As it is the first step towards learning the Tamil language, it is important to learn the letters as early as possible. Kindly note that learning a 'letter' is comprised of two parts - learning the associated 'sound' and learning the 'symbol', it is inevitable to learn them both together.
Hence my suggestion to you, the learner, is to spend enough time in learning these letters. One effective way, I would follow to learn foreign languages, is to dedicate a separate note book for practicing writing the letters. You can try the vertical then horizontal method to quickly yet effectively learn these letters - start with the first letter and repeatedly write it 15 or 20 times vertically down a column, every time making sure to pronounce it (like 'a' 'a' 'a'... ’அ’ ‘அ’ ‘அ’... Sure enough this sounds childish, but that's how we learned our first language, didn't we?) then move on to the next letter ('ஆ’ ‘ஆ ‘ஆ’... Here!) writing it in the adjacent column and so on so forth.
Once done with all the 12 vowels, start writing all of them in a row - horizontally! Repeat this for some 10 or 15 times, again making sure to pronounce every letter correctly. The idea here is to familiarize single letters (and sounds) first and then to acquire them in group (this would help to avoid confusion between similar looking symbols and sounds!)
Make sure to spend at least half an hour a day. Initially you should spend more time writing vertically and gradually increase horizontal writing (reducing vertical writing). After the first few practice sessions, start to write without seeing - recollecting both the symbol and the sound from your own memory (I use to use a piece of paper to cover up the already written row when I move on to the next row, making sure to write from memory every single time!)
For horizontal writing, you can split the letters in to two or three groups, in case you find it difficult to learn all of them at once (this will be particularly useful with learning the consonants which are more in number!) However, your ultimate goal should be to be able to write all the letters at once without missing or confusing any of them!
Happy learning, feel free to share your own experience and methods in the discussion page of this material.
Writing the Vowels
|Vowel||Pronunciation Help||Length||How to write|
|அ||u as in nut||short|
|ஆ||a as in father||long|
|இ||i as in ink||short|
|ஈ||e as in easy||long|
|உ||u as in put||short|
|ஊ||oo as in bloom||long|
|எ||e as in pen||short|
|ஏ||a as in ate||long|
|ஐ||i as in ice||long|
|ஒ||o as in one||short|
|ஓ||o as in show||long|
|ஔ||ou as in house||long|