Irish Twins’ Journey

While we often hear about parents starting kids on Sagebooks super early at around 2.5 years old, what people don’t tell you is how much longer it takes when you start that young. Many children are not developmentally ready or mature enough to sit still, attach symbols to meanings, or can even make the appropriate sounds out of their mouths let alone go through Sagebooks with any sort of speed.

We rarely hear of parents who start their kids much older but the truth is, it often goes SO much faster and therefore, much easier on the parents. This week’s Parent Spotlight is Irish Twins and she started her daughter on Sagebooks at a later age than many of our parents. It paid off because developmentally, her daughter was more equipped to grasp and remember abstract as well as tangible characters. As a result, she blazed through the entire set in about 1/5th of the time it normally takes.


Irish Twins is a 2nd generation Chinese/Taiwanese American and can speak and understand Mandarin fluently. Her husband also took Mandarin classes for three years and speaks semi-fluently. They currently speak a mixture of English and Chinese at home.


- 9.5-year-old daughter (started: 7.25 years old; finished in ~4 months)
- 4-year-old daughter (not applicable)


1) Why did you choose Sagebooks?

Mandarin Mama and Guavarama.

2) What was your experience with going through Sagebooks? What did your typical lesson look like? Did you do additional activities?

She was old enough to read on her own and already knew some characters from studying simplified, so she didn’t need much of a program. It was part of our 100 book challenge. I made a star chart and she earned prizes for total books read, including Sagebooks. She just asked that either Mom or Dad read all the same books as her, so I read some as she read them, then my husband read them all after she was done.

3) What did you like about Sagebooks? Was there anything you didn't? 

I thought they were great for building confidence and character recognition. She liked the cute pictures. I had to cover up the pinyin for both of us so I wouldn’t be tempted to cheat.

4) If you have more than one child, would you do it again?

Yes, planning on starting with the next kid earlier, in traditional. But hard to say how much earlier since it was nice that the older kid was already an independent reader in English and that meant I didn’t need to prod or monitor.

5) Any advice for parents who are just starting?

She probably would have retained more characters over the years if we had done any activities. Mandarin Mama has great ones!!!


Thanks so much for your answers, Irish Twins! We really appreciate the shout out, too.

Many of our featured families are part of our Facebook Group so if you’d like to take advantage of the collective wisdom of your fellow parents, please


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