Refresh Your Memory: 7 Effective Memorization Techniques For Language Learning
What is the most powerful tool for learning a foreign language? It is our memory.
One of the best incentives to learn the English alphabet is its widespread usage all around the world. If you’re learning or teaching the alphabet, here are tips and tricks you can use.
When learning a new language, aspiring polyglots would often focus on studying vocabulary and grammar. There a few who would focus more on pronunciation to correct a heavy accent. And if you’re an English learner, you might also need to study the different variations of it from all around the world. However, before you can take on advanced topics, you need to learn the English alphabet first.
The English alphabet, also known as the modern Latin alphabet, is the most widely used writing system globally. According to Britannica, this alphabet is the standard script for English and most European languages. It consists of 26 letters, with five vowels and 21 consonants. And at the moment, the majority of websites on the Internet are written in this alphabet. Although you can learn to “speak” in English via audio cues, you would be missing out a lot if you cannot use it in written form.
Not all countries use the Latin alphabet primarily. Learners who use other alphabets like hangul would often struggle in learning the Latin letters. These people are often children learning their first language or polyglots whose first alphabet is different. Whether you’re learning or teaching, you can check out these tips and trips to make your life easier.
Compared to other languages, English is actually simple to learn. There are different language learning strategies available to study easier. Unlike other languages, English grammar and vocabulary are pretty straightforward. But it might not be the case when learning an alphabet. Here are some studying techniques for beginners of the English alphabet.
A good starting lesson in learning any alphabet is spelling your own name. It teaches the learner to recognize his or her name using English. In the meantime, the learner is also making progress in learning the alphabet. Names are tied to the person’s identity, so learning how to spell names correctly is vital.
Start with a short but sweet challenge: spelling nicknames. Ask the learner to spell his or her nickname and write it down for the written exercise too. Once the nickname is mastered, you can move on to spelling and writing down full names or other objects.
Information overload is the phenomenon that occurs when the brain tries to process a lot of things all at once. This can happen if the learner tries to learn a substantial amount of information in a short amount of time. In language learning, this is a common occurrence when the learner tries to cram words and phrases.
The ideal amount per batch is four to five letters. Learn a set of four to five letters by heart before moving on to another letter cluster. By doing so, the chances of mixing up letters and their sound equivalent would be minimized. Spelling would also become easier for beginners with this kind of learning method.
Most English learners already know a few English words when learning the alphabet. Even non-speakers know basic words like “car” and “dog.” In this situation, the learner or the teacher can use this knowledge to their advantage and use object association. Simply put, in object association, you associate an object to the sound of its first letter.
For example, if the learner knows the English word “potato”, the teacher can say “P as in potato.” Even if the learner doesn’t know how to spell “potato,” he or she can now recognize the letter “P” as the first sound of the word.
Memorizing and reciting letters is a boring task. But you can still use games and other fun ways to learn to avoid demotivation and subject boredom. For example, you can use treasure hunts, alphabet puzzles, and other games to teach a specific batch of letters. This will make the experience enjoyable and more memorable to the learner.
If the learner enjoys object association, you can facilitate a game called the “Object Match.” In this game, random pictures or objects are shown to the student. Then, they will try to guess what letter produces the first sound in a word. If they can give the right letter correctly, they get a score. You can use this in a classroom for some competitive fun. Make sure that the words that will be used in this game are not distracting.
When it comes to learning alphabets, both audio and visual materials are needed. The visual part is for memorizing how the letter is formed and written correctly. Audio materials are for learning the sound that each letter represents.
Sure, you can do a manual method of memorizing and reciting individual letters. But technology is developed to benefit learning, and such, using videos can make the process easier. There are videos and learning materials available on YouTube or other platforms. To seal the deal, these resources are totally free of charge.
After spelling, you can chain the lessons into letter recitals. Make the student spell a word out loud. By speaking and listening, the student learns how to visualize the letters, know the sound they correspond to, and pronounce them correctly. This kind of recital would also benefit other students because they also learn when a fellow student makes a mistake.
Letter recitation is not only useful in practicing letters and words learned already. You can use this method to teach new ones too. To make this method beginner-friendly, use words that correspond to the learner’s grammar and vocabulary level.
All of the mentioned tips above are great for learning the visual form and sound recognition. But what if we combine all of the tips in a single activity? Writing an alphabet song seems like a silly idea; it’s one of the most effective ways to learn a new alphabet.
According to a Nelson Mandela University study, song and music inspire motivation and sparks learning in students. It helps avoid boredom and negativity, especially in students who easily get frustrated during a difficult lesson. If you’re committed to it, nothing is wrong with making your alphabet song. Otherwise, there are catchy songs on the internet, such as “The Alphabet Song” by Charles Bradlee.
Spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar are essential in building a good language foundation. That is why these are developed simultaneously for better efficiency in a shorter period. While students are learning the alphabet, they can also learn a bit of basic vocabulary to help them progress faster. Once the learner started recognizing words and symbols, they can proceed in a more challenging grammar part.
After learning their name spelling, the best course of action is to teach common letters first. For instance, the letters B, D, N, A, and E are among the commonly used letters in the English alphabet. Within this set of letters, the learner can already form a couple of words (bed, den, and, bad, etc.) Its also a great opportunity to introduce the aspect of vowels and consonants and how they can be used to produce sounds.
With absolute persistence and hard work, any student can master the English alphabet. Over time, using these symbols comes as second nature. Although it can take some time, we can avoid the usual pitfalls that make the learning journey longer. If you’re an English learner or want to teach someone you know, here are the common mistakes that many people encounter when learning the English alphabet.
As mentioned before, learning in batches is ideal for the English alphabet. This method lets you learn and master more letters effectively. You will also likely avoid mixing two letters and combining one with the wrong sound. Four to five letters per batch are optimal, but you can add or remove more depending on your learning style.
Using the right English resource is crucial if you value your time and effort. Students have different ways of learning. Some students would thrive more on visual cues, while others prefer listening to explanations. There is a smaller percentage in which they need to write down the letter in order to know how its form.
You might have the idea that since you limit the number of letters you study, information overload is unlikely. But take note: learning multiple alphabets will have the same effect as learning more letters in the same alphabet. In fact, learning two languages is more challenging and not efficient.
Giving yourself or your student tons of homework is counterproductive. When it comes to giving homework, having an activity that can remind them about the day’s lesson is enough. More homework only measures how much a student has learned from past studies.
Instead, use a more appropriate learning material and give more hands-on learning to improve your student’s understanding. Do some sensory activities or projects that use more of their senses. Multiple homework would just make the learner uninterested.
Recitation works well when it comes to practicing mastery in alphabet forms and phonetics. But remember: we study alphabets to understand the written form of the language we’re learning. In between lessons, add more reading activities to practice your competency in grammar, as well as letter recognition.
Sure, we can alphabet letters in ALL-CAPS, and it would still be fine, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. Every letter in the alphabet has two forms: the uppercase and lowercase letter. For people who have been using the alphabet for decades, this aspect is easy and intuitive.
But for beginners, some letters are confusing in lowercase and UPPERCASE. For example, the lowercase L “l” is very similar to the uppercase “I.” Avoid this oversight when studying the English alphabet.
The English alphabet is the most popular writing system in the world. But believe it or not, there are still people who are not familiar with this script. And understandably, just like learning any second language, a second alphabet can also be quite difficult.
Thankfully, the English alphabet is probably the easiest second alphabet to learn for L2 learners because of resource availability. If you still need help with your studies, you can always get some help online via language tutoring sites like JustLearn. And who knows? Maybe getting a tutor is the right decision for you.
What is the most powerful tool for learning a foreign language? It is our memory.
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