What kind of materials are Kumon Japanese A1 & A2 Another thing to start with the start of katakana and kanji


Japanese (language)

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Checking the position of A1 in the overall Kumon Japanese

A I is the beginning of the elementary level material. First, refer to the Kumon progress chart to get an idea of the overall picture.

In the early childhood materials, the number in front of the A became smaller and smaller, "8A→7A→6A". When you get to primary schools level materials, the material progresses in the order "A I → A II → B I → B II". When the alphabet moves forward by one letter, the grade level also moves forward by one letter. Therefore, the A I material is the first half of the first grade level material.

At what age are the materials studied?

This is the first half of the first grade level material. If you have just started Kumon, even children in grade 2 will often start around this time. On the other hand, if your child started Kumon early in the pre-school years, this is when they gradually start to move on to material that is further ahead than their age. Some children may start this material at the age of four or five.

What kind of teaching materials are Kumon Japanese A1 and A2?

Let's check the characteristics of each of the A I and A II teaching materials, referring to the explanations in the Kumon Officials.

First, let's check the explanations of the Kumon formula for A I.

It is important to note that the Kumon Formulas for A I list learning items that lean more towards knowledge, such as katakana, kanji and grammar.

Although Kumon has a strong impression of improving reading comprehension, there is a surprisingly strong tendency to consolidate basic knowledge in the lower grades of Kumon. Even in A I, 70% of the material is devoted to kanji and katakana, and 20% to grammar.

Next, check the explanations of the Kumon formulas in A2.

By reading the text, finding the answers and accurately transcribing them, you will consolidate your basic learning attitude. Strengthen the ability to read while always visualising the content, and strengthen the foundation of image-reading by being aware of the order of the content of the text. 98 kanji characters (mostly from grade 1, some from grade 2) studied in the A I and A II materials are reviewed using form and stroke order as a starting point.

The term "image reading" is used.

In previous Kumon materials, the questions could be cleared by understanding a single sentence; in 2A, there were questions on reading sentences of up to 100 characters, but the nuances of the questions were more like extracting and writing a single sentence from the text, rather than requiring understanding of the flow or whole of the text. Comprehension was not required that much.

In AII, the sentences are less long than before. Instead, you will have to understand the content, answer the order of events in the story, and understand and extract who did what in the text.

Before going to bed, first go to the bath. Next, I clean my teeth. Q1: What do you do first before you go to sleep?

The level of difficulty of the recommended books does not necessarily correspond to the reading comprehension required to solve the questions.

What you need to be aware of with A materials is the difference in level between the recommended books and the printouts.

From 5A onwards, Kumon publishes recommended books for that grade; from A materials onwards, the recommended books are used to quote passages for the questions.

From around 3A, you start to see sentences of a certain length, and from A materials, the recommended books are also used in the question materials, and although they are picture books, you will be reading sentences of a certain difficulty level.

The questions in Kumon's A materials were to answer the order of the events in the story and who did what. However, this is not the only skill required when reading the recommended books for Grade A materials.

Grade A recommended reading is clearly of a higher level than the questions in the A materials.

The recommended books for Grade A materials include, for example, Kon to Aki. The story is about a stuffed animal, Kon, who goes to her grandmother's house in the dunes to have her arm fixed. Aki-chan is rescued by Kon on the way, but when she sees Kon's tail getting caught in the door and being taken away by a dog, Aki-chan begins to feel a desire to help Kon.

Alternatively, there is a story about a 'white rabbit and a black rabbit'. The two rabbits are very good friends, but the black rabbit sometimes looks sad. When the White Rabbit asks her what is wrong, she is told that she is making a wish that the two of them stay together forever. The story goes on to say that they then get married.

Both of these stories cannot be explained just by the order of the stories or the who's who part of the story. The main character has a purpose in the story, so it is necessary not only to understand the order, but also to understand that the events are happening in the process of the characters trying to achieve something. The main characters also have different emotions, such as sadness and determination. You also need to be able to understand the emotions.

In other words, the ability required to read the recommended book itself does not match the difficulty level of the content of the questions.

The discrepancy between the difficulty level of the questions and the difficulty level of the book itself begins to appear in A materials.

It is around the A materials that this discrepancy begins to grow, and if no measures are taken, the discrepancy will become fatal somewhere after the B materials.

Not only in Kumon, but also in Japanese, only the parts necessary to solve problems are extracted, so up to a certain point, it is possible to solve problems even if you cannot read the book itself. If the difficulty level of the text and reading comprehension diverge too much, a situation will arise where you cannot understand the meaning of either the questions or the text at all.

This phenomenon can occur no matter which materials you are using, but it is particularly likely to occur with Kumon. This is because Kumon offers pre-emptive learning. If they can solve the problems, the Kumon materials will progress rapidly, so it is quite possible that their reading ability has not caught up with them.

Reading ability makes the difference between this and further progress.

There are several possible countermeasures.

First, prevention. One way is to ask the Kumon teacher to request a delay in the progress of the Japanese language. In some cases, some teachers want to aim for high progression and move on rapidly. By asking for thorough repetition as a parental request, you can prevent the danger of getting stuck.

If too much progress has already been made, going backwards significantly can be a powerful countermeasure. Although a loss of motivation is inevitable, you can go back to the material you are stuck on after having laid the foundations once more.

And the most effective countermeasure is reading. You can acquire comprehensive reading skills by actually reading a whole book that you should be reading at this stage, and not being satisfied with just being able to solve the problems. If you ask them what they think of what they have read, you can guess how much they understand the content of the book. You can also reduce the risk of measuring your students' ability by looking only at the difficulty level of the Kumon materials and being disappointed later when they are not as strong as you thought they would be.

The Kumon formula also mentions that reading is essential for excellent learning results with Kumon.

For more than 60 years, the Kumon Institute of Education has been working to develop children's skills through personalised and academic guidance, and it has been found that all students who have shown excellent learning results in Kumon classes have, without exception, high reading ability. Most of these students are exposed to a wide range of language through storytelling from an early age and have rich communication between parents and children. This base enables them to actively read books on their own and acquire advanced knowledge and a rich sensitivity through self-learning. Reading skills are the foundation of all learning.

In other words, in order to achieve excellent results with the Kumon Method, it is not enough to simply complete Kumon printouts. In any cram school or exam cram school, differences between students naturally arise, but in Kumon, the difference is based on reading ability.

This is very useful information if you know it. If you know where the difference arises, it is easy to take countermeasures. If this is a factor that cannot be easily intervened, such as household income or intelligence, but if reading ability is important and you just have to work hard at reading to your children, then it is an area where you can easily make an effort.


With the start of the A materials, the part of learning basic knowledge has increased a lot. If they can study steadily, their vocabulary will increase and they will be able to move on, but it is also true that there is a bottleneck of reading comprehension lurking ahead. While continuing to study the material, let's prepare for the future by having the students actively read books.