Skip to content

Reading is even more fundamental in Chinese…

November 3, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 8.35.51 PM

You all know I’m a huge proponent of reading for pleasure as a way to build vocabulary, gain a better grasp of academic language and just generally become a more educated human being. And that goes for Chinese, too.

Some researchers who look at reading for pleasure (and please, note the pleasure part of this. If it ain’t fun, it ain’t happening!) recently published a book on this. I highly recommend it. And it comes in simplified and traditional Chinese as well. If there isn’t enough reading going on in your child’s classroom, get a copy in the appropriate characters and give it to your child’s teacher…

Dr. Christy Lao from San Francisco State University, Dr. Stephen Krashen and Dr. Sy-Ying Lee from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology have just published a book titled Comprehensible and Compelling – The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading. The traditional Chinese character version titled “自主阅读” is published by Commonwealth亲子天下出版社 in Taiwan, the simplified Chinese character version will be published by XinJiang Juvenile Publishing House 新疆少年儿童出版in China. 

Ship your kids to China for the summer….

October 19, 2017

I don’t have personal experience with this school but it sounds like a fair number of families from immersion programs have sent their kids.

They’re holding information sessions in San Francisco and Palo Alto next month, but you can also just check out their website. Or click the link below, which goes to a full brochure about the program.

China High School Programme 2017-2018

Palo Alto Info Session PosterSF Info Session Poster

Orange Co. Mandarin immersion reaches middle school

October 18, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 8.22.58 PM

Mandarin language immersion debuts at Mission Viejo middle school


At first glance, this sixth-grade classroom at Newhart Middle School looks normal with its clustered desks, hand-drawn posters and teacher standing at the front of the classroom.

A closer look and listen, however, reveals something entirely different.

Newhart has become the first middle school in the Capistrano Unified School District to offer a Mandarin immersion program, in which students take two courses — one on the Mandarin language, another on social studies — taught entirely in the foreign language.

The 30-student program kicked off at Newhart in August with students who took years of Mandarin immersion at Marian Bergeson Elementary School in Laguna Niguel.

Inside the classroom, students converse, ask questions and respond to teacher Letitia Endow in Mandarin.

“I want Chinese to come to them like second nature,” Endow said.

The Mission Viejo instructor taught Mandarin as a foreign language for six years before coming to Newhart and teaching immersion for the first time.

Please read more here.

Mandarin immersion in London

October 8, 2017

Inside the UK’s first bilingual English and Chinese primary school

Kensington Wade tempts tiger parents with full immersion in Mandarin

OCTOBER 7, 2017

By Joshua Chaffin in London

As a girl growing up in an English-speaking household in Singapore, Prema Gurunathan grudgingly studied Mandarin. Now a mother in west London, she is taking no chances with her own son. When he turned one Ms Gurunathan insisted their household in Hammersmith speak Mandarin for half of each week. She recruited an au pair from east Asia (she prefers not to say exactly where, for fear of tipping off the competition).

And last month, she and her husband enrolled the three-and-a-half year-old at Kensington Wade in London, Britain’s first primary school to offer full Mandarin immersion for its pupils. “It’s intellectual, it’s cultural and it’s ‘future-proofing’, if you will,” said Ms Gurunathan, a self-confessed “tiger mom” and policy wonk, explaining her school choice. “And it’s fun.”

Please read more here.

New Mandarin immersion middle school in San Francisco

September 30, 2017


I know (really I do) that we’re very lucky in San Francisco to have four Mandarin immersion grade school programs, three middle school programs (well, two are continuations in K-8 schools) and two high school programs.

I also know there are a lot of San Francisco area folks who read this blog. So I wanted to put out word that Presidio Knolls, a private Mandarin immersion school in San Francisco, will launch its middle school next year with a sixth grade.

One of the amazing things about San Francisco is that kids can move around between schools, meaning there’s the opportunity to find schools that really work for different kids and still stay within a Mandarin immersion setting.

Kids move between the public elementary school programs Starr King and Jose Ortega all the time. And in middle school we see kids moving from the private Chinese American International School to the public Aptos Middle School program and vice versa.

Now we’ve got one more program in the mix. And note that they’ve got several full scholarships, plus generous tuition assistance are available!

Information below. (And please note that Chinese American International School also has openings in 6th grade and they also have scholarships available for next year, I just don’t have info yet on any middle school info nights they might be holding.)


Presidio Knolls School

October 18th, 6:00-8:00pm

Middle School Information Session (students welcome!)

Presidio Knolls School

250 10th Street, San Francisco

Presidio Knolls School (PKS) is proud to announce the launch of its Middle School in August of 2018, with applications now being accepted for the 6th grade class.

The Program

The Middle School will offer a rigorous and engaging program inspired by a student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogy and informed by best practices in bilingual and Chinese language education. The curriculum will integrate deep learning across content areas, strong Chinese and English language instruction, social-emotional learning, design thinking and intercultural competency. The PKS Middle School program is designed to graduate students who are multilingual, global thinkers with the intellectual and personal integrity, mental flexibility and open-mindedness, and cultural and technological literacy to succeed in high school, college, and the world beyond.

Since 2008, PKS has been a pioneer in developing a progressive approach to Mandarin immersion education. The school offers a joyful and dynamic bilingual learning experience within and beyond the classroom for students and families who value inquiry, discovery, creativity, compassion, and community.



The PKS Middle School is being led by educational innovator and author Mike Levy.  Mike was a classroom teacher for fifteen years at Saint Paul’s School in New Hampshire, Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, and 人大附中 in Beijing.  Most recently, he helped design and open an immersion school in New York City (Avenues: The World School), and served as the Associate Division Head for their Middle and High School.  Mike’s favorite saying on education comes from Grant Wiggins who wrote that “the purpose of school is not to get good at school.”  The PKS program will help students prepare for lives that will require flexibility, empathy, creativity, bilingual and bicultural abilities, and–above all– a willingness to engage with the world.

Mike is working closely with incoming Head of School Chris Livaccari and a talented team of educators. Chris is a distinguished language immersion educator and author, and a seasoned leader and innovator in the fields of bilingual and world languages education, Chinese language learning, and US-China educational exchange. Chris is currently at International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, where he has served as both Elementary and Middle School Principal as well as the Chinese Program Director. In addition, Chris is a senior advisor to the Asia Society’s Center for Global Education, where he previously served as Director of Education and Chinese Language Initiatives. During his time working at the Asia Society, Chris created a collaborative national network of more than 100 US schools in 28 states that teach Chinese, and their partner schools in more than 20 provinces in China. The network now includes almost 40,000 students across the United States who are learning Chinese and participating actively in exchanges with their Chinese counterparts. Earlier in his career, Chris was a U.S. Foreign Service officer who held positions in Tokyo and Shanghai. He has traveled extensively in China, Japan, and Korea, taught Chinese and Japanese, and authored many books and articles on multilingualism, teaching Chinese, and Mandarin immersion.

PKS invites you to learn more about its middle school at an October 18th information session, or by appointment.  RSVP to the Director of Admissions at Several full scholarships, plus generous tuition assistance are available.

Screen Shot 2017-09-30 at 4.45.40 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-30 at 4.45.22 PM

Mandarin immersion in Minnesota

September 25, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 2.55.46 PM

CELIN (the Chinese Early Language and Immersion Network) has a nice article up about Mandarin immersion programs in Minnesota, which gives a good overview of what’s happening in that state. It also gives a good perspective on the different types of schools that exist and how they fit their area’s own unique needs and requirements.


Serve students in elementary school through high school

Program Descriptions

While language programs in Minnesota are locally determined and supported, the Minnesota Department of Education supports the study of world languages by providing technical assistance and visa sponsorship for visiting teachers for various programs across the state, including sponsorship for teachers through the Confucius Institutes and Hangzhou Foreign Language School.

During the 2015–2016 school year, Minnesota schools served 848,742 students. Of the 200,850 students enrolled in language or language and culture classes, 7% were enrolled in Chinese, most of them in immersion programs. Chinese language and immersion programs and teacher exchanges have a long history in Minnesota. They enjoy strong parent and local support and benefit from support provided by the Confucius Institutes at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University, CARLA, and the Minnesota Department of Education

As programs have expanded beyond the elementary school grades, articulation with middle and high school and university Chinese classes allows students to continue building Chinese language skills through content-based Chinese and Chinese language arts courses. The Chinese Flagship at the University of Minnesota offers a College in the Schools program for high schools in the Twin Cities area. Involving partnership among the federal government, education entities, and businesses, the Flagship program offers students pursuing different majors across the university the opportunity to attain a professional level of Chinese.

Here we provide a brief description of each of the Chinese language/immersion programs that are available in five school districts in Minnesota.

Please read more here.

Jane Austin’s Emma now available in easy-to-read Mandarin

September 19, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 4.18.08 PM

Not only am I a huge proponent of reading as a key component of becoming fluent, but I’m also a huge Jane Austen fan, and Emma is one of my favorites.

And now the lovely folks at Mandarin Companion have rewritten it in modern day China, using only 200 characters. Level 1. Just tell your kids it’s the same plot as Clueless!

Heck, even my Chinese might be good enough to read it…

Check it out here.

Clever, rich, and single, the beautiful Ān Mò (Emma Woodhouse) is focused on her career as fashion designer in the glamor of 21st-century Shanghai. She sees no need for romance in her life, but when she tries to find a boyfriend for her new friend Fangfang (Harriet), her carefully laid plans being to unravel. As she ignores the warnings of her good friend Shi Wenzheng (Mr. Knightley), her decisions bring consequences that she never expected. With its witty and charming characters, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.