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BUY: A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion

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A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion

is available as a print book on the CreateSpace website at

It’s also available on Amazon at

However, please note that Amazon takes twice the cut that CreateSpace does (though they’re the same company). So if you can, I’d ask that you buy it from the CreateSpace site.
There is as yet no e-book version. Unfortunately the .epub format does not support Chinese characters, so they come through as black squares. There’s a fair amount of Chinese sprinkled through the book, so it doesn’t work without Chinese. I’m looking into do a fixed-format ebook (which wouldn’t work on phone but could be read on tablets) for example, but haven’t quite worked out the details. I’ll email when it becomes available.

Beth Weise

Chenery Street Press, San Francisco


A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion

An in-depth guide to Chinese language immersion programs, for primary school families. The book’s 31 chapters cover how immersion works in the classroom and a history of language immersion in North America, including an overview of Chinese, the benefits of bilingualism for the brain and the academic possibilities immersion opens for students. Also answers questions about what level of English and Chinese students typically achieve in these programs and what parents can do to raise them. Discusses the reasons why schools choose to implement Mandarin immersion programs and why parents choose them—often at odds with each other.


What the experts are saying:

“If you’d like to understand the dynamics of Chinese immersion education in the United States, look no further.  Beth Weise is a prescient and astute guide through this often confusing and misunderstood world.  Beth details the development of the field and offers practical advice. Her book is required reading for parents, administrators, and practitioners — a major contribution to the field.”

Chris Livaccari, former Senior Advisor for Chinese Language Initiatives, Asia Society, Chinese Program Director, International School of the              Peninsula, Palo Alto

“Weise combines journalistic writing talents with longstanding interest in Chinese language learning to offer current and prospective parents an engaging and informative guide to Mandarin immersion education in the U.S. Whether your child already speaks English or comes from a multilingual home language background, this handbook serves as an excellent resource— chock full of news and information about how to get the most from your child’s Mandarin immersion experience.”

Tara W. Fortune, Ph.D., Director, Immersion Projects, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota

“This book addresses issues of concern not only to parents but anyone involved in Chinese language education. It provides amazingly complete information and statistics about Chinese immersion programs—from the history of immersion program to the most recently establish Mandarin immersion schools. Painfully honest, it tells us about school and school district politics surrounding the establishment and implementation of these programs. Weise’s insights and the resources she lists make it a “must-have” guidebook for anyone interested in Chinese immersion.”

Dr. Christy Lao, professor of education and second language acquisition exert at San Francisco State University



What is Mandarin immersion?

1 Welcome to Mandarin immersion

2 A history of language immersion

3 Mandarin immersion in 2014-2015

4 How Mandarin immersion works

5 How immersion programs are structured

6 Immersion and your child’s academic career

7 Is Mandarin immersion right for your family?

8 Being bilingual is better

9 Chinese 101 for parents

Who chooses it and why?

10 Why parents choose Mandarin immersion

11 Parent profiles

Sarah Beth Chionsini: A Cantonese immersion experience

Carmen Cordovez: Una familia trilingüe: Español, Inglés y 中文

Frank and Mindy Han: A Chinese-speaking family in Los Angeles

Jamila Nightengale: Being Black and bilingual

12 Student profiles

Madeleine Adams

Day Chionsini

Anya Hauptmann

Katie Stern-Stillinger

Questions and some answers

13 But will they learn English?

14 How much Chinese will they learn?

15 How to get more Chinese in your child’s life

16 Chinese literacy issues

17 Getting your child reading in Chinese

18 For Chinese-speaking parents

The schools

19 Why schools choose Mandarin immersion

20 What you should look for in an immersion program

21 School profiles

The Chinese American International School, San Francisco 1981

Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland 1991

Portland Public Schools, Oregon 1998

Minnetonka, Minnesota 2007

Los Angeles Unified School District 2007

Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, Hadley Massachusetts 2007

Utah’s immersion program 2009

Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School, Washington DC 2008

Deutsch-Chinesische Grundschule, Berlin 2011

Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School, Houston 2012

22 Immersion consortia: The support schools need

23 Going to school in China

24 Going to school in Singapore

Once you’ve made the leap

25 Tips from parents

26 Things teachers and principals wish they could tell you

27 How to start a parents’ group

28 You know you’re an MI parent when…

Final thoughts

29 Moving forward

30 Our family’s story

31 Afterword


32 Resources

33 Glossary

34 Bibliography



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