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Read First, Write Later

February 9, 2009

I was reading the newsletter from the CAIS (Chinese American International School) Institute, which is the non profit that CAIS put together to support Mandarin programs around the country.  There are some interesting articles in here.  I’m especially intrigued by the “Read First, Write Later” article by the head of CAIS, Andrew W. Corcoran.

It’s an interesting concept.  Basically, he’s saying that by 3rd and 4th grade kids can understand a whole lot more in Chinese than they can read, so they get bored.  Singapore (a country which takes education *very* seriously) put together a program to get around that problem by focusing on having the kids be able to read and recognize characters, but not pushing as hard on learning to write them. That’s possible because almost everyone in Chinese-speaking countries these days writes on the computer, so knowing how to say a character and read it is much more important than knowing exactly how to write it.  Not that they’re saying kids shouldn’t learn to write. But that by using the power of the computer they can have a much broader reading vocabulary than writing one, so their ability to read doesn’t lag too far behind their ability to understand.  Anyway, it’s interesting to ponder for the future.  Lots of good stuff here on how other programs work. We’re not the only ones trying to figure this stuff out

–Beth

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 8:18 pm

    Hi, your link to READ FIRST WRITE LATER gives a not found notice. I did a search for it on their website and got this article:
    http://www.caisinstitute.org/articles/read_first
    Which is what you perhaps wanted to link to. You might wish to correct your link in this article. Thanks!

    • elizabethweise permalink*
      January 26, 2010 11:47 am

      Will do. Thanks for the new link.

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