We highly recommend using Dr. Williams' book to increase your kanji knowledge. It includes very detailed explanations of the radicals used to construct kanji.
The key to Kanji: A Visual History of 1100 Characters by Noriko Williams. (Cheng & Tsui, 2010) ISBN: 978-0-88727-736-8 (Amazon link)
Dr. Williams, who has devoted herself to the Japanese Program at AU, developed an iTunes collection to accompany her extremely well-constructed book. You can download the iTunes U application from Apple’s site. The video clip collection is called: Bushu: The Kanji Makers – From Meanings to Shapes
Dr. Williams has more recently developed the incredible Visual Kanji website, a free video tutorial course on these 1100 kanji and a huge variety of words that use them.
She also maintains a fascinating blog called Kanji Portraits:
Once a week she writes about small groups of kanji that share the same origin and component
shapes in current kanji. Her discussions trace back origins of each kanji, using ancient writing that
she recreated from photos of ancient inscriptions.
Websites for kids
Materials made for Japanese-speaking kids to learn about the world will give you the benefits of 1) a slightly simplified (yet still native) writing style that is easier to comprehend and will therefore allow you to read more in a shorter period of time and 2) a Japanese perspective in describing things that you have already learned about from a slightly different (non-Japanese) perspective. Here are four websites for kids. Click on the 学ぶ or 学ぼう buttons to find general learning materials written in Japanese.
One of the strongest Japanese learning activities is making use of video news. Most videos include the entire script below. I would recommend you
1) watch the video without trying to read the script
2) try to read the script without replaying the video
3) listen to the video while you read the script
You may find that some words or phrases are left out of the script or slightly altered.
Here is a great place to find video news: http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/videonews/
More resources to come...