The first Tadoku of 2013 is over! That month went by so fast. I am really impressed with the records people have made this round, many breaking over one thousand pages a month. Definitely a huge congrats to them! I believe I stayed in the middle with around six hundred or so pages, and I’m quite happy with those results. I am sure I could have done more, but that’s for the next round 😉 For now I’d like to reflect on what this round meant to me, and why I still firmly believe Tadoku is the greatest passive aggressive challenge available to language learners.

What This Round Meant

This is the first Tadoku round I’ve done while working my full-time job and being a full-time graduate student. So, my time was quite limited. To me, this Tadoku round was more to see what else I could squeeze into my already packed day. I tried to limit my updates to materials I read for fun, and less that I had to read (be it for school or translation work, etc).

Once again, Tadoku proved that you can always find a way–and the time–to work in reading in your target language. “Busy-ness” isn’t really a good enough reason; and to be harsh, it’s really just an excuse. We have daily obligations, such as work, but we are only as busy as we make ourselves. So why not re-evaluate your time and busy yourself with something fun in your L2?

For the curious, my daily schedule is as follows:

6:40-7:30am (wake up, shower, get dressed, breakfast, catch the bus)
7:30-9:00am (travel time, arrive at office)
9:00am-6:00pm (work, 1.5 hour lunch break)
6:00-8:00 (travel time, arrive home)
8:00-8:30 (dinner)
8:30-sleep (free)
Weekends (free)

Often that “free” time is often not very “free” and is taken up by studying–reviewing articles, studying Japanese/Chinese, organizing thesis, etc. However, there was still plenty of time I could squeeze in. Such as reading while on the bus instead of sleeping through traffic, or reading during my lunch break. There’s also great variation each day, some days I would work late or have errands and chores come up cutting more into my free time. In essence, “life happens”. Yet I still read 600 pages this month. So can you.

Why Tadoku is Important

Tadoku to me is not important for the challenge part, but rather for motivating me to find the nooks and crannies within my daily schedule where I can read something, even if only for a few minutes. Every little bit helps, and as Lan pointed out in this blog post on Tadoku, you’ll find it benefiting other areas of your language learning as well (unfortunately my organ and piano happened to both be on loan at the time).

And, as I said before, I find reading acts as its own SRS:

The text, then, acts like an SRS system for itself. That is, the text, as you read, will automatically reinforce the words that you’ve already looked up at the start. As long as you have a good idea of what they mean, you’ll see a wide range of uses for it in context.

Even if you don’t Tadoku, it is still a good idea to go back and take a look at your schedule. Where can you fit some time in to read? Play a video game? Do anything fun in your L2–the key being fun. Don’t make it a chore; instead fit some L2 fun time into your daily schedule.

It’ll work wonders.