These activities, making use of flashcards (Why Use Flashcards?) will help you establish and remember the connection between the individual sounds and letters. After the first time you work through the cards successfully, you should go back periodically to review them. First review every few days, then every week or two. Even if you forget some of them each time, the act of remembering will strengthen your ability to recall them.
If you are using a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) flashcard program (for more on SRS, see: Resources for Making Flashcards), it will take care of the scheduling for you.
Activity 1: Assembling Sounds and Symbols
- First create a flashcard for each new letter or symbol you encounter.
- On the front write the letter (this is an excellent opportunity to find out and practice how to type individual letters in the script you are learning, if you use online flashcards).
- On the back, write the transcription in Roman script.
- Practice the flashcards until you can look at the letter and pronounce it without having to flip it over to look at the transcription. When you look at each letter or symbol, pronounce it out loud, not just in your head.
- Once you can do that, flip the cards around. Practice the cards until you can identify letters by their transcribed pronunciation. Pronounce the transcription out loud and only then guess the letter, trying to visualize it in your mind. If you can’t recall the way it looks, keep reviewing the card until you can. If there are multiple letters that make the same sound, when you look at the Roman script you should try to think of every letter that
Activity 2: Creating Stories for Sounds
- This flashcard activity will require just a bit of creativity. First write the letter you want to learn on the front of a flashcard, like in the last activity.
- On the backside, put a picture of something that the sound of the letter reminds you of, or a familiar word or name from English but with a letter replaced by the new one you are learning. The more personal and interesting the association is, the better! For example: A letter with a “k” sound, like क in the language Hindi, could be substituted for the “c” in “cat” that has the same sound, so the back of the card could have “My कat, Billy”. A letter with an “s” sound could have a picture of a snake on the back, to remind you of the similar hissing sound a snake makes.
- Practice remembering this association by looking at the letter on the front and trying to recall what you associate it with. Then reverse the cards once you can do this for all the letters or symbols you are working on, and try to remember the letter from the association on the back. As in the last activity, when you see the association you should try to visualize the letter.