Studying sentences is one of the central pillars of the JALUP method. However, when you decide to enter sentence creation on your own, finding and inputting sentences isn’t the easiest thing to do. You could read a block of text and copy and paste lines from it into Anki, but that takes a lot of time and can be boring. You could use an eReader to highlight sentences as you read, export the highlights, and then import them into Anki. Or, you could use Incremental Reading.
Incremental Reading allows us to read a block of text and mark off sentences as we go. Those marked sentences are automatically converted into Anki cards, which we can then edit and study. No need to copy and paste, and no need to bother with finding eReaders and figuring out how to export highlights from them.
As a cherry on top, Incremental Reading offers a queue and shuffler. When you get bored with one piece of text, Incremental Reading will show you another. No more precious few seconds wondering what to read next; continuing to read has been made easier, allowing us to read more.
Sound good? Then let me show you how to get started.
First, open the Anki window. Click on Tools->Add-Ons->Browse and Install. When a new window opens up, click ‘Browse.’ This will take you to the Anki Add-Ons page. Search for an Add-On that begins with ‘Incremental Reading.’
Click on the link, then scroll down to the ‘Download’ section. Copy the numerical code into Anki, then click ‘OK.’
After waiting for the Add-On to install, restart Anki. To check if the Add-On properly installed, open up the Tools dialogue box. If you see labels for ‘Incremental Reading Organizer’ and ‘Incremental Reading Scheduler Options,’ you’re on your way!
First thing’s first, go to Tools->Preferences and make sure that ‘Strip HTML when pasting text’ is enabled (it should be by default). If you don’t do this, HTML formatting will appear when you do your reviews. Not only will these cards override your model formatting, they’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
When you’re done, click on the ‘Close’ button.
Next, I highly recommending creating two storage decks separate from your main deck: one for Incremental Reading cards, and one for the sentences extracted from Incremental Reading. Incremental Reading reviews are very different from normal reviews, and should be kept separate. Furthermore, I’ve found that trying to look up definitions and create cards while reading breaks my workflow too much to be enjoyable. To create a deck, click on the ‘Create Deck’ button on the bottom of Anki’s main screen.
Now, to configure Incremental Reading, click on Edit->Create Add Cards Shortcut in the main Anki header.
- In the ‘Deck’ field, choose the deck that you want to extract cards into. I highly recommend you select your storage deck.
- In the ‘Model’ field, choose the model of your Japanese sentence cards.
- In the ‘Paste Text to Field’ field, make sure that you’re pasting text to ‘Expression’ instead of ‘Reading’ or ‘Meaning.’
- The Key Combination field is pretty self-explanatory. Input the keys that you’d like to press in order to extract cards
- The color field accepts basic colors (red, blue, yellow) and hexadecimal color codes (#99ff66).
- If you’re doing what I suggest and will edit cards on the fly, make sure that the ‘Add Cards’ and ‘Edit Current’ boxes are left unchecked.
- If you want to disable a set of keystrokes, put in the Key Combination of the shortcut that you’d like to disable, then uncheck the ‘Enable’ box.
When you’re done, click on the ‘Save’ buttom.
Now, we need some text. If you’re just starting out, here is where you would break out your digital textbook with text that can be copied and pasted. If you are more advanced, here is where you break out your webpages or eBooks.
For this demonstration, I will be using Japanese Wikipedia’s articles on Anki and the Japanese Language. Here’s how it looks in practice:
- Make sure that the type of the note is IRead2. If the type isn’t IRead2, click on the button in the red rectangle, select IRead2 when a new window pops open, then click on ‘Choose.’
- Make sure that the deck is your Incremental Reading deck (which I have named ‘Incremental Reading’). Again, if the deck isn’t ‘Incremental Reading,’ click on the button in the blue rectangle, select ‘Incremental Reading’ when a new window pops open, then click on ‘Choose.’
- The Title field is self-explanatory; just put whatever title you feel is best.
- Paste the text you want to extract from into the Text field.
- The Source field is optional. If you’re adding multiple cards, whatever you put in ‘Source’ will automatically be filled in for the next cards.
- Enter whatever Tags you’d like here. Any cards extracted from this block of text will share these tags.
When everything looks good, click on the ‘Add’ button.
Now, select your ‘Incremental Reading’ deck, and press ‘Study Now.’
If the text size is too small for your liking, you can press Ctrl and + simultaneously to zoom in, and Ctrl and – simultaneously to zoom out.
To extract text, first select it by clicking and holding the mouse, then press the key combination you entered in the ‘Adding’ section. If everything goes according to plan, your window should look this.
If for some reason you want to remove the highlighting, press the little # at the end of the sentence to remove it. This might happen, for example if you’re splitting a sentence into two halves that share a word between them.
When you’re done extracting and want to switch to another block of text, click on ‘Show Answer’ (or press Spacebar).
After pressing ‘Soon’ or ‘Later’ (hotkeys: 1 and 2), your next piece of text should pop up, if you have added any others.
If you’re finished with a piece of text, delete it by pressing on the ‘Delete’ key or by clicking on More->Delete Note.
Open up the Browse window and select your Storage deck. If everything worked, you should see something like this:
Note that the tag – Japanese_Wikipedia – was automatically copied to the extracted sentence. Also note that the text Expression field has a font size that’s a bit too big. That’s okay; that’s simply because we zoomed in. If you select and deselect the Expression field, the field will revert to normal size.
You will most likely do this anyway in order to copy and paste a vocabulary word into your dictionary of choice.
After filling out the Meaning field to your liking, select the card(s) in the Browse window and click Change Deck. When a new window pops up, select your main deck, then click ‘Move Cards.’
If all goes according to plan, the new card will appear in your reviews when you go to study.
Once you’ve reached this point, you are done!
Although the initial configuration is a hassle, the time saved in adding cards will more than make up for the startup cost. In addition, having text ‘on hand’ to read is extremely helpful. I have absent-mindedly stopped reviewing and switched over to Incremental Reading many times. With Incremental Reading, I read more, which then lets me add more, which lets me learn more, which makes me read more, in a virtuous cycle of Japanese domination.
If you have any problems with the configuration, don’t hesitate to leave comments. I will attempt to troubleshoot as well as I can.
College student. Frequented JALUP even when he was studying Mandarin. Spends too much time stressing about Japanese and too little time studying Japanese.