MBA’s Story – use Basic Chinese 500 as a supplement

This week’s Parent Spotlight is MBA.

She has three children and she didn’t have the Sagebooks curriculum available for her older two kids. They all attend a Mandarin Immersion school and the curriculum have been a good way for MBA to provide additional practice as well as exposure to Traditional characters (their school teaches Simplified) to her son. She also uses the books as readers to help her youngest with English.

 FAMILY BACKGROUND (in her own words) 

I am an ABC with decent conversational Mandarin and can read/write at a 1st grade level. My husband speaks Cantonese and limited Mandarin.

We have 3 children all in a Mandarin Immersion school, 13 yo girl, 9 yo girl, and 6 yo boy.


13 year old daughter (N/A)
9 year old daughter (N/A)
6 year old daughter (started: ~5yo; currently at: in the middle of the series)



1. Why did you choose Sagebooks?

I have read such great things about Sagebooks and was fortunate to be given a set.

2. What was your experience with going through Sagebooks?

I am using the books with with 6yo/1st grade son who is currently enrolled in a Mandarin Immersion program.

3. What did your typical lesson look like? Did you do additional activities? 

I do not have a set lesson or discipline when using Sagebooks. I use them more as a supplement and additional support for what he learns in his MI program. The vocabulary is on par with what his is learning. We use them predominantly as bedtime reading and do not do them in any specific order.

4. What did you like about Sagebooks? Was there anything you didn't?

There are quite a few things I like about Sagebooks:

Personally, I prefer my children learn both Simplified and Traditional. My son learns Simplified in school and I use the Traditional Sagebooks. It has been a great tool for him to learn the traditional counterpart to characters he learns in simplified at school. Reading through the books piques his interest in the relationship between the characters and how they are simplified.

I appreciate the English alongside the Chinese. My son's MI program is 90/10, so he gets very limited English. His spoken English is good, but I like that we read the Chinese sentence and then the English sentence. He knows more written vocabulary in Chinese, and he can think of the English word in his mind and this helps his English reading.
- The short sentences and repetitive vocabulary encourage fluency and boost his self-confidence.

5. If you have more than one child, would you do it again?

He is actually my 3rd child, and I don't plan to have more. It is not in me to be the main teacher of Chinese for my children, but I enjoy these as a supplement.

I did not have Sagebooks for my older two children. Their only exposure is reading them with their little brother. #1 does not enjoy them at all as I suspect they are too remedial for her level and have limited plot. #2 will opt to read these when asked to read Chinese books. I suspect because they are easy for her.


Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, MBA!

What a great idea to use the Sagebooks readers both to supplement the Chinese characters your son already recognizes as well as work on his English skills.

If you would like to be featured as a Parent Spotlight, please let us know!
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


We’d love to hear from you.