students for not achieving the proficiency they think they themselves have reached. Very few think that it’s not the students but the conventional methods that are at fault.
    * So, tadoku is only accepted by teachers who have tried everything in their arsenal and have seen no visible improvement in their students.

    Liana, do send me further questions re my answers above, ok?

    Answers to your other questions will follow.

  8. Liana says:

    I just realized you posted this on the “about liana” page and not on the interview, so I added it to the interview itself. Thank you for answering! :)

  9. 優子 says:


  10. Amity says:

    I used this method instinctively between my first and second years of college French and became a very fluent reader very rapidly. I’ve been using it in a very, very sporadic way for Japanese after two years of college classes from which I took away frustratingly little. My favorite books are the Yotsubato series by Azuma Kiyohiko, and I just discovered Kagaku no tomo, which led me to your blog. It’s great to see this method outlined, however basically, as an official and legitimate approach to language learning. I’m very definitely still having difficulty with Level 1 texts, but after looking at your blog, I’m hopeful that if I step my reading up a notch, there’s hope for eventual fluency.

  11. Duong Thi Mai Huong says:

    I am very happy to read yuor blog. I am studying in Victoria university for a M-TESOL. I am doing research about ER so I would be very gradeful if you can share with me some information about this

  12. Christine says:

    I really love your site. Thank you so much for a great resource for becoming better at reading in Japanese. I was not aware of this practice of “extensive reading”. But it makes a lot of sense. It’s been so long since I “studied” English since it is not first language/not spoken at home but having studied it since elementary school, high school when all the vocab/grammar is taught I’ve forgotten how much actually went into becoming fluent in English. I must have read hundreds of books and written thousands of sentences before being able to read English at the speed I read at now. I think by focusing on volume of reading without being bogged down with the dictionary means subconsciously, your brain gets used to seeing the same things over and over. The initial hardships in understanding grammar/sentence structure or colloquialisms diminish..and then the dictionary can be used to learn new words.

  13. Christine says:

    Forgot to ask you. Do you recommend learning the 2000 joyo kanji first, and then starting to do extensive reading? Or would you recommend learning the couple of hundred Kanji at each grade level and then getting into extensive reading for that grade level–something like the graded reader? I feel like tackling the 2000 joyo kanji in one shot means that it will not be as useful when actually starting to read because there’s a chance the kanji will not register in my mind because the only time I would have seen it is during the “memorization” period?

  14. Jen says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for your blog, it is really, really useful for me!

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