The sponsors of the popular website japaneseaudiolessons.com have prepared this book to help English-speaking students learn to read in Japanese. It includes a Japanese Reader with more than 4,200 authentic Japanese sentences for reading practice. These sentences use only hiragana, katakana and 608 "target" kanji, and they are written in a large clear font. Romaji equivalents and translations are printed in very small text in a column adjacent to the Japanese text, making it possible for students to get ready feedback as they read but also allowing them to ignore the romaji and the translations when they only want to concentrate on Japanese text.
Only 608 essential target kanji are used in this book, and these kanji are taught by means of an innovative "Kanji Catalogue" located near the back of the book. The Kanji Catalogue includes pronunciations, meanings, memorable descriptions of the kanji as images, and examples of words that use the kanji. In addition, the Catalogue provides retrieval cues, or homophones, for each of the kanji's pronunciations.
When students encounter a kanji in the Japanese text that they do not know well, they can easily determine its reference number for the Catalogue by using the Pronunciation Index, which contains 1,380 pronunciations that are associated with the target kanji. Students are encouraged to look up unfamiliar kanji as they read and to focus on the memory aides provided in the Catalogue. These memory aides are both visual (descriptions of kanji as images) and verbal (homophones for each of the kanji's pronunciations). Students who pay attention to these memory aides will find that their memories of the kanji images and their pronunciations will soon become "chunky" and "sticky," i.e., unforgettable.
The large number of Japanese sentences that are provided for reading practice and the memory aides supplied in the Kanji Catalogue will help students learn to read in Japanese without spending a lot of time on tedious memorization activities, such as kanji flashcard drills. Since they will always have ready access to help in English as they read, students will be able to enjoy exploring the mysteries of written Japanese without experiencing the frustration that can occur when one tries to learn to read this complex language without assistance.show more