Hello fellow language learners, I am LordSilent, an AJATTeer who participated in the original “International L2 Reading Contest” and was surprised by the positive boost that reading had on his Japanese in all areas, not just reading. Inspired by this, I kept reading and decided to create what is now known as ReadMOD (Read More or Die) or the 多読 Contest, to share the wonders of reading in your target language with other learners. The words below were written by Lan’dorien.
The human mind is made for nothing more than for using language.
No, that’s not quite right. The human mind is made for nothing more than for communicating with other minds: and language is the tool that it instinctively, automatically uses.
If language then is a tool to a purpose, it makes sense to approach it the same way any crafts-person or artist uses a tool. The pianist tunes and maintains their piano, but doesn’t sit down to press keys; they sit down to make music. The luthier sharpens their tools, but doesn’t set out to push planes and pull saws; they set out to build a guitar. The cyclist adjusts and oils their bike, but doesn’t set out to turn pedals and shift gears; they set out to go for a ride. Past the basics, the use of the tool improves not as a result of concentrating on the tool, but of using the tool for its intended purpose over and over again and letting the natural intelligence of the body and mind refine the process by itself. The human is an amazing creature that will adapt in every way to be more suited to what it is asked to do regularly.
If then you want to be better at a language, simply process more of that language, at regular intervals and in large quantities; and what better way to do that than reading? You are in control of both the pace and the quantity – no one is rushing you and no one is holding you back – you can understand as deeply or broadly as you wish – and there is always, always more text waiting for you, more authors with things they wish to tell you, more worlds waiting to open themselves to you.
The 多読 (たどく, extensive reading) contest has some considerable history already, and last year participants read a total of 228023 pages. Another month’s round begins January 1st. Registration is simple, and explained here. Many languages are supported, and if you like, you can read more than one. You can view scores on the web app, and can report your reading either there or using Twitter. Most pages at the end of the month wins! (the same prize as everyone else, but with a cooler number.)
Now, yes, if you are a beginner you are not going to defeat an intermediate, nor if you are an intermediate are you likely to defeat an advanced learner; but you can pick your own adversaries, your own classes, and have excellent competition between each other; and most importantly you can compete against your own previous bests. Considered as motivation, this contest is best after having participated for several rounds or even several years – looking back on your score and seeing how far you’ve progressed. And you will progress. Put in the time and it’s guaranteed.
I look forward to reading together with all of you!
Additional instructions and information can be found at readmod.wordpress.com. If you have any questions you can comment on the blog, send a message to @lordsilent, or contact me on the irc.rizon #ajatt.