If you are a Chinese-speaking parent living in a non-Chinese-speaking country, chances are your children have a much more advanced in speaking/listening Chinese than they are in reading/writing Chinese. Part of the reason is that speaking/listening occur more naturally (especially if both parents are fluent Chinese speakers and Chinese is the primary language spoken at home) while reading/writing require a lot more intentional efforts on both the parent to teach and the kid to learn. Yet, developing independent reading skills is crucial to your kids becoming truly proficient in Chinese and appreciative of everything the language has to offer.
In this article, we provide a few learning tips great for getting your kids interested in reading Chinese. As explained in this article, 5 Reasons Why Every Kid Should Learn Chinese, the learning curve for a logogram-based language like Chinese is much steeper than a phonogram-based language like English. Hence, for kids who are learning other languages in addition to Chinese, we must make the lessons fun, engaging, and most importantly, confidence-building.
For younger kids, it’s easier to pick up Chinese characters if they can associate familiar objects with them. (That’s why the books of Little Chinese Readers utilize illustrations mostly from daily objects kids are familiar with.) Picture cards are a great way to engage children, especially via forms of games such as memory games, pictionary, charades, guessing games, etc. While some teachers suggest “pasting” cards all over your house, we suggest that you do tis in moderation as seeing flash cards at every corner of your house may turn off your kids faster than an hour of dozing lecture.
For older children, games are still a great way to engage and learn though you may have to make the games more complicated. One great suggestion from our readers is to combine Chinese learning with some other subject that your kids have an interest in. For example, one of our Bilingual Moms would play “math” mazes with her kids where they would have to identify the “bigger” or “smaller” number at every intersection with the words “big” and “small” written in Chinese. (These words are covered in the very first book of the Kids Learning Chinese series, which means you can play this game with your kids almost immediately.)
Regardless of the age and Chinese level of your kids, getting them interested in reading Chinese is the most important. Yet if you randomly buy a Chinese storybook from the bookstore, your kids may or may not be able to read it (since the books aren’t leveled). That’s why we designed Little Chinese Readers to give you a leveled learning system so you can continuously supply your children with books that match their levels, building both their confidence and interest in Chinese.
Give our lessons a try. The first three lessons are free!