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Why you should only give your kid Chinese books that are easy for them to read

June 28, 2018

I know this idea is anathema to some parents,who want to know their kids are working hard at Chinese. But really, there is a ton of research showing that the absolute best way to get literate it to read, a lot. It’s called Extensive Reading and it’s not just in Chinese. There’s a whole Foundation that works on the topic in English, for example.

Here’s an article from the folks at Mandarin Companion about it. They do really nice – and fun! – books that work for kids in Mandarin immersion. Worth getting for your kid once they hit 4th of 5th grade.

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Reading Pain or Reading Gain? Reading at the Right Level

This is NOT beginner material

“So, what should I read to improve my Chinese?” he asked as I looked disapprovingly at his book. Zach* had come to Shanghai as part of an exchange program to study business and Chinese. With no previous Chinese skills, he studied hard and quickly worked through the basics of the language. After a few months, I invited him over for a nice home cooked meal and to see how he was doing. He excitedly showed me his recently purchased copy of Jack Welch’s autobiography… in Chinese. He opened it to show me his progress; I saw how the margins were covered with pinyin and every other word had underlining with a definition scribbled beside it. He had been at it for a week and was pleased that he had struggled through two pages and “learned” a lot of new characters.

Please read more here.

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And here’s another one, from a Chinese teacher

How to Learn Fluent Chinese: Start Reading!

Fluency is the wonderful feeling of Chinese flowing in your mind.

It’s the feeling of not needing to think carefully, one word at a time, but instead having a 语言感 (yǔyángǎn – language feel)

And, believe it or not, the best way to achieve fluency in Chinese is to start reading already!

Getting plenty of authentic Chinese input is the way to develop a sense of when the Chinese language “feels right.” Reading at your level—that is, reading material you can understand and enjoy—is one of the best ways to get that input.

Please read more here.

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