This baby ate my brain.
Yeah, this one. If you have any maternal or paternal instincts I imagine you’re thinking “No wonder she went off the rails! That looks like a high-maintenance little cutie pie.” And if you don’t, perhaps you’re thinking “Yep, that sure is another new human all right. So, about that tadoku?”
About that tadoku.
I found out I was pregnant on a weekend trip to Seattle. I had taken a couple of my favorite Zorori books with me and I still haven’t finished them. It was my first pregnancy and not only did it take a lot out of me it required a lot of reading in English as I educated myself on what form of fruit the fetus might be compared to each week, exactly what pain management options were available during childbirth and how I would be keeping the resulting infant alive afterwards. I’ve been lucky, as my pregnancy, birth experience and time with the baby have all been smooth and altogether the happiest time of my life. It’s only since the end of December, though, that I’ve been regularly getting a full night’s sleep.
Somehow that sleep is the difference between a Liana who has vague ideas of doing things someday, perhaps when I’m in the nursing home, and a Liana who might actually get some reading done. I feel like myself again for the first time since I started this adventure! It’s not that I have had no free time, it’s more that, you know how you get in a flow state where it’s like everything is coming together and you’re concentrating and learning and having fun? Being on call with this little guy constantly creates the opposite state of mind.
When I started extensive reading, my goal was to read a million words, and I estimate I got to 370,000 or so. I felt like I was somewhere between a second and fourth grade reading level, and I’d started tackling a few more difficult books. I don’t feel like I can pick up where I was immediately, so I was thinking I’d try a warmup with some picture books from Ehon Navi. When I first wrote about them there were maybe 350 books available, and now there’s 813! There are probably libraries in Japan that don’t have 813 picture books. It’s an astonishing resource, and I’d like to use it to warm up and make it a little more accessible to beginning readers at the same time. Before, I wasn’t able to read them because of their system requirements, but now it seems that Firefox on the Mac will let me. (There is also a file floating around with screenshots of some of the books. Out of respect for the awesomeness of the website it only seems fair to me to read them online if I can, but if anyone else is having problems…)
I’m feeling ambitious now that I’m caught up on sleep, and there’s so many other things I want to do, but for now I’m going to try reading and writing about some of these Ehon Navi books. Long-term, I’d like to change the whole format of my site, I don’t think it’s very easy to sort out information with the way it is now. But in the short term I’ll settle for reading a couple of picture books!
Registration walkthrough and information about EhonNavi
I added EhonNavi to my online resources page, but I wanted to make sure that you all saw it! I’ve known about the site for a long time, but I thought it was just for rating picture books and finding new ones; it turns out that it also has over 350 full picture books available for free!
From the home page, click the link on the right that says 全ページ試し読み to see the available books; click a book and find the green icon that says 全ページ試し読みする to read it. You have to be a member to read them; if you haven’t signed up already you’ll be prompted when you try to access a book. (Keep reading for my registration walkthrough.)
You can only read a book once, and apparently they’re serious about that: if you reach the end of the book, then try to go back to the beginning, everything will be pixelated. If there’s an error of some sort (the program crashes, etc.) you should be able to re-access the book, as long as you do so within 15 minutes. Once you have read the book, the option to read it will disappear, but you can still read the limited preview.
The recommended OS is Microsoft Windows XP Home Service Pack 3, with Internet Explorer 8.0 or Firefox 3.6 and Flash Player 10 installed. It may not work as well with WindowsXP Service Pack 2 or Mac. (I have a Mac and it loads sometimes, but when it does most of the images are pixelated; with Windows XP Service Pack 2, it loads up to 99% and hangs. So at the moment I can’t use it.)
The first row of books are new arrivals, the second is ranked by popularity and the third is sorted by sales. Underneath that, there are recommendations for babies (赤ちゃんにおすすめ), children 3 and older who aren’t in school yet (３歳から未就学児におすすめ), elementary school students and older (小学生以上におすすめ), and ones for adults as well (大人にもおすすめ). Underneath that, you can also choose by writer, theme and so on.
I hope that this will be a great resource for those of you who can access it! I think it might be the very best thing currently available online for beginners, too. I’ll welcome any reviews or information about any of the books, and probably make a separate page for that. There is a lot to explore on EhonNavi, and I’ve only just started really looking into it, so if you find anything else that might be of particular interest to extensive readers, please post a comment or e-mail me!
With over 350 fun-looking books and clearly marked difficulty levels, now there’s no excuse not to try tadoku! (Except, of course, if you aren’t running Windows XP SP3…) Happy reading!
Registration page. The only required fields are the ones with the red buttons that say 必須 (required); you can leave the others blank.
And then go back to the main page and click 全ページ試し読み!
Choose a book, then on the book’s page, click 全ページ試し読みする:
- Extensive reading is known as 多読, or tadoku in Japanese. To try it, start with very easy books (ones with no more than two or three unknown words per page), and follow these principles:
1. Don’t look up words in the dictionary while reading.
2. Skip over parts you don’t understand.
3. If you aren’t enjoying one book, toss it aside and get another.
Find something to read!
Hundreds of free books and stories online
Local bookstores and libraries
Buying new and used books online
For more information, read "What Is Extensive Reading?" and "Classification System."
To learn more about Kunihide Sakai, who developed the three principles of tadoku and has worked to popularize it in Japan for years, read this interview with him.
Finally, for more than you ever wanted to know about why I believe extensive reading is worth your time, read my tadoku manifesto.
Superfluous StatsBooks read: 303
Word count (since starting the blog): 380,500
- About Myself
- Books from my own collection
- Classification System
- Detailed Reviews of Graded Readers
- Detailed Reviews of Level 2 Books
- Detailed Reviews of Level 3 Books
- Detailed Reviews of Level 4 Books
- Detailed Reviews of Level 5 Books
- EhonNavi Books
- Extensive Reading Basics
- Extensive Reading Materials Online
- Extensive Reading Paper Summaries and Notes
- Extensive Reading Resources
- Illustrated Reference Books
- Japanese Language Learning Resources
- Mini Reviews of Level 1 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 2 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 3 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 4 Books
- Mini Reviews of Level 5 Books
- Mini-Reviews of Level 6 Books
- Nikkei Bunko Library Books
- Picture Books
- Pierce County Library Books
- Reading in a Foreign Language
- Seattle Library Books
- Short Stories
- Society and Culture
- Tacoma Library Books
- Tadoku Contest
- Weekly Updates
- Extensive Reading group
- Goodreads Tadoku Group
- Overview of the "Start with Simple Stories" method
- Read More or Die
- Reading in a Foreign Language
- Tadoku Livejournal Community
- tadoku.org (in Japanese)
- Talk to the Clouds
- The Extensive Reading Foundation
- The Extensive Reading Pages
- 日本多読研究会 (Japanese Graded Readers Research Group)
Japanese Language Learning Resources