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Hiragana and katakana for kids

Japan With Kids - Forums: Education in Japan: Hiragana and katakana for kids
By Linda Gondo on Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 12:48 pm:

Can anybody recommend good books or flashcards for teaching kids hiragana and katakana to kids? I am specifically looking for ones that have some kind of mnemonic pictograpah association to help her remember the character. There are quite a few hiragana and katakana and kanji books that use mnenomic pictograph devices but so far I have only seen them for adults and I suspect some of the associations are too abstract for my four year old.
The Japanese hiragana and katakana books that I have researched so far don't use picograph association.
Since she is learning Japanese,I would also prefer her to learn the association in Japanese, not English. I guess one an example would be for the hiragana for "shi" to look like a tail or "shipo".
The Enlish alphabet equivalent for this kind of idea would be the "Superphonics" series by Ruth Miskin where "a" looks like an apple and "c" looks like a caterpillar for example was fantastic. Does anyone know if there something similar out there for learning kana?

By Peter E on Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 7:59 pm:

The normal method for learning them appears to be endless repetition.

There are some shogakusei books for hiragana/katakana that have cute pictures, "NEko" and how to write "NE", pretty much any bookshop should have these brightly coloured books.

They might be Kumon, I'm not sure since I can't find the one that was floating around the house.

I have yet to see anything such as you describe.

By Jellund on Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 8:58 pm:

There is a book called Kana Can Be Easy by K Ogawa which has some excellent mnenomic pictures for the kana. I've seen it at Kinokuniya and just checked amazon japan and it is there for 1,223 yen.

By Trupti Gandhi on Monday, May 16, 2005 - 8:00 am:

dear linda,

this is what we did.

me and my 7 yr old son learned hiragan and katakana fm kumon...

if you enroll your child in the native's japanese course they do have options for the kindergarten kids... i have seen those and have liked it... my son started off with the course for gaikokujins.. as he reads english... but now he is changed into native's course skipping the part for the KG kids.... it's really pictorial... he is right now learning to read more rapidly... and is increasing his vocab everyday for the language.... and repitition makes sure you learn to retain... we also have kana can be easy book... it's really nice but can not say if it will work for the 4 yr old... my daughter is learning hiragana fm the music kind of - press the button book (i do not know what are these books called)... it has a whole table of basic hiragana... the battery almost lasts upto your child remembers all the characters and upto even later... it feels ike a toy and they like it.... it is available for something like 700 to 1000yen depending upon the publisher and is available at all the supermarket book sections...

i also bought a chart published by kumon and put it under the dining table transperent cover... and it worked wonders for the kids rather then putting it up on a wall... my daughter even traced with the pencil over the plastic cover to try to write it... all these even when i have not told her to learn it....

hope this ideas help you....

best of luck!!

By Linda Gondo on Tuesday, May 24, 2005 - 9:30 am:

Dear Peter E, Jellund and Trupti,

Just a note to say thanks so much for taking the time to write down all of your ideas regarding hiragana! Most gratefully appreciated. Thanks again.

Kind regards,


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