One of the easiest ways to learn Japanese is to speak it, but it’s also an easy language to start reading as well. While there are more hiragana characters than the English alphabet, 46 versus 26, you’ll have less problems reading as you won’t have problems pronouncing the word. If you can read it, you can say it, and that’s what makes Japanese so fun!
The first five characters make up most of the sounds in the 46 characters, so learn to say these perfectly. Included at the end are PDF worksheets from Jakka.net that include the stroke orders of the hiragana characters and spaces to practice.
あ = a (pronounced “ah”) PDF Download
い = i (pronounced “ee,” like the first half of “eat”) PDF Download
う= u (pronounced “oo,” like “oops”) PDF Download
え = e (pronounced “eh,” like “eclair”) PDF Download
お = o (pronounced “oh”) PDF Download
You can already create several words with these first five, like あお (ao = blue), いえ (ie = house), and うえ (ue = above, top). These five are the building blocks to hiragana, as they will offer the same sound to the rest of the characters.
Soon you’ll be reading street signs and manga in no time!