Tiger Woo’s Story – adds zhuyin & games

This week’s Parent Spotlight is Tiger Woo. Since Tiger Woo’s kids already knew how to read English, she wisely covered the pinyin and English translations. She also incorporates an added dimension of teaching her daughter both the zhuyin and stroke order of the characters they review.

Family Background

Tiger Woo and her husband both immigrated from Taiwan in elementary school. They speak mostly English at home but everyone is fluent in Chinese and English. Her son attended a Mandarin Immersion school for K-2 and all her children are now attending a regular elementary school.

Children

10 year old son (started: 6; finished: 7-8 months)
7 year old daughter (started: 5; currently still learning)


 In her Own Words 

1. Why did you choose Sagebooks?

I chose Sagebooks because I was looking for progressive Chinese readers in Traditional Chinese much like the BOB readers for English. I liked the repetition of the characters as they introduced new ones to help the reader feel more confident in their reading abilities. It also helped that it was highly recommended by my friends who had a lot of success using the books.

2. What was your experience with going through Sagebooks?

I first used Sagebooks with my son at the end of Kindergarten and early First Grade so around the age of 6. He was at a Mandarin Immersion school so had already learned a hundred or so characters in Kindergarten so we went through the first set of Sagebooks fairly quickly and he was done with all 5 sets in about 7-8 months. He was a pretty confident English reader so I had to cover up the pinyin on each page so he would concentrate on the characters instead.

I’m currently going through Sagebooks with my daughter who started when she was 5 and we are just now finishing the third set. It has been slow going since she is more resistant to Chinese but also because I had her spend 6 months learning/practicing zhuyin as well. I also have to cover up the pinyin as well when we read Sagebooks together since she can read English.

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

We designate 5 characters, read the chapters a few times until she recognizes the character. I usually print out the character for her to practice writing it using the Rainbow characters technique as we go over stroke order. I also go over the zhuyin for each of those characters. We play games where she has to match the characters with their corresponding zhuyin.

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

I wish the illustrations were a little more engaging but she seemed to like it ok.

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

I used this for my oldest and am currently using it for my second. 

6. Any advice for parents who are just starting?

Consistency is key. Everyone is always super busy with the various activities the kids are in but just carving out that 20 mins a day really makes a difference in character retention.

...

Thank you so much for your responses, Tiger Woo! Many people write in asking about what to do if their kids can already read English and covering it up is the easiest! Also, your suggestion of being consistent is a great reminder to all of us parents.

SUPPORT FOR YOU
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

JOIN SUPPORT GROUP .

We’d love to hear from you.

A study of “de” 「的/ 得/ 地」的練習

One of the hardest grammar concepts - even for native speakers, is when to use 的 / 地 / 得 as modifiers. When spoken, they all sound the same in some situations, and very similar in the others. In writing, they each have different uses. Understandably, it can get really confusing!

“Even native speakers mess this up” doesn’t sound like a valid reason for children living overseas not to learn the correct way. Rather, it’s something useful to teach your children if literacy and writing is important to you. Bonus: your kids will also learn parts of speech and it’s another way to reinforce Chinese grammar.

For a brief refresher, below are all the different kinds of “de”:

「快樂地歌唱」、「快樂的歌聲」、「唱得很快樂」,完全地不一樣呢。
「的 / 得 / 地」這三個助詞不但小朋友會混淆,甚至我們成人有時也會搞糊塗呢。因此我們特別設計了一些在家可玩的小遊戲,讓小朋友集中練習一下這三個常用的助詞。讓我們先來整理一下這三個助詞:

modifies nouns (person, place, or thing) and adjectives (colour, location)
一般用於名詞 (e.g. 我的爸爸/ 他的書/ 北京的天氣)
或形容詞 (e.g. 高高的山/ 紅色的花/ 前面的路牌/ 渴望的眼神)
modifies verbs (action, state, or occurrence)
一般用於動詞 (e.g. 走得快/ 笑得甜/ 看得入神)
modifies adjectives (phrase that modifies nouns) into adverbs (phrase that modifies verbs)
一般用於將形容詞轉變為副詞
(e.g. 快樂歌聲>快樂歌唱 /
悄悄心底話>悄悄說話 /
傷心眼淚>傷心流淚)

Apart from the activities listed below, you may also be interested in downloading the practice sheet of <得>, which contains 9 sentences for reading practice, and an extensive list of verbs and examples taken from the Basic Chinese 500 course.
除了以下的遊戲,你也可以下載<得>字的練習紙集中學習。練習紙含有句子認讀和短句範例。

《得》字的練習 Practice sheet of <得>

 

ACTIVITIES OF THE WEEK

Most of these activities focus on matching and decoding which 的/得/地 belong to which situation.
下列四個遊戲主要是認字配對形式。


的/得/地 Picture Matching Activity (age 3+, single or multiple players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 道具 
  • Sheets of paper 紙 (裁成大紙卡)
  • Pen/Pencil 筆
  • Various pictures of people, animals, objects, people/animals/objects doing things, adjectives 各種人物、動物、用具、動作...等的圖片
 HOW TO PREPARE 事前準備 
  • Write 的/ 得/ 地 individually on multiple cards 將三個助詞分別各寫在幾張紙上
  • Print out or provide pictures (in books or magazines) of the various subjects 可列印各種圖片,或從雜誌剪下合用的圖片
 HOW TO PLAY 玩法 
  1. Pass out at least one of each 的/ 得/ 地 card to every child.
  2. Choose a picture (or point to an object in your house, or act out a verb) and ask your child to choose which 的得地 card goes with the picture. Technically, there are no 地 included in the pictures but that’s ok.
  3. Continue until all pictures/examples are used.
  1. 每人派發最少各一張「的/ 得/ 地」字卡
  2. 選一張圖片,請孩子配上一張「的/ 得/ 地」字卡
  3. 繼續遊戲,直到圖片用光為止
 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 玩法變化 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Adding pictures of adjectives. This is harder because it takes a bit longer to realize the picture is referring to the adjective rather than the object or action.
  2. If your children are really young, you may want to remove 1-2 的/得/地.
  1.  加入帶有形容的圖片,增加難度 (孩子需要慢慢才意適到圖片的重點在形容詞而不在物件或動作本身)
  2. 年幼的孩子可減少「的/ 得/ 地」字卡張數。

的/得/地 Matching Activity(A) 配對遊戲(A) (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 道具 
  • Sheets of paper 紙
  • Pen/Pencil 筆
 HOW TO PREPARE 事前準備 
  • Write 的/ 得/ 地 individually on multiple cards 分別將「的/ 得/ 地」寫在多張紙卡上
 HOW TO PLAY 玩法 
  1. Mix up the cards and place them face down on the floor.
  2. Have the first child flip over two cards. If they match, they keep the pair and can either go again or have the next child go.
  3. Take turns until all cards are paired.
  1. 將字卡洗均勻,字面向下放在地上 (或桌面)
  2. 第一位孩子翻兩張卡。如果成對,孩子可以取走。可選擇同一位孩子繼續,或輪到下一人
  3. 一直輪流玩,直到卡牌全部被取走

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 玩法變化 

If your children are really young, you may want to limit to 2 of the modifier at a time and leave the last one out.
年幼的孩子可以每次只玩兩個助詞。


的得地 Matching Activity (B) 配對遊戲(B) (age 5+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 道貝   HOW TO PREPARE 事前準備 
  • Write 的得地 individually on multiple cards 分別將「的/ 得/ 地」寫在多張紙卡上
  • Also write many characters that are nouns, verbs, adjectives 在其他紙卡再寫上各種名詞、動詞、形容詞
 HOW TO PLAY 玩法 
  1. Shuffle the character cards.
  2. Give each child at least one of each 的 / 得 / 地
  3. Flip over a character card and have each child choose which is the matching 的 / 得 / 地.
  1. 將字卡洗均勻
  2. 每人派發最少各一張「的/ 得/ 地」字卡
  3. 翻開一張名詞、動詞、形容詞字卡,請孩子選配正確的「的/ 得/ 地」字卡

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 玩法變化 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. You can also swap which cards you shuffle (ie: use the 的 / 得 / 地 cards and have your child choose the matching characters)
  2. If your children are really young, instead of having them match 的 / 得 / 地 with the characters, you can use only 的 / 得 / 地
  3. You can also make it more difficult by writing out parts of speech instead of actual characters. (eg: 名詞、動詞、形容詞). However, adjectives can be tricky as it can be used with 的 or 地.
  1. 可以由你選一張「的/ 得/ 地」字卡,然後由孩子配上一張名詞、動詞、形容詞字卡
  2. 年幼的孩子可以從只配「的/ 得/ 地」字卡開始

的/得/地 identifying Activity 識別遊戲 (age 5+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 道具 
  • Any book or essay 任何圖書
 HOW TO PREPARE 事前準備 
  • Write 的 / 得 / 地 on multiple cards 分別將「的/ 得/ 地」寫在多張紙卡上
 HOW TO PLAY 玩法 
  1. Go through a random page in the book and start pointing out nouns, verbs, adjectives.
  2. Ask your child to put down which 的得地 that goes with the noun/verb/adjective.
  1. 和孩子一起看書,在書中任何一頁指出各個名詞、動詞、形容詞
  2. 請孩子拿出合適的「的/ 得/ 地」字卡配上

    

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 玩法變化 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. First asking your child to identify whether the character you’re pointing out is a noun/verb/adjective.
  2. You can also add a timer to add some pressure (but this might not be fun).
  1. 增加孩子對語法的認識,你可以問孩子你所指的字是哪種詞類 (名詞/動詞/形容詞)

We would love to hear your comments and see pictures of your kids doing the activities. Make sure you join our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group and share with us!

TIP OF THE WEEK

Sometimes, it’s just hard.

We don’t mean that life can be hard (though, it certainly can be). Rather, we mean that sometimes, Chinese is just hard! The characters or lessons or sets can be difficult for your child’s current developmental level or can just be difficult in general.

Be patient even if it seems as if one set is taking months to go through. Your child is forming connections that you can’t see and eventually, it will pay off. You don’t know when – but it will.

Keep going.

很多家長都已是我們 Facebook 群組【講媽 · 講爸園地】 的成員。歡迎你也加入我們,一起互相鼓勵和支持,共同為孩子的學習而努力。

加入【講媽 · 講爸園地】

期待與你在群組內會面~

 

Comparing 他/她/它/牠/祂

In spoken Chinese, there is no differentiation between pronouns of any type. Regardless of gender, species, or even objects, they all sound the same. However, after contact with the West, differences in written Chinese started to be introduced.

While it is still perfectly acceptable and grammatically correct to use 他 in all circumstances, modern Chinese has started incorporating all the different kinds of 他 and it’s useful for children to recognize them.

Plus, your children will learn about the differences between male/female, objects, animals, and deities. Also, it’s a very easy way to teach kids the differences in radicals and see how obviously they apply to each pronoun.

For a brief refresher, here are all the different kinds of 他:

generic for all situations; he/him/his
she/her/hers
it/its (object)
it (animals)
3rd person pronoun for divine beings

ACTIVITIES OF THE WEEK

Most of these activities focus on matching and decoding which pronouns belong to which object/person.


Pronouns Picture Matching Game (age 3+, single or multiple players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Various pictures of people, animals, objects, and gods/religious symbols
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Write each pronoun on multiple cards
  • Print out or provide pictures (in books or magazines) of the various subjects
 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Pass out at least one of every pronoun to every child.
  2. Choose a picture (or point to an object in your house) and ask your child to choose which pronoun goes with the picture. Technically, 他 works in all situations, but for the purpose of this activity, limit to the male or mixed gender pictures.
  3. Continue until all pictures/examples are used.

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using pictures of groups of objects/people/animals (This is hard because it would default to 他.)
  2. If your child is younger and can’t understand the concept of divine beings, remove that category.
  3. If your children are really young, you may want to limit to 2 or 3 pronouns and leave the rest out.

Memory Matching Pronouns Game (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Write each pronoun on multiple cards
 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Mix up the cards and place them face down on the floor.
  2. Have the first child flip over two cards. If they match, they keep the pair and can either go again or have the next child go.
  3. Take turns until all cards are paired.

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. If your children are really young, you may want to limit to 2 or 3 pronouns and leave the rest out.

Pronoun Radicals Matching Game (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Or Sagebooks flashcards
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Write multiple pronoun cards several times
  • Also write the radicals of the pronouns several times on cards

 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Shuffle the pronoun cards.
  2. Give each child at least one of each radical card.
  3. Flip over a pronoun card and have each child choose which is the matching radical.
 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. You can also swap which cards you shuffle (ie: use the radical cards and have your child choose the matching pronoun)
  2. If your children are really young, instead of having them match pronouns with the radicals, you can use only pronoun cards.

Radical Elimination Game (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Timer
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Write radicals on the cards
  • Write 也 / 匕 on multiple cards

 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Mix up all the radicals and the 也 匕 cards together and spread out on the floor.
  2. Set a timer for 1-2 minutes and have the children make as many pronouns as possible.

   

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. If your children are younger, you can separate the radicals from the 也 / 匕
  2. You can also remove the timer or make the time limit shorter.
  3. To make it harder, turn the cards face down and turn into a memory game. Matched pairs are whatever radical matches the 也 / 匕

We would love to hear your comments and see pictures of your kids doing the activities. Make sure you join our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group and share with us!

TIP OF THE WEEK

Have your child associate Chinese with  fun .

Yes, this can admittedly be harder than anticipated. Especially when children get older. However, you can try things like “gameification” which is having your children unlock rewards or prizes for completing certain Chinese activities or mastering specific concepts. It’s basically a fancy term for a rewards chart.

Or, you can introduce more Chinese movies, shows, and fun games so that Chinese is not always associated with homework and textbooks.

This is a huge reason why we try to give activity ideas in our posts.

Have these tips been helpful? We’d love to hear from you in our Facebook Group and we hope to see you there.

 

More Radical Fun Games

Continuing on from our previous post on activities for teaching children Chinese radicals, we have included a few more in this post. A few of these activities are geared more for younger children - but the last one is definitely for older kids who have more characters under their belt.

ACTIVITIES OF THE WEEK

Most of these activities focus on matching and locating the radicals within a character. Hopefully, your younger children will have so much fun that they won’t notice learning anything.


Radical Easter Egg (age 3+, single or multiple players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Plastic Easter Eggs
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Cut many tiny cards that can fit into a plastic Easter Egg
  • Write several pairs of radicals on the cards
  • Put cards into the Easter Eggs
  • Hide them throughout your house or a room (you can skip this if you want)
 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Have the children go find the eggs
  2. After all the eggs are found, have them open the eggs and then pair up and match the radicals. They will have to work together if there are multiple children.
 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using more radicals (vs having lots of the same radicals)
  2. Instead of pairing radicals with a matching radical, have radicals pairing with characters with that radical. (eg: 亻/個)
  3. Using characters that on first glance could have several radical options (eg: 好, 字, 古)
  4. If your children are really young, you may want to use only the easiest radicals (eg: 口,手,目,人).

Radicals Memory Matching (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Cut many tiny cards that can fit into a plastic Easter Egg
  • Write several pairs of radicals on the cards
 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Mix up the cards and place them face down on the floor.
  2. Have the first child flip over two cards. If they match, they keep the pair and can either go again or have the next child go.
  3. Take turns until all cards are paired.

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using more radicals (vs having lots of the same radicals)
  2. Instead of pairing radicals with a matching radical, have radicals pairing with characters with that radical. (eg: 亻/個)
  3. Using characters that on first glance could have several radical options (eg: 好, 字, 古)
  4. If your children are really young, you may want to use only the easiest radicals (eg: 口,手,目,人).

Below is a video showing how to play the Radicals Memory Matching game.


Radicals Detective Game (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Or Sagebooks Study Cards
  • Tiny tokens or circles/rings
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Write several characters or use the Sagebooks Study Cards

 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Shuffle the cards.
  2. Either give each child a card of their own or work on one card together.
  3. Have each child put a token or ring on every possible radical in the character (or take turns).
 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using very complex characters with multiple radical options.
  2. If your children are really young, you may want to use only the easiest radicals (eg: 口,手,目,人).
  3. If you have mixed age groups, you may want to have the children use separate cards.

Radicals Elimination Game (age 5+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Timer
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Write radicals on the cards
 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Hand each child a sheet of paper and write the numbers 1-10.
  2. Mix up the radical cards and draw a card.
  3. Draw a card and show the children the radical.
  4. Set a timer for 1-2 minutes and have the children write as many characters as possible (up to 10) within that time limit.
  5. Then, have one child read all their answers. After each answer, if someone else also wrote that character, they will all cross that character off the list.
  6. After the first child is done, go to the next child. If they have any characters left, they can read them and again, if someone else wrote that character, they will all cross that character off.
  7. Keep repeating until no one has any overlapping characters left.
  8. Winner is the one with the most unique characters written for the radical.

 

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

This is a very difficult activity so depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using radicals with more options vs rarer radicals.
  2. If children are too competitive, you don’t have to eliminate all the characters they have in common and instead have the children see if they can beat themselves and see how many characters they can come up within the time limit. (vs. limiting to ten)
  3. If your children are really young, you may want to use only the easiest radicals (eg: 口,手,目,人).

Below is a video showing how to play the Radicals Elimination game.

We would love to hear your comments and see pictures of your kids doing the activities. Make sure you join our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group and share with us!

TIP OF THE WEEK

Stop comparing.

Thanks to modern social media, we see how others are doing in their lives more than ever before. Because of that, it’s very easy to compare ourselves with how our peers or our children’s peers are doing.

Resist the urge to compare you and your children to others. People usually only show the highlights and not the effort or hardships. This will only make you and your children miserable. After all, what does it matter how other people are doing? Whether they do well or not has zero impact on your child’s progress.

Instead, focus on the end goal:  literacy and fluency .

Have these tips been helpful? We’d love to hear from you in our Facebook Group and we hope to see you there.

 

Vickie W 的體驗 – 忙碌家長的教學良伴

(本文譯自英文版原文 For the original version in English please click here)

歡迎 Vickie W 與我們分享她的體驗。Vickie W 每星期要上50小時的班。她等到女兒4歲才開始教她中文。雖然她的女兒起步較晚,但藉着基礎漢字500的課程能取得很好的成果,這很值得大家感到鼓舞。

 家庭狀況 (本人原述) 

Vickie W: 我是台灣人,母語是國語。我出生於台灣,直到9歲才跟隨父母移居到沙地阿拉伯。後來又轉移到美國,並一直在美國生活到現在。我在沙地阿拉伯時每星期一次會去上中文班,當時的中文班沿用台灣的中文學校課程,我跟着課程完成了中三。由於在家中我們只說國語,而且直到我讀大學的中段為止,每年的暑假我們都會回台灣住兩個月,再加上我本身熱愛閱讀中文小說,所以我的中文水平得以維繫了。

我的先生: 他是第三代美藉墨西哥人。他的母語是英文,中文大概只會5個字再加上他跟着女兒學的一些零碎字。他在高校和大學修過西班牙語,能說流利的西班牙語,但跟女兒沒有用來交談。

我和先生都要每星期外出上班大約50小時,即使在家有時也要繼續工作。我們請有一位全職的褓母照顧孩子,她和孩子說西班牙語。

 小孩 

女兒現在已5歲半。她1歲半時我開始教她說中文,在那之前她因為褓母的關係可能說西班牙語比較多。我很相信她最先說的字是 mas agua。開始時,我的目標只是想為她建立一個每晚睡前閱讀的習慣,所以每晚都會和她讀一本中文故事書。我也讓她看巧虎。大約一年後,我就開始教她認一些中文字。從2.5歲到4.5歲她上過中文浸透班,還可以,只是我認為那位老師用太多英文了。

她到了4歲左右才開始說較多的中文,我也在那個時候盡量和她多說國語。我為她換了一所學校,新的國語班比之前的好得多。目前我們的家庭國語接觸包括睡前閱讀、看巧虎、看國語卡通片、和與我的國語交談。

小兒子現正才10個月大,還沒開始說話。


 本人原述 

1. 你為甚麼會選用思展圖書?

女兒要到了4歲才開始真正地說中文。她3歲半時我用過Better Chinese來教她。我認為她要是學多了一致性的短句就會能把它們串起來。我也開始將一些中文字片在家中隨意放着用來教她認字。

就在那時候我開始搜索教中文的方法,看到了Mandarin Mama和Guavarama的介紹。我認為當時她還不適合使用思展圖書。她4歲時我們回過台灣去過年,那次她和完全不會英語的表姐玩。我發現突然她就會用一切能力將她所會的中文都串起來要和表姐溝通,也開始和她認為不會說英語的人用中文說話。

終於,在這個基礎上,加上我希望能記錄下她所認識的漢字數目(這一點主要是為了我自己),在看了很多家長的評價後,我決定開始使用思展圖書。我想那應該是在2017年底、2018年初那段時間吧。

2. 請你分享一下使用基礎漢字500的體驗。每次閱讀的過程是怎樣? 有沒有配合其他活動?

我們開始使用思展圖書時,女兒已經5歲了。她之前已學會了大約150-200個字,因此頭兩級的進度很快。大約3個月之前我們開始了第三級,目前剛完成了第三冊,進度比之前兩級慢。我們也沒有甚麼特定的每日計劃,但每晚睡覺前一定會讀基礎漢字500。

有一點我很喜歡:要是我那天很累,我可以只和她看一課,要是有精神,我也可以一次和她讀四課。每完成一冊書,我都會和她溫習一次才開始讀下一冊。要是她還記不牢,我會和她再溫習一次。經過兩次溫習以後,即使她還沒完全記牢,我也會繼續看下一冊的。這樣才可以保持她的興趣。

通常我們一天讀兩課。我會讓她描一下那課的生字,然後讓她自已讀,她遇上不會讀的字我才幫她。目前我們沒有看拼音。當我們完成了一冊書做溫習的時候會每之讀四課,就是說一個星期就可以溫習完一冊。視乎她對生字的記憶能力,有時會再溫一次才學下一冊。唯一的其他配合活動是看寶貝盒的故事。啟蒙級和萌芽級的故事較短,但躍進級開始就較長了,所以每次我讓她只看四頁。

3. 你最喜歡思展圖書的甚麼? 不喜歡的又是甚麼? 

我喜歡它容易用,我不必做其他的組織也不用多想。我覺得對我這種每週工作50小時、孩子沒睡自己就隨時能睡得着的忙碌母親來說是很大的幫助。我發現有些印刷上的錯誤,例如有時會漏了每課最後的「完」字。

4. 要是你要教另一個孩子,還會用思展圖書嗎?

我絕對會用思展圖書教我第二名孩子。這套書不便宜,當然要物盡其用!我希望我第二個孩子能早些開始學。

5. 請你為現在快要開始的家長提供一些心得。

首先,我覺得對孩子要有耐性。當我女兒2歲時,她完全聽不懂我說中文,當時我根本沒想過能有一天和她用國語交談。即使孩子們一開始好像總學不會,只要持之以恆,必定能學成。每天訂一個小小的、容易達到的目標,也可以訂個每週目標。最重要是大家高高興興地一起學習!

...

我們非常感謝 Vickie W 抽空與我們分享。謝謝您!

思展支援你
很多家長都已是我們 Facebook 群組【講媽 · 講爸園地】 的成員。歡迎你也加入我們,一起互相鼓勵和支持,共同為孩子的學習而努力。

加入【講媽 · 講爸園地】 .

期待與你在群組內會面~

Fun Games to Tackle Radicals

As we discussed in a previous post, teaching our children Chinese radicals is important for remembering and guessing the meaning or pronunciation of a character. This post focuses on fun activities to either help your kids identify or recognize the radicals within characters.

ACTIVITIES OF THE WEEK

Learning about radicals may seem like a hard or boring activity. However, if we could treat it like looking for clues in a scavenger hunt or treasure map, it will be a lot more fun for our children. Here are two fun games for you to try with your children.


Radical BINGO Activity (age 3+, single or multiple players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • Sheets of paper
  • Study Cards (optional)
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Tokens (eg: coins, buttons, stones, chips, etc.)
 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Make a grid of 3x3 up to 5x5 (like a BINGO card) (multiple sheets)
  • Pull out or write 10-15 radical word cards
  • Fill in the grid with a variety of characters that pair with the 10-15 radical cards (different characters or arrangement for each sheet)
  • Put the 10-15 radical cards in a bowl or mix them up.

We have created some sample sheets and radical cards which are not included in the Study Cards. Please feel free to click and download:

Most of the common radicals can be found in the Study Cards: 馬/女/人/口/水/木/手/心/刀/山/十/門/日...

 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Have each player choose a BINGO sheet
  2. Pull out a radical from the bowl or deck.
  3. Say the radical out loud (or, for a harder version, have your child read it)
  4. Each player will look at their BINGO sheet and look for character(s) that have the radical and place a token on the character(s).
  5. First person to place a token on every square (or have a full vertical/horizontal/diagonal row) wins.

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using a bigger or smaller grid
  2. Using radicals that look different as a character (eg: 人/亻, 手/扌,心/忄,川/巛,火/灬) versus as a radical.
  3. Using characters that on first glance could have several radical options (eg: 好, 字, 古)
  4. If your children are really young, you may want to use only the easiest radicals (eg: 口,手,目,人).

Below is a video showing how to play Radical Bingo.


Sorting Radicals Activity 2 (age 3+, single or multi players)

 WHAT YOU NEED 
  • (optional) Flash cards (either your own, or you can try the new Sagebooks Study Cards)
  • (optional) sheets of paper
  • String, sticks, pencils

 HOW TO PREPARE 
  • Pull out and place 3-5 radical cards and place in a line.
  • Pull out or write 3-5 character cards that have that radical
  • Mix all the character cards
 HOW TO PLAY 
  1. Have the first player choose a character card and then place it with the appropriate radical.
  2. Either have the child continue until they’re done matching or take turns with other players.

 ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO PLAY 

Depending on the age of your child, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level of the activity by:

  1. Using radicals that look different as a character (eg: 人/亻, 手/扌,心/忄,川/巛,火/灬) versus as a radical
  2. Using characters that on first glance could have several radical options (eg: 好, 字, 古)
  3. If your children are really young, you may want to use only the easiest radicals (eg: 口,手,目,人)
  4. Having the children compete who can sort the fastest or who see if they can beat a previous time.

Below is a video showing how to play the Sorting Radicals game.

We would love to hear your comments and see pictures of your kids doing the activities. Make sure you join our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group and share with us!

TIP OF THE WEEK

Make do with what you have.

Sometimes we as parents get a little carried away with acquiring all the books or games or activities because we conflate owning something with actually using it. We also falsely equivocate buying something educating our children.

Yes, there will be times you graduate to more advanced materials or find that you really so need supplemental books. But oftentimes we just need to use what we already own.

Have these tips been helpful? We’d love to hear from you in our Facebook Group and we hope to see you there.

 

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.

 CHILDREN 

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)

 

 IN HER OWN WORDS 

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!
JOIN US FOR MORE
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

JOIN SUPPORT GROUP

We’d love to hear from you.

The Importance of Knowing Chinese Radicals

Chinese radicals (Bu-Shou) are graphical components of Chinese characters. One of the main functions of radicals is to look up characters in a Chinese dictionary, as all characters are listed under specific radicals.

Nowadays, while characters are still being listed according to radicals, many dictionaries also offer pinyin look-up. Most smartphone apps accept handwriting characters as an input method, allowing children to simply hand write the character into an app, which will tell them the pronunciation, radical, and other components.

Many parents may thus wonder, is there any need to teach radicals to help our children look up words in Chinese dictionaries? To some parents, Chinese radicals seem to be too numerous and too archaic to teach and too difficult to learn.

These certainly are very valid questions upon which even Chinese educators ponder.

However, if your goal is for your child to become literate in Chinese, or at least, read a decent number of characters, it behooves you to teach your child radicals.

Let us look at how the knowledge of the logic behind the taxonomy of Chinese characters will help your child become literate.

1. It gives a general sense of what category a character belongs to

There are over 20,000 characters in the written Chinese language. A highly educated person can be expected to know ~8,000 characters. In order to read the newspaper, one needs about 2-3,000 characters.

That is a LOT of unique characters! It is not uncommon for a native Chinese to come across unknown or unfamiliar characters.

This is when radicals can come to the aid.

Like the taxonomy of organisms in science, radicals group characters together under a broad category. For instance, in science, if you say an organism belongs in the Kingdom Animalia, you know it’s not a plant, or a bacteria, or even a fungus. It’s still a wide wide field of possibilities, but you know it’s an animal and have a general sense of what it is.

In terms of Chinese characters, if you see the radical 宀, you know it generally has to do with houses or buildings of some sort. If you see the radical 艹, you know the character generally has to do with plants (but not trees).

List any radical - even the hard and obscure ones, and if you have a general knowledge of radicals, you can have an idea of what the word means or represents - even if you do not actually know the character.

As your child becomes a more advanced reader, the radical will give your child enough of a hint as to what “family” this character belongs to, and given the context of the surrounding characters, as well as the other sound and meaning components of the character, your child has a good chance of “guessing” that character. In fact, this is how more advanced readers eventually pick up characters.

2. Guess and remember the meanings and pronunciations of characters

As we mentioned already, radicals can help with the meaning of the character or the sound of the character. Combine this with your child’s general understanding of how components can work together to form a Chinese character, this will again, assist your child in guessing an unknown character.

For instance, in the character 媽, your child can see the radical, 女, and know it is related to women. Then your child sees the component 馬 and guesses that it is probably a character that sounds like /ma/ (or perhaps also is related to horses). Given their knowledge of the Chinese language, your child comes up with two possible guesses. This character is either the word for “mother” or a word for “mare” (female horse). This is where comprehension and contextual guessing would come in handy. Most would likely guess that the word is “mother.”

In addition, it will help your child remember characters.

In the above example, your child can teach themselves to remember the character by saying, to themselves, it has the 女 radical so it’s related to women, and the sound component 馬 because 媽 sounds like 馬 but with a different tone.

As there are many unique characters in Chinese to remember, the more visual aids you equip your child with, the better.

3. Helps your child look up characters in Chinese dictionary

While this may be a dying art, it’s still useful to know. Your kid might not always be in a situation where there is internet access, or even access to an app. For school or tests, they may require your child to use a dictionary, and the more skilled your child is at identifying possible radicals, the easier they can use a Chinese dictionary.

 

FINAL NOTE
If you do decide to teach your child radicals, we do NOT recommend you force your child to memorize all 214 of them and flash cards at them repeatedly until they can spit it back out. It may be tempting because it’s an easier method (in terms of figuring out which radicals your child knows), but it’s a surefire way of killing any desire to learn or remember radicals.

In a future post, we will have some suggested activities with which you can teach your children radicals in more exciting ways, but in the meantime, just remember that radicals are like clues. Your children can become detectives as they try to figure out what clues the character is giving you about its meaning or sound.

In addition, you can just start pointing out the radicals of words they already know - as well as pointing out when characters share a radical. Using our previous posts about Compare and Contrast, you can help build up their observational skills, too!

For more details on 部首, its brief history and the distribution of the 70 部首 taught in the Basic Chinese 500 course, please read our post 認識漢字部首 (post in Chinese).

 

Compare & Contrast (2): Linguistic Elements

In Compare & Contrast we discussed how developing the ability to compare and contrast also helps with building up Chinese language skills. Because children 0-6 acquire and practice many basic skills, it’s important to teach our kids to find the similarities and differences between objects and things. This skill builds a scientific, linguistic and mathematical foundation.

This post furthers this discussion, focusing on the many aspects of the Chinese language such as characters, phrases, grammar and more.

Important Chinese Characters Practice

Since written Chinese uses shapes and strokes instead of an alphabet, learning to read builds upon children’s ability to differentiate between characters and some common components. The Chinese language is rife with ways to teach our children how to compare and contrast.

We will focus on 4 major areas in this post:

  1. Components of Characters
  2. Simplified vs Traditional scripts
  3. Intonations
  4. Literary Forms

 

A. Components of characters

The built-in visual similarities and differences between characters and components in

  1. strokes
  2. Radicals
  3. Sound
  4. Meaning
1. Strokes

  • How are the characters in each row similar?
  • How are those characters different?
  • What is the pattern in the progression of the characters?
2. Radicals

  • What do these characters have in common?
  • Why do you think they have the same radical?
  • How are they different?
  • Are any of these characters similar to other characters in looks? Sounds? Meaning?
3. Sounds

  • What do these characters have in common?
  • What are their similarities in sound?
  • How are they different?
4. Meaning

  • What does this group of characters have in common?
  • Why do you think 女 & 子 make 好 when 好 doesn’t sound like either?
  • Why do you think 小 & 大 make 尖 when 尖 doesn’t sound like either?
  • Why do you think 日 & 月 make 明 when 明 doesn’t sound like either?

B. Simplified and Traditional scripts

The Simplified and Traditional scripts are excellent examples to study because:

  • These are characters that are at the same time both the same (because it is literally the same word) and different (because the are written differently)
  • some changes are universally applied (eg: a Simplified radical)
  • some changes seem to be unique to particular characters only

Let us take the following characters as an example.

Each pair of the above characters represent the same word, yet one is in Traditional and the other Simplified. Study them and discuss with your child

  • What are the differences?
  • Which parts are kept the same?
  • How was each character simplified?
  • Is this how you would have done so?
  • Why do you think this was the chosen change?

You may want to search on the internet the general logic behind the simplification of individual characters. Sometimes, the characters reverted to a certain variant from the evolution of Chinese writing. Sometimes, the characters were changed into different sound or meaning components.

C. Intonation

The different tones in some Chinese characters can sound very similar to an untrained ear. Meanwhile, there exist many homonyms (both homophonic characters 同音字 and homophonic words 同音詞), and heteronyms (多音字). Below are a few examples and suggestions of discussion points with your child.

1. variations in tones

  • What are the different tones?
  • What are the different meanings?
  • Do you notice any similarities between the characters? Differences?
2. homophones

媽 (mother) 嗎 (what)
機 (machine) 雞 (chicken)
事 (matter, thing) 是 (to be) 市 (market) 世 (lifetime, generation) 室 (room) 士 (soldier)

  • What are their different meanings?
  • Can you tell from the characters?
  • How can you tell which word someone is using when they’re talking and you can’t read the character?
3. Words made of two characters

For older or more sophisticated students, you could attempt some homonyms and intonation variations for words that are made of two characters.

Homonymes

猩猩 (ape) 星星 (star)
權利 (power, right, privilege) 權力 (power, authority)
行李 (luggage) 行禮 (to salute)
談情 (to engage in love talk) 彈琴 (to play on the piano)

Intonation variations

熟食 /shóu shí/ (cooked food) 守時 /shŏu shí/ (punctual)
通知 /tōng zhī/ (to inform) 統治 /tŏng zhì/ (to govern)
補牙 /bŭ yá/ (to repair a tooth) 不雅 /bù yă/ (vulgar)
投寄 /tóu jì/ (to post a letter) 投機 /tóu jī/ (to speculate)

D. Chinese Grammar and Literary Forms

Chinese extensively uses techniques of comparing and contrasting in poetry, couplets and idioms. By pointing them out to children and directing their attention to these elements, they not only learn to think of language technically, but they also learn about Chinese grammar, history, and culture.

I. Dui-Lian (Couplets 對聯)

Dui-Lian (Couplets 對聯) are pairs of poetic lines that complement each other by using various literary artforms. While we won’t go in depth analyzing couplets here, in general, they can be used to teach children culture, grammar, symbolism, and poetic language. Here are two popular examples:

雲對雨,雪對風

In this sentence, we can look for similarities. All four things mentioned are nouns as well natural phenomenon. Cloud is paired with rain and snow is paired with wind. Why are they paired together? What does each pair have in common? How are the two pairs different? Looking at the four nouns, what do they have in common other than being weather related? What do the characters look like?

來鴻對去燕

In this sentence, we have a contrast in differences. We have two verbs that are antonyms: one is coming and the other is going. We have two nouns that are also different: a large goose and a small swallow. We can also use this sentence to study similarities since there are two nouns and two verbs. They are both paired words and are compared to each other.

II. Poetry

Each set of sentences below illustrates contrasts and similarities:

舉頭望明月,低頭思故鄉

Contrast: looking up vs looking down

Compare similarities: the verbs “to look” / “to think”; the nouns “moon” / “homeland”

在天願作比翼鳥,在地願為連理枝

Contrast: the sky vs the earth

Compare similarities: 比翼鳥 (two birds flying wing to wing) & 連理枝 (two trees with branches intertwined), they both simulate lovers.

III. Cheng-yu (idioms)

Chinese idioms are full of contrasts and similarities. These idioms often provide vivid images and would be an excellent way to engage children in examining the concept of compare and contrast. Below are a few examples (the first three are featured in Idioms in Comic):*

 白 分明

 短 

 低 

 夕 

 退 

 西 就 

* in each example, the coloured character and the highlighted one contrast each other, the other 2 characters share some similarities

We hope this article has given you some ideas of how to use the Chinese language to help your children with their observation skills and at the same time learn Chinese in the process.

If you have questions, or would like us to discuss further on some other related topics, please feel free to drop us a note:

Message Sagebooks HK

 

孩子的語文發展的兩個主要因素

語言是人類有別於其他生物的最大優勢,是人類得以主宰地球上其他生物的天賦條件,因此,每個孩子都有學好語言的潛能。

然而,事實上,孩子語文學習的成效和速度可以有很大的差異。為什麼?

孩子的語文發展取決於兩個主要因素:稱職的教師優質的教材

稱職的教師 (及不可或缺的強力後盾)

每位父母都是孩子最好的老師。

所謂母語,孩子自然能承傳父母的語言。傳統的大家庭型態為孩子提供了極豐富的語言環境。

現代核心家庭型態的父母要補償這點不足,必須要每天抽時間與孩子一起閱讀。

當家長必須將主要的精力集中在教育孩子時,思展的後勤則隨時候命,全力協助家長,減低不必要的壓力。

我們為家長提供的一連串服務包括:

  • 訂購市面缺貨或斷市的圖書
  • 訂購完成後,顧客若發現有錯漏,36小時之內可更正訂購內容
  • 特殊情況下,我們可以為讀者安排加急寄遞
  • 免費提供郵包追蹤查詢
  • 按顧客要求,將圖書送往特殊地址,包括酒店
  • 追查遺失的訂單
  • 提供門市地址查詢

孩子的成長時刻和時間競賽。因此,我們盡可能在最短的時間內回覆家長的查詢。無論是電郵、Facebook PM、Instagram、Twitter,我們都當天就會回覆,解答家長的疑問。

教育孩子是任重而道遠的事。每個孩子都有自己的本性和獨特之處,因此每位父母面對的疑問和挑戰都不一樣。若你有其他問題,歡迎與我們聯繫

優質的教材

當孩子可以開始認字了,父母必須為孩子選擇優質的教材。

思展方程式是一套完整的教材,是孩子啟蒙認讀的優質圖書。

參閱更多相關材料

但是,無論是如何優質的教材,要是沒有正確的使用方法,就有可能會浪費了時間和資源。

因此在選購教材時、或購置了教材之後,父母都應該盡量利用我們的各種服務和資源,不但可以作出最明智的選擇,更可以從多角度去延伸孩子的學習,讓孩子發展出最大的潛能。

思展豐富的教育資源包括:

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