FAMILY BACKGROUND (in her own words)
I was born and raised in Canada and attended Cantonese school from grades 1-5 and did not speak a lick of Mandarin until I met my husband. Then I started learning Mandarin to impress my mother-in-law but really started speaking Chinese frequently after my eldest was born.
My husband’s mother was an elementary school teacher in Taiwan. He completed 2nd grade in Taiwan and moved to Singapore and Indonesia for a couple years and finally immigrated to the US in the 6th grade.
7-year-old daughter (started: 5 years; didn’t finish but got through Set 4 in one year)
4-year-old son (started: 4 years; currently on Budding Reader, Book 4)
IN HER OWN WORDS
1. Why did you choose Sagebooks?
We used Sagebooks for both of our children because it’s super easy to execute for non-native Chinese speaking parents. The curriculum introduces one character each lesson and builds upon itself, focusing on characters they’ve already learned.
2. What was your experience with going through Sagebooks? What did your typical lesson look like? Did you do additional activities?
I think it was harder for my daughter because the only time she got to practice reading Chinese characters was when she did Sagebooks. We didn't have many Chinese books when we first started with her so she had a lower yield.
With my son now, we have an massive library (we probably have the same amount of books as Dots) so we tend to read more picture books and we point out the words he's learned. Also, it’s easy with my son because he likes being with his sister and does whatever she's doing.
My daughter is now at that point where she reads more whether it's out loud or on her own. We have Chinese tutors and reading tutors. I think learning zhuyin after Sagebooks helped because she already knew approximately 100 characters before we introduced zhuyin. Knowing those characters helped with her zhuyin blending because she would start reading on her own and was confident in her abilities to attempt sounding the zhuyin for characters she'd never seen.
3. What did your typical lesson look like? Did you do additional activities?
Our typical lessons consist of reviewing the characters that we’ve already learned and introducing approximately 2 new characters a day. When I introduce a character, I typically have the child use their finger to trace the stroke order and we talk about if there are any similarities to other characters we’ve learned or whether the character was derived from pictures of the meaning.
We take a break from new characters every 3rd day to review or play games using the flashcards. My children both also like to read the treasure box books because it gives them such confidence that they can read an entire book on their own.
4. What did you like about Sagebooks? Was there anything you didn't??
Sagebooks is a thoughtful and well-made series. There is only one sentence on each page and the characters are printed in large font so that it’s easy to read and not overwhelming for younger children who are starting to read for the first time.
5. If you have more than one child, would you do it again?
6. Any advice for parents who are just starting?
Make it interesting! Try pointing out silly things in the pictures, playing Bingo, or racing to see who can call out the flashcards the fastest. I think that if the parents seem to be enjoying themselves, the children will too.
Also, consistency is key!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, CA Girl!