Using mnemonic images and explicit sound contrasting to help Japanese children learn English alphabet sounds

Emmanuel Manalo*, Yuri Uesaka, Koki Sekitani

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Although mnemonics have been shown to be effective in remembering letter-sound associations, the use of foreign words as cues for English phonemes had not been investigated. Learning phonemes in Japan is challenging because the Japanese language is based on a different sound unit called mora (mostly consonant-vowel combinations). This study investigated the effectiveness of using mnemonic images utilizing Japanese words as cues for the phonemes, and explicit sound contrasting of phonemic sounds with morae they could be confused with, in facilitating children's acquisition of knowledge about alphabet letter-sound correspondence. The participants were 140 6th-grade Japanese students who were taught phoneme-consonant correspondence, with or without the use of mnemonics or explicit sound contrasting. Analysis of the students' pre- and post-instruction assessments revealed significant interaction effects between types of instruction provided and instruction phase, indicating better performance in letter-sound association as a consequence of the inclusion of both mnemonics and explicit sound contrasting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-221
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec


    • Alphabet letter-sound learning
    • English reading instruction
    • Explicit sound contrasting
    • Japanese children
    • Mnemonic strategy
    • Phonemes and morae

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology


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