How do you read Kana faster?

So, like everyone I’m familiar with all the kana, even if I struggle to remember a few Katakana here and there, and I like to try and read out the example sentences provided in the vocab lessons. But I feel as if I read at a snail’s pace, I’ll be mouthing out each piece and going back over it until I have something coherent, and often times I can’t quite get it down, I’ll be piecing word breaks after the fact. So I’m wondering other than practice practice practice, is there any 見方 to see reading Kana from that speeds up the learning process? If I had to guess, I’d imagine it comes down to knowing the words that kana is forming themselves rather than reading them as individual characters, but I wanted to know if anyone else has insight on that.


To read kana faster, read kana :slight_smile: Believe me, it works! :wink: You need to get used to the shapes, so you need to input it massively into your brain. I don’t think there’s a more efficient way to get better at it :slight_smile:


keep reading and pounding on until its burnt into your brain, you’ll pick up speed as you read more


Writing down and reading helps a lot.


I havent’ done much reading apart from what I read here on wanikani by doing reviews and the lessons… and in that time, my reading got considerably faster.

Yesterday I read through some articles on satori reader and I read them MUCH faster than when I started wanikani (September), still ways to go, but it was cool to see that I was noticeably more comfortable with reading.


It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng […]

I’m sure everyone has seen this before. Why I mention it here is because, as others have said, the way to speed up reading is to simply read more. Your brain will start to anticipate patterns, and eventually you will be mentally completing words before you even finish reading them. Before that time comes though, you’ve got to give your biological pattern-matching device plenty of training data!

I’m sure there are big words (maybe more arcane ones used in a field you’re not familiar with) even in your native language that you have to sound out in order to read. It’s not because you’re bad at reading but is because you’re just not used to seeing that pattern yet.

As for reading kana alone, especially with no spaces between the kana if you’ve come across that somehow, it is inherently difficult as you have nothing other than knowing the words to help you understand where one word ends and another begins. For that matter, it’s often easier to read with kanji than in kana alone.


To read kana faster, read kana :slight_smile: Believe me, it works! :wink: You need to get used to the shapes, so you need to input it massively into your brain. I don’t think there’s a more efficient way to get better at it :slight_smile:

I totally agree.

The easiest method is reading some manga, even if you don’t understand it → especially since there is tons of furigana to practice (if you’re just trying to practice your reading speed )


You can also read children’s book for free on Ehon Navi, see this thread for more details:

Almost no kanji there, perfect for practicing kana!


Sing songs using kana lyrics?


I found my kana reading skills really got better after I started writing it more regularly. Recalling something is much harder than remembering what something looks like when you see it. It worked though. I recommend stop using English or romaji in your notebook system


I write a diary! I use both kanji and kana now but I started only with kana and I believe my skill isn’t so bad, also try and read a lot of it, practice makes perfect!!!


I have to agree with this guy. When you read sentences you don’t necessarily read individual words, much less individual letters. Instead you read patterns. You’ve seen this phrase structure before and are able to join it to the one next to it and so on. You chop up sentences into the biggest pieces you can digest and that is how you are able to read faster. For a native these pieces are much bigger than for a person starting out.

Like he said this also applies for native speakers who are reading a field they aren’t familiar with, say, a geotechnical report, or any text that is more complex than usual. If you got any random off the street they’d likely have to break down a lot of the sentences to the individual words in order to digest them better, much like how a beginner has to break down a new language to its individual characters.


There are a lot of great ideas here! The main ones I want to emphasize are:

  1. writing in kana more + saying the words several times aloud during and after writing

  2. while reading, instead of just mouthing the words, actually saying them aloud is helpful! It will help your ears and brain remember the sounds via your own voice, and it will give you a bonus to your speaking skills, as your mouth and voice will remember how to pronounce the sounds/words

  3. if you enjoy music, especially anything in Japanese, my number one recommendation is to find some karaoke videos somewhere and practice singing along. A lot of karaoke videos will have the furigana over the kanji, so it forces your eyes and brain to read them quickly, even if you can’t process the meaning yet. After doing this repeatedly with songs you like, maybe for a few weeks or months, I can almost completely guarantee (individual results vary of course :wink:) that you will find your reading, listening, and speaking speed will have increased exponentially.


Honestly, there’s no magic bullet to instantly be able to read it faster. Just keep reading kana every day and with time your brain will adjust. I can read kana as effortlessly as English letters now, just have fun and be patient. :slight_smile:


I have a book I own in Japanese and English (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). I know it’s way beyond my Japanese level, but I read a little from it each day - 1 sentence in English, the same in Japanese, and I do that until my brain hurts. At first it was after a sentence, now it’s a couple of paragraphs. You will get better with practice and repeated exposure.

Also, the book is on my Kindle, and the translation software is actually not bad. Not perfect, but not bad. There is furigana the first time a kanji appears in the story, but at any time I can highlight something and learn the meaning.


That’s actually something I’ve been attempting as I’m a music student! It’s definitely helped with certain words. I recently did a cover of 翼をください and it’s burned words like 大空 and 同じ into my brain.


You could try this:

It’s sort of a speed read test.

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More like typing test ( I did bad…)

Thank you so much! I was looking for something like that! Like a typing game but in kana, sort of like typeracer. Was hoping to be able to type words instead of having to space every letter but at least this exists! The one on uses kanji and I don’t know most of them…

If you’re looking for games, you could try the Learn Japanese to Survive games - there’s “Hiragana Battle”, “Katakana War” and “Kanji Combat”. I’ve not tried them myself so don’t know how good they are, but they’re only about a fiver each.