A new language can bring magic!

31 July 2017 by Suyen Hu

I picked up some books for Bella to choose as usual. She didn’t want any of them today and told me, ‘I want to read Chinese stories.’ She chose How Mouse Gave His Name to the First Year and started reading Mandarin from the cover! I didn’t want to encourage children to read any Mandarin as the teachers once reminded me the children might want to read English as this is their first language.

Bella started reading word by word slowly, but when I turned the page for her, she looked at the Chinese text and asked me, ‘Is that Chinese? Can I read that? I want to read Chinese.’ Bella didn’t want me to help, so she read the Chinese text herself, word by word, from the first to the last, even before she read the story in English. Surprisingly, Bella could pronounce Chinese characters ‘easily’ although not perfectly because she never learnt about this language. And the most important thing is Bella showed her confidence when she read the new language alone!

After reading some Chinese, Bella gained more courage to read English I think, because she raised her voice and read the story a bit louder than usual. Compared with last week when she only finished reading one picture book in English, Bella finished reading two picture books in English and sometimes in Mandarin. ‘I think I kind of like Chinese now.’ Bella looked pleased with herself and said happily, ‘I’ll read more Chinese animal stories next week!’

I’m so glad to see her cheerful face at the end of today’s reading session!

*Child's real name has been changed.