Thursday, February 25, 2010

5 Top Manga Reading Techniques

Enhance your enjoyment of reading manga 5 ways.

Thank you to everyone that came to the learn to read manga session I held recently on eduFire with Natuskigirl. It was a raging success. Many thanks also to readers that contributed to the development of the class through their comments and suggestions. I realise this blog has had a bit of manga mania over the last couple of weeks, things will return to normal soon I promise.

Before things do get back to normal I'd like to share with you the top 5 tips for enhancing your enjoyment of reading manga. These tips work just as well for reading things in Japanese other than manga, so please give them a shot. Let me know how well these techniques are working for you in the comments.

Learn to enjoy reading manga in 5 easy steps
  1. Don't read what you don't know: Spending too much time agonising over something you haven't learned isn't going to make reading any easier. Now is not the time to reach for a dictionary, it's only going to slow you down. The idea is to gather enough from the context to get a general idea of what is happening to the story.
  2. Recognise something? Read it again: There may be some kanji that you recognise but perhaps you are seeing them for the first time in a different compound or used in a different way. Read it again, but the moment you start to get hung up on getting it right, move on. It's alright to come back to it later, and chances are you'll see it repeated again somewhere else.
  3. Re-read before reaching for a reference: The first time you read something you'll be reading for gist, and not spending any time looking things up. The second time you may want to know a bit more detail based on the contextual clues you've picked up in the first reading. Before reading a third time try re-telling the story in your own words, as this helps prime you to pick up information that you would have otherwise missed. Only after the third reading should you reach for your dictionary.
  4. Keep your sessions short and fun: If it isn't fun, stop doing it. You can make things more fun by letting your imagination run wild, over short stretches. Choosing something you enjoy is just as important as choosing something of the right reading level.
  5. Save the best for your SRS, later: This is where you will need the most discipline, along with tip 3, if you spend too much time taking notes and note enough reading it will limit your flow. Only after you've completed a few passes should you choose a few expressions for your Spaced Repetiton Service. If you're not sure what you should be choosing to SRS Liz has a few good ideas.

Do you have manga mania?

There you have it! If you missed the session here are the slides and the full hours worth of recording. I'm really happy to be able to share my passion for manga with you and hope that you are excited about picking up the reading habit. Let me know how you go with these techniques in the comments, I'm sure other would like to know. Do you find reading tough going? Do these tips make it easier? Do you have a favorite style of manga?

During the class I ran a quick competition on my Facebook page where I gave away a copy of Pluto, there'll be more competitions in future classes. If you want to hear first about upcoming classes join the Rainbowhill Language Lab newsletter, or become a fan on Facebook.

Thanks for reading, I mean that.
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