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Aug 12, 2012

Why reading before bed could save you from burnout

For me, reading was the key to learning Japanese. A good story would grip me and keep me coming back, even though the actual process of reading would quickly tire me. As a college student attending courses full-time and working a part-time job, it was often difficult to find the time to read. For some reason I thought that I'd magically find reading time if I just kept working, but it never happened. The I realized the truth...

I needed to make that reading time for myself.

I tried to find periods of time during the day to read, but would usually get distracted by other things and not get around to it or would make very little progress. Eventually, I found something that worked - reading in bed for an hour before going to sleep.

Why you should read before sleeping.

Reading at night was great. Instead of being work, it was a relaxing and enjoyable way to stay connected with Japanese. I didn't fuss over adding everything I saw during this time into my Anki deck, instead jotting down a word here and there on some scrap paper to add the next morning.

Despite the lax mood with which I approached this reading, it definitely helped me with my Japanese. For one thing, it served as a daily reminder of my progress with the language. It also provided those few words each night to boost vocabulary. Reading also reinforced all of the things I had already learned. Plus, reading Japanese right before going to sleep meant that I'd drift off with my head filled with the language. But most importantly, it made Japanese fun.

That's not to say that a serious approach to learning Japanese is a bad thing, but it's so easy to get burned out when you only focus on efficiency and maximizing productivity. Taking an hour each day to read helped me to relax and unwind with the language - reminding me that I didn't have to become a fanatic about adding sentences in order to learn.

So give it a try.

Go to bed a bit early and relax with a volume of manga, a novel, or a newspaper/magazine. Don't worry about looking up every word that you don't understand, instead focus on enjoying yourself. Give yourself another reason to do your reviews and additions the next day. Trust me, it'll help.

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1 comment:

  1. Do you add all the vocab you find from different places to the same deck?

    I'm asking, because right now my main vocab deck is almost entirely from Genki 1 & what I have so far from 2. Right now I'm going through Yotsuba and finding a ton of vocab I haven't run into yet. Should I just throw what I find into there or would making a separate deck be more appropriate?

    I guess this could be more of a preference thing, but I'm curious as to how you organize.