Many parents are struggling to teach their kids to read because we all know how important it is to learn to read. Reading in Chinese is difficult for a small kid as the kid has to know the pronunciation of every Chinese character. I was never an exception, it took me a while to get my daughter to read in Chinese.
In this post I will show you:
1. our experience in teaching my daughter to read at the age of 3,
2. introduction of SagebooKs,
3. about purchasing Sagebooks.
Our experience in teaching my daughter to read:
I felt a bit frustrated trying to teach my daughter to read when she just reached the age of 3. I tried different methods, bought lots of flashcards and books on learning Chinese characters, but none really stimulated her urge to Chinese characters.
She could read by herself, but no longer than 3 minutes.
She liked to listen to me to read books for her but refused to read by herself. I bought also some other leveled books like “小小语言家分级汉语阅读,（ 迪士尼）我会自己读， 我会读，四五快读” and so on, see the pictures below.
Yet every time when I took one of these books, she preferred another picture book about a funny story. “Leveled book” was too boring for her.
Nevertheless, I had a deep faith that she could learn to read at a young age, but I just had to find the proper method. Well, what I want to say is never get disappointed, believe that your child will learn to read sooner or later.
Playing flashcards in different ways indeed helped her to remember lots of Chinese characters quickly, especially those which I made by myself, but she also forgot them after a few days.
We were moving on, but very slowly. It made me anxious. Finally, I decided to buy Sagebooks, which I had heard from a Facebook group – Motherly Notes 北美中文教學與童書分享團. I hesitated at the beginning because of the high price, but since so many parents talked about it, I made up my mind to try.
This set of books was expensive for us, but it’s worth the money. We were shocked by my daughter’s reaction when she opened the first book, where she found that she could read those sentences by herself. She screamed running back and forth with the book in hand ” 妈妈，我会自己读书啦！爸爸，你看，你看，我会自己读书啦！Mommy, I can read by myself! Daddy, look I can read, look, look！ I can read by myself!”
She was so excited and read page after page until she finished the whole book, then she took another one… we had to go out, but she insisted on taking the book and continuing reading in the car.
My daughter had learned many Chinese characters before buying Sagebooks, but there was not a proper book in which she could use these Chinese characters until she had Sagebooks.
When I saw this, I realized how important it is to maintain the confidence of a child, once the child realizes they can do something, he/ she is driven do go further by the joy of achievement.
Yeah, she did not read so crazily later on, but she never refused to read, just sometimes reads longer, sometimes only a few pages.
After reading the first set of Sage books, we also checked other leveled books and surprisingly found out that she could read more as she finally realized that reading is nothing impossible.
My daughter started reading regularly from then on.
We read Sagebooks every morning now before going to kindergarten, I prepare different activities to help her to learn some of those difficult Chinese characters after returning from kindergarten, I expect that she will know more than 1000 Chinese characters when she is 6 years old.
If you would like to know what activities I do with my daughter to learn Chinese, follow me on Facebook, I post our activities frequently.
All I can say is a well-written book is magical!
It is a pity that there is no such good book in China (mainland), the traditional Chinese teaching materials are too boring for small kids.
Introduction of Sage books.
There are 25 books in the complete set with CDs, which are divided into 5 levels:
- Beginning Reader- Blue
- Budding Reader-Green
- Building Reader-Orange
- Confident Reader-Pink
- Fluent Reader-Red
Each level contains 5 books and 20 lessons. One lesson contains one new Chinese character. (5x20x5=500)
You can see the video below and some example pages of the books.
Sagebooks are the best books among those leveled books which I bought. The author is a Montessori teacher and really knows about how small children learn. Below are some strong points fo Sagebooks in my opinion:
The books are well-sorted, neat, simple. Small kids are not distracted.
Chinese characters are large, easy to recognize.
Sentences are written with frequently used Chinese characters.
Pinyin and English translation are smaller so that small kid can easily focus on Chinese characters.
There are only a few pages of each lesson and one new key character, suitable for a short concentration span.
Newly learned words are repeated in the following lessons.
Of course, there are also weaknesses of this book, sometimes it feels a bit boring, and some of the sentences are spoken in Hongkong, not in the mainland of China. Well, nothing is perfect, the most important thing is it taught my daughter to read.
You can also check Sagebooks’ introduction on Youtube:
Our purchasing experience:
We live in Poland, where there are very limited Chinese language resources, I never saw a shop specialized in selling Chinese books although we live in the capital city- Warsaw. Therefore I usually buy Chinese books online. I found these three resources where you can buy:
After comparing the prices and shipments, I decided to buy from Hongkong, but their website showed that no shipment was available to Poland. Fortunately, I wrote an email to them and got to know that I could order via email.
Around 20 days after payment I received Sagebooks. Here is a video made when we opened the parcel.
As I have no experience of buying from other shops, I can not recommend where you should buy, I just share my experience.
In general, we are happy that we bought Sagebooks and my son will also make use of them. I hope you get some information from this post!
Wish you all the best in the Chinese language journey!