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ERIC Number: ED204746
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Early Reading in Japan.
Sheridan, E. Marcia
There are several reasons why Japan has one of the world's highest literacy rates. One reason is the nature of the Japanese written language, which employs a dual code of ideographs representing specific objects and a syllabary, in which each symbol represents a separate syllable. The syllable symbols are read consistently the same way, and beginning reading students are taught the syllabary before they learn the ideographs. Learning syllables as a unit of pronunciation appears to be easier than learning a phonetically based alphabet. Parental influence is another reason for the high literacy rate, as many parents begin to read to their children and give them their own books before they are one year of age. Consequently, Japanese children are ready to read by the time they enter first grade. Properly taught in preschool, children can learn between 500 and 1,000 syllable characters before they begin first grade. Japan's cultural expectations are also responsible for high reading achievement; for example, in contrast to male reading attitudes in the United States, the majority of Japanese boys perceive reading to be an appropriate activity. Although there is some evidence that the syllabary may be easier to learn than the Roman alphabet, the most powerful influences on Japan's reading success appear to be the intervention of parents and preschool education. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Japan