How can you use our books to teach your Children (and yourself!) a little Mandarin?

21 September 2018 by Lorna Snowflake

Read the story to your child in English. If your child can read, ask them to read a highlighted/coloured word to you aloud. Then ask her to find a word in the same colour in Pinyin (this is the English version of Chinese words). Try to pronounce the word together. It really doesn’t matter if you aren’t 100% accurate – it’s just fun to have a go.

If you’d like to check your own pronunciation you can use Google translate ‘English to Simplified Chinese’. Type in the English word and it will show you the Pinyin and the character. Press the sound button and you can hear the word spoken. Children love to do this…often a lot of times!

Remember: around 7 – 10 words are a perfect amount for beginners. Any more than that gets confusing for everybody.

Four ways to help your child remember the words they have learnt:

  1. Help your child to connect words in Chinese with English with images and check his understanding. Say the word in Chinese and ask your child to point to the picture in the book. You will easily be able to tell if she knows the real meaning of ‘rabbit’ or not.

  1. Try and see if your child can recognise the Pinyin words or the characters by sight. Use the page and say “Find the word dragon”. Your child can point to the word. If you have two children or more then can race to find the words. Continue with all the words you want to practice.

  1. Similarly, you can see if your child can remember how to say the word. Ask “What’s ‘dragon’ in Chinese?’ Your child can try to say it. Give help if he really needs it. Also, give lots of encouragement and praise. He can use the online translator to check his own pronunciation by instantly comparing it with the computer.

  1. Can your child recognise the words when she listens to Chinese? Play the CD (if your book has one) and ask your child to put her hand up when she hears the keywords. Stop the CD and ask the child to say which word she heard. Remember that working on a few words at a time will be more successful for memorising than trying to do too many.

Repetition is the key to success in learning a language. Use the same books often to revise vocabulary.

Most of all, don’t worry about perfection…just enjoy learning a little Mandarin together!