Teaching Chinese Parts of Speech

As we discussed last month, proper Chinese grammar is one way to improve our kids’ Chinese fluency. Our previous activity focused on classifiers, qualifying words which count nouns, because it was a quick and easy way to help your children sound more like native speakers.


This week, we will help our children learn about the different parts of speech such as nouns (名詞/míng cí/), verbs (動詞/dòng cí/), and adjectives (形容詞/xíng róng cí/). If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also teach adverbs (副詞/fù cí/), prepositions (介詞/jiè cí/) and the rest of the 8 parts of speech.

As a quick refresher:

  • A noun is a person, place, or thing.
  • A verb describes an action, state, or occurrence.
  • An adjective is a word or phrase that modifies a noun.

You may wonder why we are even bothering teaching the Chinese parts of speech to children living in Anglophone societies. Because grammar is a way to speak about a language and its components, it’s helpful for children to know the correct terms and the basic structure of how Chinese works and flows. After all, even native English speakers learn how the English language is structured and works.

This knowledge can help children with their written and spoken Chinese skills. The more your children understand Chinese grammar, the more native they will sound. Most native speakers learn grammar both passively through their surrounding environment as well as actively through schooling. Since children who grow up in non-Chinese environments do not have the benefit of absorbing grammar passively, we need to consciously equip them with proper Chinese grammar so they can sound as native as possible.



  • (optional) Character cards (either your own, or you can try the new Sagebooks Study Cards) separated into nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
  • 3 small buckets/boxes/areas
  • Write three small signs/labels for noun, verb, adjective (in either English or Chinese)
  • Mix up the character cards


Parts of Speech Identification Activity 1 (age 3+, single or multi person)

1. Mix up the character/word cards and then place them in a pile.
2. Have the first person pick up a card, read it, and place it the card in the correct bucket of noun, verb, or adjective. If they are right, they get a point.
3. Take turns until all the cards are used up.
4. Whoever has the most points wins. (Alternatively, you don’t need to keep score at all.)

If your children are younger, you may want to just do nouns and verbs because adjectives can be a harder concept.


Parts of Speech Identification Activity 2 (age 3+, single or multi person)

1. Mix up the cards and deal them out equally face down.
2. See how quickly each child can sort the cards into their appropriate category of noun, verb, or adjective.

Again, you can make this easier for younger children by having fewer cards as well as categories.



  • Chinese stories or sentences you can copy and paste into a computer or handwrite on paper.
  • Pencils and paper
  • Find simple sentences or stories in Chinese (or make up your own). The simplest thing to do is take Basic Chinese 500 lessons or Treasure Box and use them as reference.
  • Copy and paste into a word file and then remove the parts of speech you want them to replace. Alternatively, you can just hand write the sentences and leave the parts of speech blank.
  • Make sure you write what part of speech you want the child to use in the blank.

Mad Libs Activity (age 5+, single or multi person):

1. Place the character word cards face up in the groups of nouns, verbs, and adjectives (optional).
2. Read the first part of speech you need and have the first player choose the word they want to use from the appropriate pile.
3. The next player will choose the next part of speech you need.
4. Keep going until all the blanks you need are filled.
5. Then, read aloud the story with the characters they used.

If your children are younger, you can again, limit the blank parts of speech to nouns and verbs. Additionally, you can provide sample nouns and verbs from which your children can choose since that is easier than coming up with their own words.

To increase difficulty, you can increase the number of blanks the kids have to supply words for. You can also have the children take turns being the “narrator.” The narrator asks for the blanks, writes the responses into the blanks on the page, and then reads the finished product at the end.



  • (optional) Character/word cards (either your own, or you can try the new Sagebooks Study Cards) separated into nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
  • Separate the word cards into nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
  • Suggest possible formulas your children can follow. (eg: Noun + verb + noun; Adjective + noun + verb + noun; Noun + verb + adjective + noun; Adjective + noun + verb + adjective + noun)


Sentence Construction Activity (age 5+, single or multi person):

1. Place the character word cards face up in the groups of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
2. Choose which formula you want the kids to follows.
3. Have the first person choose the first part of speech and lay that card down.
4. The next player will choose the next part of speech you need.
5. Keep going until the formula is done.
6. Then, read aloud the sentence with the characters they used.

If your children are younger, you can again, limit the blank parts of speech to nouns and verbs. To make the activity harder, you can lay out all the word cards and set a timer. Within the 5 minutes, see who can create/write the most sentences using any of those formulas.

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!


Follow the interests of your child.

We generally retain the information about our hobbies, interests, and obsessions a lot more and with greater enthusiasm than the other stuff.

Same with your children.

If your child loves Pokemon, then focus more on Pokemon for awhile. Find books and stories about Pokemon in Chinese. Look up coloring sheets with their Chinese names on them. Learn the names of all the Pokemon in Chinese. Beg family or scour sites for Chinese Pokemon cards.

Don’t worry if your child seems to be absorbing useless trivia about Pokemon in Chinese. In addition to learning the names in Chinese, your children will also increase their vocabulary from watching or listening to the Chinese animations and stories. They will learn new Chinese characters from reading the Pokemon cards and memorizing the names. They will pick up all sorts of random things that will widen the scope of their Chinese language skills – and all because they love that subject and would likely do anything for rewards related to Pokemon.

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










幾天後的某一天,家裏的大人都出去了,呵呵… 後果大家想到了吧?





正如英文諺語所說:「貓有九命不及好奇心致命。」(Curiosity kills the cat) 有時候家長為了孩子的安全和保障他們的身心健康成長,不能事事都滿足小孩的好奇心,有些事物不但要暫時對孩子有所保留,同時也應該設立安全防線。每當你回應孩子的問題的時候都應逆身處地考慮一下:要是你現在變回孩子,你會怎樣看呢?在聽了你這位家長的話之後,你要是孩子你又會怎樣反應呢?





  • 要是孩子自己是龍公主,他/她會怎樣?
  • 為甚麼家人要瞞着龍公主?
  • 如果(龍公主或孩子)不自己去找,能靠推理猜到秘密嗎?


龍公主找秘密是《女孩子的生肖故事 (简体版)》套裝中的其中一個故事。這個套裝還包括了其他6個故事,今天就添加到孩子的書架上吧。

參閱《女孩子的生肖故事 (简体版)》介紹


Dot’s Story – Be Consistent and Keep Going

This week’s Parent Spotlight is Dots  and this is her second time going through Sagebooks with a child. She started at a similar time with both her daughters and is in the thick of things with her youngest and have made good headway in the last month or two.



Dots is a 2nd generation Taiwanese American with a first-grade level Mandarin reading and writing ability and can also read zhuyin. Her husband is also second generation Taiwanese American with similar level of speaking ability, no reading ability and cannot read zhuyin. She speaks only Chinese to her children.


7.5-year-old daughter (started: 4 years, 2 months old; finished in 2 years with lots of stopping and starting)
4.5-year-old daughter (started: at 4 years, 3 months; progress: have made it to Budding Reader, book 1, lesson 11 in four months)


1. Why did you choose Sagebooks?

Mandarin Mama’s guest post by Alex Pang because it was a detailed review of how it worked.  When I realized that it did not require significant time commitment on my part – consistency was more important than how many minutes a day – I thought I would give it a try. After finishing the first two books (Beginning Reader books 1 & 2), I realized how effective it was, especially given how little effort it took on my part, that I was excited to finish it.

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

With older child: Typical lesson was reviewing two chapters, reading one new chapter. Towards the end (levels four and five), she would breeze through three or four chapters at a time, in part because she was getting more confident in Chinese overall. At first I had her write the character multiple times but I found that she really didn’t have the fine motor skills or concentration for that, and it didn’t help her retain the character.

I used the companion materials suggested by Guavarama when she had trouble retaining certain words (hundred-word board, and flashcards). As we progressed further, I kept a dry-erase notebook with me to help her distinguish between words that were similar in sound or appearance that she tended to mix up (eg.,把抱 or 那都).

With younger child: Typical lesson is reviewing two chapters, reading two new chapters.  A piece of candy for each chapter.

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

It feels like magic. If you are consistent, and do the books at least five times a week, which only takes ten to fifteen minutes a day, your kid will naturally retain the words! Some review and reinforcement is helpful for the words your child struggles with, but not absolutely necessary.  My children really liked the books. They found the pictures entertaining and enjoyed being able to read. Nothing I didn’t like.

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

Yes!  Already did.

5. Any advice for parents who are just starting?

Be consistent and just keep going. Even if you lost the book for two weeks and had to order a new one. Mandarin Mama has really great “big-picture” advice about how to approach doing Sagebooks and how to push through slow spots. Also found Guavarama’s blog very helpful for a good overview of Sagebooks as compared to other reading series out there. Finally, both Mandarin Mama and Guavarama have good activities listed on their blogs to reinforce the words and make the process more fun for your children.


Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience, Dots!

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.

Vickie W’s Story – a helpful tool for busy working parents

This week’s Parent Spotlight is Vickie W and she works at least 50 hours a week and didn’t teach her daughter Chinese until she was 4 years old. The fact that her daughter learned Chinese at a later age and is still doing well with Sagebooks is very encouraging!


 FAMILY BACKGROUND (In her own words) 

Vickie W: I would say I am a native Taiwanese and Mandarin speaker. I was born in Taiwan and grew up there until age 9 (3rd grade) and moved to Saudi Arabia with my parents.  Then I came to the US for high school and have stayed here in the US since. When I was in Saudi Arabia, I went to Chinese school once a week, which followed the Mandarin curriculum in Taiwan, and I completed that through 9th grade.  My Mandarin was kept up mainly because we spoke only mandarin at home, and we spent 2 months during summer vacation every year in Taiwan until I was half way through college, and my love for reading Chinese novels.

My husband: 3rd generation Mexican American.  English is his first language and he probably knows 5 words in Chinese and random words he repeats after my daughter.  He learned Spanish throughout high school and college, and is fluent but does not speak Spanish to our daughter.

Both my husband and I work full time about 50 hours per week out of the house, and then some more from home at times.  We have a full time nanny who speaks Spanish to the kids.


My daughter is 5.5 now. I first start really making an effort with teaching Chinese when she was 1.5 years old. Before that she probably spoke more Spanish because of the nanny. I am pretty sure her first words were: mas agua. My initial goal was just creating a habit of bedtime reading together so every night we would read together one chinese story book. I also had her watch Qiaohu.  We did this for about a year, then I started teaching her some Chinese characters. She went to an immersion preschool from age 2.5 to 4.5 which was ok, the teacher spoke too much English for my liking.

But around age 4 was when she started talking a lot more in Mandarin, and I started making an effort to speak as much Mandarin with her as possible.  We also switched to a different immersion school for TK, and the Mandarin education was much better than the previous school. Currently our Mandarin exposure at home consists of bedtime reading, watching Qiaohu, watching cartoons in Mandarin, and Mandarin conversation with me.  

My son is 10 months old and doesn't speak.


1. Why did you choose Sagebooks?

My daughter really didn’t understand or speak much in Mandarin until 4. Around age 3.5 we started using my first Chinese words from Better Chinese. I thought the constant short sentences might teach her how to string some short sentences together and we also started some character recognition just using some word cards I had lying around.

I also did a lot of research around that time on how to teach Mandarin and read through many of Mandarin Mama and Guavarama’s posts, and I realized Sagebooks wouldn’t be suitable for her to start with.   Then around age 4 we went home to Taiwan for Chinese New Years and she was playing with her cousin (who spoke no English), then suddenly I realized she was using every effort to string together every word she knew to communicate with her cousin and she was conversing in Chinese especially with people she thinks can not speak English.

So finally with this background, and also the desire to keep count of how many characters she knows (for myself mostly), and after reading so many accounts of parents using it, I decided to start with Sagebooks.  I think we probably started end of 2017, beginning of 2018.

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

By the time we started Sagebooks, my daughter just turned 5, and already knew about 150-200 characters from prior, so the first two sets went pretty fast.  We started set 3 maybe about 3 months ago, and we just finished set 3 book 3, so this set is going much slower. We don’t have a set plan on a daily basis, but Sagebooks is a part of our bedtime routine.

I like it that I can just do one lesson a day if I am really tired, or I can power through 4 lessons if I am up for it.  After I finish going through a book, usually I do another review through it before I move on to another book. I might do a second review if I feel that the words are not sticking well enough.  Usually after a second review, whether she’s learned all the words or not, I move on to the next book, just to keep interest up.

We usually go over two lessons per day.  I usually will have her trace the character, then she will try to read out loud the sentences by herself and I’ll help her with the characters she doesn’t know.  We don’t use pinyin at this time. After we finish a book, we go back again to review 4 lessons at a time, so this will finish the book review in about 1 week. Depending on how much she retains, I may go back again to the same book, and review again, before moving on to the next book.  The only additional activities I add is using the treasure books to supplement the reading. For set 1 and set 2 the stories are short enough. For set 3, the stories are longer so I usually just have her go through 4 pages of that at a time.

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

I like Sagebooks because I don’t have to organize anything or think too much,  I think it’s good for Moms who have 50 hour work weeks and who falls asleep before their kid =)    I do notice small errors here and there, for example, where there should be the word 完 at the end of the lesson, it would be missing.

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

Definitely planning to use this with my second kid.  This is an expensive set, have to make it worthwhile!  I am hoping I can start earlier with my second child.

5. Any advice for parents who are just starting?

For starting, I would say be patient with your child.  When my daughter was 2 and couldn’t understand much I said in Chinese, I thought the day will never come that she and I will be conversing in Mandarin.  Even if they don’t pick up the characters in the beginning, with persistence it will come eventually. Set small daily goals so that it’s manageable, or even weekly goals, and have fun together learning!


Thanks so much for taking the time to write such thorough responses, Vickie W! We really appreciate it.
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.

接龍 / Jie Long Connecting Dragon Activity


Traditionally, this activity was used to connect Chinese idioms where the last word of one idiom forms the first word of the next idiom. We will be adapting it so that small children can play and build up their vocabulary.



This week, your children will literally connect characters to make multiple words and phrases as their brain makes connections regarding how the same character can be used in different situations. If your children are younger or do not have a huge Chinese vocabulary, you can as make as many phrases with a particular character instead of following the jie long method.


- 紙 Paper
- 筆 Pens

 準備工作 HOW TO MAKE 

- 可以準備一些字卡,也可以不必作甚麼額外準備工夫。

- Nothing really to make unless you want to provide cards with characters already written.


接龍遊戲  (4歲起,一個人以上遊戲)

1. 選一張字卡或一個字作為開始。例如:高。
2. 由第一個人開始以所選的字為首,組成一個詞語。例如:高山。你可以在紙/白板上將詞語寫下來,也可以挑選字卡來展示。
3. 第二個人繼續組話,以上一個詞語結尾的字作為新詞語的開始。例如:山下 -> 下去⋯
4. 繼續輪到下一人。如果孩子想不出,就跳到下一個人接上。直到無人能再接上新的詞語為止。最後一個接上詞語的人勝出。


Jie Long Game (age 4+, single/multi player)

1. Take a character card or choose a character with which to start the activity. For example, 高.
2. Ask Player 1 to form a phrase that starts with the chosen character. Eg: 高山. Either write it down on a sheet of paper or white board, or choose the appropriate character card.
3. Ask Player 2 to form a phrase with ending character of the previous phrase. Eg: 山下, 下去, etc.
4. Continue on to the next player until someone is stuck. Skip to the next player until no one come up with a connecting phrase. The winner is the last person to make a phrase.

Alternative ideas: If your children are younger, you can provide a list of characters that would work with each other. The easiest way is to copy all the characters in a few of the lessons and provide them for your kids.

To make the game harder, instead of phrases, you can have the players come up with sentences.


Jie Long 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!


Don’t rush.

When you’re going through the lessons with your child, it can be very tempting to hurry them along and make them read only the sentences as quickly as possible. After all, most of us want to get onto the next thing and cram as many characters into their brains as we can.

Resist the urge to do so.

Let your kid enjoy the pictures and take in the illustrations at their leisure. Believe it or not, this will help your child with the actual reading. Reading is all about context – and the fun pictures will not only give clues about what the text will contain, it will help your child remember the characters on a given page because they will associate the sentences with certain drawings.

All these cues will come into play as your child reviews the lessons or tries to recall characters.

Want more tips and advice on how to go through Sagebooks with your children? Join us in our Facebook Group and meet other parents who are teaching their kids Basic Chinese 500 at all different ages and levels.

拋豆袋 Bean Bag Toss Activity

How have you been enjoying the activities?
Are the tips helping?
Have something that has been working for you?

Let us know in the Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group.




This week, you will need some space where you can throw things and not hit anything.

Quick Tip: Encourage your child to throw underhand so they can’t throw as hard. Also, the older your child is, the more characters you can add. Otherwise, start with just two.


  • 豆袋/布偶玩具/布球 Bean bags/stuffed animals/ball
  • 沒有蓋的盒子 Open boxes
  • 單字卡 Character cards


*Alternate materials: Sticky ball/suction cup ball, Dry erase marker, paper/cards with characters on it, bean bags

 準備工作 HOW TO MAKE 

  • 將盒子排列好 (任何形式都可以)
  • 在每個盒子前面放一張字卡
  • Line up the boxes in any configuration
  • Put a character card in front of the box

你還可以用小型白板,在左邊/右邊各寫一個字;又或者將字都寫上去 (每次不超過6-8個字)。

*Alternate ideas: Instead of cards, you can use boxes or even sheets of paper to denote the different characters.
You can also use a white board and write a character on the left side of the board and another character on the right side. (Or write until you’re done with all the characters. At most 6-8 at a time.)


拋豆袋 (3歲起,一人或以上遊戲)

1. 由你選其中一個盒子的字,告訴孩子。
2. 孩子將豆袋(或其他代替品)拋進正確的盒子中。
3. 各人輪流玩,直到所有的字都用過了。

Bean Bag Character Toss (age 3+, 1+ players)

1. Ask the child to throw the sticky ball or bean bag into a box of the character you say
2. Child will then throw at the character.
3. Take turns until all the characters are used for every child.



Alternate ways to play: You can keep track of the number of characters each child gets correct and have a winner. You can also put the boxes/sheets of paper in different parts of the room and ask the kids to run to the character you say.

Quick Tip: For younger children, start with 2 characters.

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!

Bean Bag Character Toss Game


Stop for the day if you or your child is tired or frustrated.

We know that sometimes, life gets in the way of daily reading. If you or your child has had a rough day and it’s coming out during your reading period, it’s okay to stop for the moment or even the day. If you or your child are getting frustrated at how your child is progressing, take a break or a quick breather.

Join us in our Facebook Group and meet other parents who are teaching their kids Sagebooks Basic Chinese 500 at all different ages and levels.

Have a wonderful day and we’ll see you next week!

去釣魚&抽烏龜 Go Fish and Old Maid

希望我們在這裏分享的各種遊戲能帶給孩子學習的歡樂,也帶給你更多的家庭教學靈感。大家發到【講媽 ⦁ 講爸】Facebook 群組 的孩子學習照片為我們帶來很大的鼓舞。要是你還未加入我們的大家庭,那就要趕快去看看喔!

We hope you have been finding these activities and tips helpful and fun. We certainly have been enjoying your pictures and feedback in our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group. If you haven’t checked us out there yet, please take a quick second to join!




This week, we’ll again be playing two games that our parents might find familiar: Go Fish and Old Maid. You can even re-use the fish cards you made for the Fishing Game last week!

Quick Tip: The younger your child is, the fewer character options you should present them. For example, if your child is 3, have them choose between 2 characters. If your child is 5, you can have 5+ characters.

  • 紙 paper
  • 剪刀 scissors
  • 鉛筆/鋼筆 pen/pencil
  • 蠟筆/麥克筆 Crayons/markers

* 其他可考慮採用的道具:卡紙、過膠機、過膠袋、思展閱讀練習卡

*Alternate materials: Cardstock, laminator, laminating pouches, Sagebooks Study Cards

  • 畫出並剪下一堆字卡
  • 將每個字寫在四張字卡上
  • 請孩子們在字卡的背面加上顏色和圖案裝飾
  • 完成所有你想用的字 (經驗之談:大約需要最少10個不同的字)



  •  Draw and cut out a bunch of fish
  • Write the character on 4 cards
  • Have the children color/decorate the backs of each card
  • Repeat until you are done with all the characters you want to use (Ideally, you will need at least 10 different characters.)

*Alternate ideas: Instead of cards, you can cut out fish, circles, stars, cars, etc. Do whatever your child likes or you prefer.

*Quick Tip: To make the cards last longer, you can laminate before you cut. Make sure to finish coloring before you do.

 遊戲方法 HOW TO PLAY 

去釣魚 (4歲以上,2人或以上遊戲) Go Fish (age 4+, 2+ players)

1. 每人派發3-5張未卡,餘下的字面向下,散放在地上或桌面。
2. 由第一個人向另一個人說出自己所需要一張字卡。要是第二個人有那張字卡,就要將字卡交出來。要是沒有,就說出「去釣魚」的口號。第一個人就從散卡中抽走一張字卡。
3. 輪到第二個人重複相同的做法。
4. 要是有人集齊4張相同的字卡,可以將那套字卡放下在自己面前,繼續遊戲。要是手上沒有卡了,可以從散卡中抽3-5張。要是散卡被抽光了,就沒有人能再去釣魚了,那他們可以互相向對方要字卡。
5. 一直玩到所有的字卡都湊成4張一套,遊戲就結束。擁有最多套完整字卡的人勝出。




1. Deal out 3-5 cards to each player and spread the rest of the cards face down on a flat surface.
2. Player 1 chooses another player and asks them if they have a character. If that player does, they give the card to Player 1. If not, they say, “Go fish” or “去釣魚” (qù diào yú). Player 1 then chooses a card from the pile.
3. Player 2 does the same thing.
4. When a player gets all 4 cards, they have made a set. Put the set down in front of them and keep going. If a player has no more cards, they can draw 3-5 cards from the pile. When there are no more cards in the deck, there is no more fishing, but players can keep asking other players if they have a card.
5. Keep taking turns until all the sets are made. Whoever has the most sets wins the game.

Alternate ways to play: If a player gets a card from another player, they can continue asking for a different card until someone tells them to, “Go fish.”

Quick Tip: For younger children, instead of 4 cards making a set, you can try 2 or 3 cards instead. In our video, we had the kids make two sets of 2 cards because they could not hold all the cards in their hand at once.

抽烏龜 (3歲以上,2人或以上遊戲) Old Maid (age 3+, 2+ players)

 準備 Set Up 

1. 所有字卡數目都必須為雙數。
2. 隨機抽出一張字卡,那張就是「烏龜」。讓孩子都看好哪張是「烏龜」。

1. Make sure you have even numbers for all character cards.
2. Randomly choose a card to take out. This is the “Old Maid.” Show the children this card.

 遊戲 To Play 

1. 將所有字卡派發給大家。每人的字卡數量不一定都均等。
2. 讓大家先各自將手上成對的字卡抽走。要是有3張一樣的字卡,那就抽走兩張,剩下一張拿在手裏。
3. 從年紀最小的孩子開始,每人輪流將手上的字卡背向着自己左邊的人,讓人家抽。
4. 左邊的人抽一張字卡,然後看是否能和自己手上的字卡成對。要是能成對,就將那對字卡抽出來,面向上。要是不能成對,就保留那張字卡,然後讓自己左邊的人抽。
5. 大家輪流抽,一直到剩下最後一張沒有成對的字卡。手上拿着那張字卡的人就成了「烏龜」(輸了)。

1. Deal out all the cards to the players. Some players may have more cards than others.
2. Ask players to discard all the pairs they have face up. Do NOT discard a three of a kind. In that case, discard a pair and keep the third card.
3. Beginning with the youngest player, each child takes turns offering their cards face down to the player on their left.
4. That person will take a card and then see if the card will make a pair with their current cards. If it does, they will discard the pair face up. If not, they will keep the card and now offer their cards face down to the player on their left.
5. Keep taking turns until no more pairs can be made. That player with the card with no pair is the “Old Maid” and loses the game.


 遊戲變化 Alternate ways to play 

a. 年紀較大的孩子要增加難度,可以不讓孩子看「烏龜」,他們就不知道要避開哪張字卡了。
b. 年紀小的孩子,可以讓最後的「烏龜」做贏家。
c. 你還可以除了有輸家之外,還增設拿得最多對字卡的孩子做贏家;也可以完全不設輸贏。


a. To make the game harder for older children, you can choose to keep the “Old Maid” card face down so the children do not know what card to avoid.
b. For young children, you can have whoever ends up as the “Old Maid” the winner.
c. You can also have the player with the most pairs win and avoid in addition to a loser, or you can do away with the loser entirely.

Quick Tip: Players can shuffle their cards before offering them face down to the next player.

我們希望能看到你的孩子做這些遊戲的照片或影片,也希望能聽到你的意見或提問。更歡迎加入我們的【講媽 ⦁ 講爸】Facebook 群組,我們等你喔。

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!





Have partners or other people going through Basic Chinese 500 with you.

Sometimes, we could use some encouragement or company. A shared burden is often a lighter burden and though we would hardly call learning to read a burden, it can certainly be frustrating at times.

Sharing your experience with other parents will help you keep each other on track with reading daily, learn new ideas to engage your child, and best of all, make new friends! Plus, you have people with whom to share your successes.

加入我們的【講媽 ⦁ 講爸】Facebook 群組吧,那裏有很多家長都在利用基礎漢字500課程教導孩子,大家各有不同的進度和情況,可以大家結識、互相提點和鼓動喔。

Join us in our Facebook Group and meet other parents who are teaching their kids Basic Chinese 500 at all different ages and levels.




好勝,是人類、也是一切生物的天性。自古以來,適者生存。你看:向日葵和紅棉樹要長得最高,病毒要變種,人類要戰勝自然、操控動物和農作物......事實上,我們現在生存在世上的每一個人都擁有優越和好勝的DNA,因為那些弱勢的DNA 早已被自然淘汰了。

三歲前的孩子還未發展他人意識,只有自我意識。因此,他可以滿足於在自己的思想世界內做第一名。三歲開始,他知道了他人的存在,明白到光是自己的想法不能代表什麼,必須以實際行動才能證實自已。所以,孩子們之間的鬥嘴、較勁都是十分正常的行為。所謂 “有競爭才會有進步”,我們都希望孩子能不斷進步、成長,千萬不要 "執輸行頭,慘過敗家"。

然而,讓我們來看看前美國總統羅斯福 (Franklin Roosevelt) 的一番話:

Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.

另外,Steven Covey 也在 "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” 一書中一再強調 "雙贏" 的重要性:



狀元 vs 社群合作

俗語說 "行行出狀元",當然人人都希望自己 (或自己的孩子) 是狀元。但所謂 "狀元",就只有一位。因此,如果我們純粹比較單項的個別表現,那就只能有一個孩子會勝出。但我們的社會是既複雜又多元化的,要將一件事做好,往往需要各種不同的才能湊在一起,各展所長,同心協力。即是説:要是能做到合作的話,那就每個孩子都可以當贏家。


我小時候讀的 "盲人與跛子" 故事對我有很大的啟發。這個簡單的故事使我領悟到每個人都有短處,每個人同時亦都有長處,只要取長補短就很容易解決一件看似很艱難的事。一個好故事很容易就能簡單地讓孩子理解一個抽象的道理。





  • 寶寶和貝貝外出玩樂。為甚麼貝貝會跌進大洞呢?孩子很自然地會按故事的劇情說 "因為被樹枝絆倒了"。
  • 那進一步再想:為甚麼會被絆倒?是不是因為樹枝長得低?還是因為在暗處所以看不到?
  • 孩子知道甚麼叫 "樂極忘形" 或 "樂極生悲" 嗎?

孩子容易會顧此失彼,玩得興奮起來 "連老竇(老爸)姓甚麼都唔記得"。要防避意外,你只能不斷地提醒他們,希望他們能注意。


  • 當貝貝跌入了大洞,為甚麼寶寶不會丟下貝貝不管,一個人跑回家?是不是因為她們姐妹情深,絕對不能 "見死不救"?難道是寶寶自己不認得路回家?(不太可能吧... 是小狗哩。)
  • 當她救不出貝貝的時候,如果她一個人回家,會有甚麼後果?孩子會不會說家人會罵她?



  • 最終寶寶想到了好辦法,將貝貝救出來了。如果孩子是寶寶,他會有甚麼其他辦法嗎?
  • 孩子知道司馬光的故事嗎?故事中有位小朋友掉入了大水缸,司馬光情急智生,破缸救人。
  • 還有文彥博的故事聽過嗎?球滾進了老樹洞,怎樣也取不出來,文彥博想到往樹洞裡灌水,球就浮起來了。


寶寶和貝貝的故事繪本以清新的中國式水彩手法繪製,文字簡潔,全文附有普通話拼音和英文翻譯,還有兩文三語的伴讀CD (廣東話有閱讀版和口語版)。歡迎你為孩子選購


Chinese for cognitive development

Back in 1996 when I was at the International Christian University in Tokyo, I did research on how the Japanese language affect Japanese people’s unique perception of colour and music, which rendered superb manipulation of packaging, design and pop music.  Although my research didn’t come to a conclusive answer, it pointed towards the relationship between the use of both kana (Japanese alphabets) and Kanji (Chinese characters) as well as the sounds and intonation of the Japanese language and their effect on neurological development.

Now when we look at overseas born Chinese children learning Chinese, we naturally wonder how this bilingualism will affect their cognitive development.  Two of the fundamental differences between Chinese and English are its writing system and its sound system.  Let’s look at the dialect of Putonghua/Mandarin.

 Sounds in Putonghua (Mandarin) 

There are 401 frequently-used Putonghua sounds.  These consist of 20 monograms, 219 digrams and 162 trigrams.  We won’t get into technical details here, but in order to produce these sounds, it involves specific movements (positions and duration) of the tongue, the throat and the jaw.  While there are 4 major intonations (more, if we count the light-tone “輕聲”, er-sound “兒化聲” etc), the 4th tone occupies 40% of the total usage.  This is obviously very different from the English spoken language.  Will this alone make a great difference in a child’s cognitive development?

 Recent Studies on babies interacting with Putonghua 

In 2009, extensive experiments were conducted for a study with normal and hearing impaired children.  Another 2010 UK study compared native English speaking babies of 10-12 months old who (1) interacted with a real human speaking to them in Chinese Putonghua, (2) watched videos of the same person speaking to them in Putonghua, and (3) had no exposure in Chinese as a second language.

These studies showed that the exposure to Putonghua can have great impact to the neurological development of babies.  Live interaction with a real person during babyhood can help a young child learn Chinese as a second language successfully even after the “window of opportunity” closes, whereas children who are merely exposed to video/audio of Chinese retain very little at a later stage.  Furthermore, exposure to sounds affects the cognitive sequencing abilities of a child (any task that requires perception, learning, or memorisation of events where order or timing is important) all the way past their teenage years.  These studies also confirmed that the effect of linguistic experience extends beyond speech related processing and tasks.

In light of these studies, when we teach our children Chinese, we know that they will benefit far beyond learning his/her own culture, history, roots…. We empower them with a neurological and cognitive development that will help them leap much further in the future.