Chinese is the subject that I put in the most effort. The prefer language we speak to Yvette is English and the language between both of us (D & Myself) is Rojak. (We speaks English, Mandarin & Cantonese. Oh not forgetting Singish.) So, you can imagine the work hard I have invested in getting Yvette to speak and as well as reading is enormous.
Yvette doesn’t speak Mandarin often. If she does, she speak with a “singing” accent now. But still, she makes effort to use this language when she tries to speak with her grandpa at home and as well as my parents. I also did get good feedback on her learning attitude toward this subject from her Chinese Teacher in school too. Lastly, I have to admit and finally agree to it, after reading many articles and meeting people with English speaking family background, it is possible to “obtain” good result even you don’t speak the language. (Hard work pays off ultimately.)
Like English, I apply the same teaching style and approach in coaching Yvette in Chinese too.
- Create the right environment (Share in this post.)
- Find the “right” book for her.
- Read to her and never give up.
Since I have already shared the environment that we have created at home in previous post, let me go direct to finding the right book for Yvette.
Finding the right Chinese story book for Yvette is a uphill task. I want book with clear stroke (nice font), no Pin Yin, no dual language printed on the book. I just want Yvette to concentrate reading and recognizing the character. This selection criteria “set a high standard” for me. Lucky I have Sam to recommend books to me and I am lucky to find a few series of book to start off when Yvette was 18 mths. So by applying the same assumption (on choosing the English storybook) on choosing the Chinese book, I manage to find a series of lift the flap book – 甜甜 (This is the only series of book I have with Han Yu Pin Yin. I brought this book because Yvette loves cat a lot when I really need something to grab her attention.). Then I found 皮皮狗. 可爱的鼠小弟 and 小猫当当 are a hit too.
I add-on Reader book such as 明明 series thru iPod Touch and as well as 我会读. These are more of the word recognition tool to me. And toward end of Year 2, I added 四五快读 as part of her learning tool
Lastly I sent her to one Chinese enrichment class on Sunday. So far, I like the curriculum and I could tell Yvette has also benefit from this program. I will revise those poems and songs she had learnt from this class with her at least once per week to reinforce what she had already learnt.
I face the same problem when I try to read Chinese book to Yvette too. She never listen, she never look at the illustration. She simply starts to do things she like, running around the room as I read. Again the golden rule is never give up.
As I read, I explain to her. I explain to her using some simpler term in Chinese and using English too. I try to make my reading more lively. It took me a longer period of time on getting her interest on reading the Chinese book with me. Same as reading English book, she also started to read aloud those words with me as I read too. She also make effort to support her understanding when I teach her Chinese Character by making example on the word she has learnt; quoting an example to me. She also constantly checking with me words she had came across but she has forgotten.
By doing all these, I know she is making effort to learn in her “own world”. She is constantly trying to deepen her understanding. And I love the initiative she is taking.
However, there is still some inconsistency which has explained in 四五快读.
For some words, no matter how many times I have taught her, she just couldn’t remember.
Like English, I never quantify how many Chinese characters Yvette could recognise. I never set a target for her too. But I do take note the progress so that I can move on with much difficult book if I see she has attained certain level, hence here are her progress:-
She could recognise 100% of words in this materials.
90% for these:-
This is the set of card that I keep spending effort but the result is always at 70%. There are some difficult words in this set of card that she just couldn’t remember.
This is the reader book I use now.
I am still working on it and we have gone thru one round of Set 2 of 我会读.
Lastly, I will also give credit to D. He has definitely read as much to Yvette.