How to Encourage Good Chinese Reading Habits in Kids
    Date of publication :10/15/2018 6:09:17 AM

Chinese learning apps can be a great way to help kids learn Mandarin. They give children the chance to hear native Chinese speakers, respond to questions in Chinese, and a fun and engaging way to practice their reading and writing in Chinese.

Most of the overseas Chinese parents wish their kids to develop healthy Chinese reading habits.  But if we’re honest, we probably aren’t the best examples when it comes to sticking with positive behaviors ourselves. Let’s hear tips about how to stimulate Chinese reading habits in kids from our early childhood educator: 

 Daily topics for young Chinese beginner

For zero-based young Chinese learner, I would pay more attention to the development of skills in differentiating 4 tones, recognizing the form of Chinese characters, as well as typing skills.

I use some “everyday life” reading materials, including short news articles, advertisement slogans, and other authentic materials that appear in kids’ daily life, in my class.   For instance, I would show students real business cards after I teach them how to say “Name”(名字), and explain how Chinese people form their own name by using name cards as example; or show them the menu of a juice shop after teaching them Chinese character of “ Fruit”(水果)… In my opinion, reading skill is the ability to have efficient access to information. The quicker to put information acquired into use, the easier to ignite a child’s passion to read.  

Picture books in Chinese  for rich vocabularies

For students at the elementary level, the picture book is the best choice to enrich vocabulary.   

Most of my students are girls. They love cute picture books and very sensitive to images. I introduce some simple, culture-related materials, such as picture books using three types of Chinese paintings: landscape painting, flower and bird painting, and figure painting. Interesting and easy-to-learn, these materials help students acquire new vocabulary and improve their comprehension of Chinese culture as well. 

Chinese idiom stories for in-depth understanding

For students at the intermediate level, I choose idiom stories and articles in "Slow-Chinese", and also translate some short videos of the "hello China" series on YouTube. It is unbelievable that kids have extraordinary culture awareness and are highly interested in stories and traditions from the other world. The supporting reading materials at home also revolve around the culture theme which leads kids to explore more freely themselves. 

 Personalized reading for advanced readers

It is very easy for me to teach students at Advanced level. They are able to understand most of the reading assignment. So the assessment after reading is necessary for them. In addition, choosing some specialized reading materials according to their interests respectively is the way to keep their Chinese reading habits when living in another local language environment. 

 Practice expression to enhance the reading result

As to the development of reading ability, I think output exercise is very important. We should give kids more chances to speak and write. For example, I always ask my students to repeat what they’ve heard or read. In the retelling or re-writing process, students will be encouraged to first sum up bullet points and then add details, so that they will improve in their Chinese expression and grammar.

From my own language learning experience, I can tell you that listening and speaking ability can be improved through reading and writing. So I always encourage my students to use Chinese to read and to get information. A positive reading habit also benefits listening and speaking skills in kids. 


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