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Teaching Chikara Reading

CHIKARA for Reading was developed by the JFLLC in 2007/08 as a part of the CHIKARA GCSE Japanese Resources. It is a series of resources for reading about life and culture in Japan.

CHIKARA for Reading aims to help students:

  • practice reading at the level of structures in GCSE Japanese
  • practice GCSE grammatical structures
  • learn basic facts about life and culture in Japan

Although CHIKARA for Reading was originally designed for GCSE Japanese, there are quite a few structures which cover both GCSE and GCE (AS) Japanese. In addition, in the main texts we have used kanji for GCE with kana readings as well as kanji for GCSE without kana readings. Therefore, CHIKARA for Reading is a useful resource for teachers of GCE (AS) Japanese too.

CHIKARA covers topics which are equivalent to the topics required for GCSE Japanese as in the table below. See List of GCSE Japanese Structures by JFLLC for a description of the levels. (Note: A = most basic, B = basic, C = slightly more difficult)

Equivalent GCSE Topic
Purposes of Resources
Structure Level
Myself, Family and Home life House, Home and Daily Life -To learn Japanese grammatical structures
-To practice how to communicate in Japanese in given situations
A-B Level Some C Level
School Life and Routines Education, Training and Employment
Town and Social Life Social Activities, Fitness and Health
Life & Culture in Japan

Chikara for Reading
Media, entertainment and youth culture -To learn Japanese grammatical structures
-To Practice Reading
-To learn basic facts about life and culture in Japan
A-C Level
In the United Kingdom and Abroad

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CHIKARA for Reading Syllabus

The syllabus contains the following information: subtopics, titles of the main texts, structures and their levels, keywords, cultural aspects of the main texts, teachers‘ information for extended activities, and pictures and references used for the main texts.

The syllabus is a reference for teachers.

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Subtopics and Resource Download

Under the topic ‘Life and Culture in Japan’, there are subtopics as in the table below. You can download the teaching materials of each subtopic here.

Teaching Resources
J1 Homestay J1homestay.pdf J1homestay.mp3
J2 Celebrations J2oiwai.pdf J2oiwai.mp3
J3 Kimono J3kimono.pdf J3kimono.mp3
J4 Haiku J4haiku.pdf J4haiku.mp3
J5 Robot J5robot.pdf J5robot.mp3
J6 Tokyo J6tokyo.pdf J6tokyo.mp3
J7 Earthquake J7jishin.pdf J7jishin.mp3

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Contents and Usage

Example of Usage
Before reading
- Some questions related to the subtopic
- Use to talk about what students know about the subtopic before reading
- Keywords in the main text (in hiragana and kanji)
- Kanji is shown for every word
- Definitions are left blank
- Use to guess the content of the main text.
- Fill in the blanks with the word meanings before reading
- Important structures in the main text
- Use to check the structures to practice
Main Text
- Topic: Life and culture in Japan
- Kanji: GCSE without kana readings, GCE with kana readings
- Kanji used for only part of a word is avoided as much as possible.
- Structure: A, B and C levels (in JFLLC categories)
- Use to read under teacher’s instruction in class
- Could be read in small groups if many short paragraphs in the main text
Comprehension of the main text
- True/False questions and questions for comprehension.
- Only GCSE kanji is used (without kana readings).
- Answers are available.
- Use to check students’ understanding of the main text in class under teacher’s instruction
- True/False questions are for checking overall comprehension, followed by questions to check detailed comprehension.
Kanji and Vocabulary
- Questions about GCSE kanji (reading, writing & meaning) and vocabulary.
- Answers are available.
- Use in, before or after class
- Use as a review before GCSE exam.
- Exercises of structures mainly from C level, which are covered in GCE (AS) as well.
- Most sentences in questions are related to the subtopic.
- Only GCSE kanji is used (without kana reading).
- Answers are available.
- Use in class, under teacher’s instruction
Extended Task
- Ideas and information for activities to teach more about the subtopic
- Use as a teacher’s reference to plan activities or tasks to deepen students’ learning about life and culture in Japan (Not available for J7)
- Answers for all exercises; comprehension of the main text, kanji and vocabulary and structure
- Distribute to students to self-check their answers, particularly of homework
- Sound files of the main texts
- Use for listening practice
- Use to check the reading of kanji without kana reading (GCSE kanji)
- Use to improve reading speed of slow readers

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References: The Japan Foundation’s Resources for Japanese Language Teaching

We used the resources presented by the Japan Foundation below to develop CHIKARA for Reading.

  • Minna no Kyōzai
  • Nihongo Kyōiku Tsūshin
  • Kyōkasho o Tsukurō (Grammar Notes, Activity Book 1/2), available from Minna no Kyōzai
  • Photo Panel Collection, available from Minna no Kyōzai
  • Erin ga Chōsen! Nihongo Dekimasu

In addition to the resources above, Yomukoto o Oshieru (Teaching Japanese Booklet Series 7 by the Japan Foundation) will be useful for teachers to learn about the theory and practice of teaching students to read Japanese.

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Free to use for teachers!

CHIKARA for Reading, like the other CHIKARA resources, is free to download from the JFLLC’s website. Why not check your lesson plan or school curriculum and see if you can try CHIKARA for Reading? We hope your students will enjoy learning about Japan through the Japanese language.

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