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A 5Q update from Taiwan

January 22, 2015

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All the research about language learning boils down to two things—if you spend time speaking and reading, you’ll get better fast.

But reading, for kids in immersion, isn’t a slam dunk because there simply aren’t all that many things available in Chinese simple enough for them to read. They’re starting to be published but it’s not quite the smorgasbord any American child takes for granted at the local library.

One of the places it’s starting to come together is 5QChannel, a website for learning Chinese based in Taiwan. It was originally created to help overseas learners, mostly the kids of Taiwanese expats, keep up with their Chinese. But as the demand for material that works for American kids who are learning Chinese grows, 5QChannel has added pages that work for English-speaking students learning Chinese as well.

I recently met with Tseng Jr-Shi, the creator of the web site, as he was visiting schools in the United States. The poor man. I nearly talked his ear off talking about the need for interesting, fun and enticing stories in Chinese that immersion students can read for pleasure. He was eager to hear how our children learn Chinese and what sorts of things they, and their schools, are looking for.

The site is becoming easier to use for parents who don’t read Chinese They’ve now got a nice FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page up in English.

You can also sign up for the blog and get updates—I’m hoping if enough of us do they’re realize what a great market we are and add more quickly.

Click the characters at the bottom of the third tile to the right on the home page, the one with what looks like a lion emperor jumping up in a blaze of light. From there you’ll see a bunch of videos the site has created.

On the FAQ there’s a link to sign up for a free 30 day trial subscription. Let your kids play around on the site to see if they like the stories. If so, you can email them to get the U.S. parent discount, which is $25 per year.

Schools are also signing up for the site and using the videos and stories, so it’s possible your kids already know it from school.

Finally, they’ve got a good lineup of iPad apps available. These are great to have in the car or when kids are bored. Instead of playing games, they can watch a few cartoons in Chinese. They learn, they have fun and it’s yet another ten minutes of Mandarin time—a win-win in my book!

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