Teaching My 5-Year-Old Child Japanese Kana With Anki — 13 Comments

    • I show him how to write the kana on a board in his room, or on the screen, whenever we stop on a kana that’s given him difficulty and break down what lines it’s made up of and in what order they’re written. He also sees the kana written on videos. But I haven’t asked him to write them all out yet, as he’s still working on becoming a fluent writer in English and Vietnamese.

  1. I imagine language-learning as an inner child that gets raised to language adulthood. (I know it’s not a unique concept, but in high school, a wonderful Spanish teacher introduced me to this mindset, and it has helped me keep a playful and patient outlook on learning.) As a young language learner at heart, it’s encouraging to read how your actual young language learner has been learning. :D

    Good luck to your son with the new deck. I hope the learning game stays fun for the both of you.

    • Thanks for the well wishes! Also, I love the concept of learning a language like a child and then growing up within that language as an adult, too. It’s a great way to find resources, isn’t it?

  2. That’s so awesome! Well done (both of you).

    And for what it’s worth, when I was learning kana as a 22-year-old, I had trouble with は and しゃ and so on as well. It’s trickier than any of us who’ve advanced really remember!

    > he actually personified the black part of the graph as an enemy, and the green part as him. He was defeating that monster, squishing him into nothing!

    Kick ass. I’m definitely going to start doing this :D

  3. Ha! I hope that works out well for you. It certainly proved to be a big motivator for my son toward the end.

  4. When I taught the girl I nanny how to read kana, I used a chart and native materials like Chi’s Sweet Home. It was how I learned how to read kana myself and worked for her as well.

    This is awesome! Excited to read more about what your son’s doing in the future! Maybe one day he’ll be alongside us in Tadoku! The girl I nannied is no longer learning Japanese, but the boy I babysat still does on his own and he’ll be in the Tadoku ranks this summer again! (He keeps in contact with me through email.) I just do all the twitter stuff for him, because he’s too young for twitter without supervision.

  5. I’m glad you liked this one. It’s great hearing about your experience teaching other kids how to read, too, especially since one of them is still learning.

    Oh, and you’re not the only one excited about this ongoing story. I’m eager to see how my son does over the next year as well. He’s 6% into the beginner deck now, and is already enjoying native content like よつばと!and おでんくん, but over the next year I think he’ll make a big jump, even at a slow and steady pace.

  6. I really wish I had a dad who taught me Japanese when I was a toddler :( Your article was really entertaining and informative, I can’t believe the author himself responds to comments! Gosh, this site truly is a rare find among all the other sites . . .

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