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.


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.

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.