Number of words of reading for each level?

I know the number of known words to reach each level thanks to this page:

But how much reading would I need for each level?

I’m currently on Beginner 2 and it says I need 55700 words of reading, but how about the other levels? I just want to know the number so I have something to aim for. This is for Japanese btw.

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Your level at LingQ depends on number of Known words only, words of reading do not affect your level.

What Zoran said - it depends only on your known words, not on words of reading.

It also depends on what you are reading (among other things obviously), to know how much you need to read to get to a next level. e.g. for Japanese I’ve read 906k words and I’m at advanced 1. For French I’m almost advanced 2 - at 1 million words read.
Then again I started with knowledge of both languages, so I breezed through some of the earlier levels.

For estimates on how much you need to read to be able to read fluently, I’ve heard anything between 1.5 and 4 million words read depending on the person (I’m not there yet, so can’t confirm :slight_smile: ).


As zoran said, the levels only look at known words, but I think this is a mistake. There should be a combination of known words and words read as I believe words read is a better indicator than known words to really judge someone’s level (of course a minimum known words number is very important). By only using a known words count, this unfortunately pressures people into reading material that has higher unknown words than they probably should be reading. Just because you know lots of words doesn’t mean that you are a good reader (comprehension level) or can read with decent speed (reading with speed is better for listening comprehension than a slow reading ability with lots of known words). My own recommendation for levels using words read is roughly:

Beginner 1 = 50k
Beginner 2 = 100k
Intermediate 1 = 250k
Intermediate 2 = 500k
Advanced 1 = 1M
Advanced 2 = 3M


azarya, I’ve heard similar numbers. I think fluent reading (which is a subjective term because it depends highly on what you’re reading) is at least 3M and up to 10M words read. If a 300 page book has about 100k words, then 10M words read is 100 books. That’s considerable volume.


This is very close to the system I’d design. It is hard to make it one-size fits all as some languages have differences in what constitutes a “word” in how LingQ defines it. The important part to me is that it really does double between each level, and the number is going to be considerable for any language learned.

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At least 3M will give you an idea of how far have you come along and where will you need to go. This is a good number to aim for as you will be in a position to do a self-assessment of your true reading ability.


I agree. It does become difficult to compare required words read across languages. For example, in French there are lots of small words like prepositions, so the words read statistic feels inflated when I check my stats. However, French has lots of overlap between English and Spanish, and so it shouldn’t require as many words read to reach a certain level. On the other hand, Russian has much longer words which contain more information per word than romance languages. So Russian words read statistics feel low compared to how much information was processed (on the flip side, the known words statistic has to be higher than romance languages to account for this difference. It seems like the measure of language levels really comes down to total information processed which is a function of words read and known word counts). In the end I think the words read levels that I mentioned can be adjusted +/- 25% depending on the language and the learners language history.

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This is interesting. So to break through each level you’d have the words read as the primary way to break through each level, with a minimum amount of known words for each? This is good to keep in mind.

I was finding myself constantly pushing for all the unknown words, but it was burning me out a bit. That being said it’s probably good to rotate between the two (reading to push for new words, or reading over text with words that you already know)


Yep thanks. Yeah I know about the known words thing but was curious about the words that you want to aim for for each level.

Yea I started in a mindset where I was focused on “Known Words” until I realized that that isn’t something I can directly control. What I realized is I can control how much time I spend engaging with native content (primarily reading and listening). By setting goals like this and consistently hitting them you will be shocked at your progress. It’s also worth mentioning that a 1 million words read might seem staggering or almost impossible, but as you get used to the language and your reading speed increases each million words will be that much faster!

I think we need a mix of novelty and repeated content. That balance probably changes over time. Maybe it’s 99% repeated day 1, and 1% repeated day 1000. You will have diminishing returns reading the same content over and over again, especially in short succession. However never repeating content will mean there are low frequency words, patterns and concepts that you may never fully master.


Absolutely, the information density per set of characters delimited by a set of spaces or punctuation is going to be so variable. On the one hand you will have atomic analytical languages, and on the other you will have poly-synthetic languages where most sentences are just 1-2 “words”.

The only thing I’d be even more bullish on is I’d say +/- 50% or maybe even more. Though that is completely without data to support it. Maybe +/- 25% is enough to cover 80%+ of people’s experiences. I’d actually really be curious if anyone had any hard data correlating words read to proficiency or reading comprehension in an L2.

This was very helpful. Thanks! :slight_smile: