Learning Chinese is BORING…. or does it have to be?

OK.  I know my kids would benefit a lot from learning Chinese… BUT Mandarin classes are so BORING… have you seen the Chinese class writing drills and the poems?

Yes…. and I am with you on that.  That’s why we created Little Chinese Readers (because we didn’t want our kids to go to a traditional Chinese class, memorize nonsensical poems, and then end up hating the language/culture).

1. Little Chinese Readers aims to make learning Chinese fun, natural and interactive.

Fun? Natural? Are we really talking about learning Chinese here?  Yes! Little Chinese Readers use simple concepts kids are familiar with and tie them to high-frequency words.. plus logical progressions that encourage the kids to naturally learn the characters.  For example, in our very first lesson, we start with the concepts of size — big v. small.  Once the kids see Big v. Small a few times, we insert a new word in between (plus a picture that hints at the meaning of the new word).  Take a look at the picture below.  Most kids are able to guess that the new word introduced means “medium” (and of course they would be right)!  Strangely when our brain “figures something out” ourselves, we never forget it.

2. Little Chinese Readers aims to get kids to read “independently” in Chinese as soon as possible.

Our brains naturally choose the easier (and more interesting) route.  If we let kids’ English (or other language) reading abilities get way too ahead of their Chinese reading, kids who can read fun books like Harry Potter (or even Diaries of a Wimpy Kid) in English aren’t exactly gonna be excited about the pain of learning to read Chinese (which already has a higher reading barrier than most other languages on the planet).  That’s why we “painfully” wrote stories for every level of our lessons — Level 1 stories utilize only the 52 characters learned in Level 1 … and it was quite a difficult task for us to come up with stories with so few words.  But we believe that being able to read independently builds confidence, which in turn helps kids learn.

3. Little Chinese Readers doesn’t emphasize writing.

Writing is good for memorization… we get that.  But most people type these days rather than write.  A survey of Peking University students showed a majority of students cannot write the Chinese characters for “turtle” so we keep our focus on reading.  Our lessons include some writing worksheets (and animations with fun drawing boards) to make the lessons more interactive and let the kids try writing some words out (and we encourage doodling on the board.. anything to make Chinese learning fun!).  

4. Start reading Little Chinese Readers books for free. 

Level 1 lessons will always be free because we really want to see more kids try and learn Chinese.  All we ask for in return, if your time permits, is to give us some feedback and share with others!

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