Sounds are for listening and the alphabet is the key to reading, correct? Actually, learning which letters (a.k.a. ‘graphemes’) stand for different sounds (a.k.a. ‘phonemes’) in the language you are learning is one of the most important things you can do to enhance reading comprehension ability down the line.
Researchers refer to it as grapheme/phoneme mapping but don’t be overwhelmed by the technical term. When you were a child you learned phonics in school to help you sound out words and read in your native tongue. In learning a second language, it’s as simple as repeating this process.
Languages are characterized by unique and defining sets of sound and letter combinations. That’s why even if you don’t speak a language, you can learn to recognize it by ear because of the way it sounds. So, even if the alphabet of the language you are learning is already familiar to you, you will still have to learn to apply new sounds to the letters in order to successfully decode and read your target language vocabulary words.
A dictionary won’t be much help in identifying the common patterns, but you can find lists of these letter and sound groups on the Internet. Nevertheless, the best method for teaching your brain the sound and letter correspondence rules of your new language is through extensive exposure to authentic input.
Surround yourself with language. Try watching a film and setting the subtitles to the same language the actors are speaking. As you listen and read you are automatically learning to map sounds to letters and giving yourself a much better chance of becoming a strong reader later on. So round out your Lingua.ly reading experience with some phonics practice (remember all of our flashcards come with an audio bite that reads your word out-loud) and become a decoding all-star in no time!