I’ve been reading my collection of very easy Japanese graded readers in recent weeks, and was very pleased to successfully order all the level 0 books from ask-books.com. This gives me a collection of 18 books in addition to the 3 level 0 books I had from NPO. I’m currently making my way through them.
My knowledge of Japanese is quite limited really: I learnt a bit from the Let’s Learn Japanese TV series, then from the first book of the Kimono Japanese language school text book, a short course based on the Japanese for Busy People textbook prior to a one-week visit to Japan, and then pretty much just doing extensive reading and occasionally revising my hiragana and katakana (and another short trip to Japan). So some of the level 0 books (and some level 1 which is the same vocabulary base) are roughly the right level for me. The others are perhaps a little difficult, however, the design of the books is such that you can follow the story via the pictures and pick up vocabulary by deduction a lot of the time.
While I try to avoid looking up words (well, actually I’m pretty lazy anyway), I allow myself to look up one or two words after I’ve read through a book to either confirm my guess at its meaning, or to make the meaning clearer where there were too many words I didn’t know to follow the story. I will sometimes reread the story after having done so – I’m only reading very short stories so this doesn’t take long.
Via the Japanese Level Up site I discovered another blog with information about extensive reading, together with reviews of Japanese graded readers, and also how to access an on-line library of Japanese picture books. Given that the tadoku competition favours new books over rereading, I’ll probably hit the picture books once I run out of my readers.