Struggling to help your child cultivate a love for Mandarin? We speak with One.Last.Book!
You may hear young children and teenagers proclaiming that they are not good in Mandarin and some children go as far as claiming that they hate Mandarin. This comes as no surprise especially if the child has been growing up in an English - speaking environment. They may struggle with Mandarin in school and may have it a challenge to express themselves since they have little chance to practice speaking the language. Living in Singapore where we try to place equal emphasis on both languages in school, a good grasp of Mandarin has always been important. As parents, we want to nurture and cultivate our children's love for Mandarin.
We speak to Mingna, the founder of one.last.book, who shares her love and passion in helping young families in Singapore to find greater love and understanding for Mandarin through children books.
1. What are some tips and tricks for parents to get their children to read in Chinese language?
Follow your children's interests! Let early reading be child led. Is your children particularly interested in certain topics? Young children find joy in exploring and knowing more about their world. You can try to find books on your children's interest (e.g. vehicles, animals) to motivate them to read Chinese books!
Choose books that has repetition and rhymes to boost their confidence in reading in Chinese. Predictable and repetitive text structures leave a deeper impression in the child and cultivates their love for speaking in Mandarin as they recite the text over and over again.
Most importantly, cultivate the reading habit at home since young. Just five minutes a day can make a difference in the long run! Create a dedicated reading nook and place books in a fun and exciting corner to cultivate your children's love for reading.
2) What are some Chinese books that I can introduce my children below 3 years old?
It's never too early to introduce Chinese books to young children. Children below the 1 year old love books with textures and sound. Arouse senses as they feel, listen to the sounds and see the images in the books.
Here's an example of books best suitable for children below 18 months.
Children below 3 years old will also enjoy pop-ups and lift-the-flaps books. Here is an example of a popular book series that includes pop-ups.
Books with content that are relatable to their lives will be suitable for children between 3 to 6 years old. Books related to family, friends and school life will be most relevant for young children in this age group.
3) What can parents do to support Chinese language learning if they don’t speak the language themselves?
Look out for prints in our environment. Go out and take a walk! Our surrounding is the best learning resource. Look out for posters, signs and labels around you whether you are at the park or shopping mall and use it as an opportunity to converse in Mandarin and integrate the language into your everyday life.
Nurture young children with music. Songs and music helps our little ones to memorise and learn new Chinese words. Singing along also makes learning Chinese less intimidating by nurturing with music.
Invest in books with Han Yu Pin Yin (HYPY). Our children learn best through modelling. You can still raise bilingual children by creating a prepared environment. Providing children with books with HYPY help not just the children but also the parents as well. We may forget some of the Chinese characters in the books and HYPY will certainly help. It is important to also make sure that the Chinese characters in the books are suitable for their levels.
If you are looking for new rattan products to style a reading nook or store your children's story books, we have just the right rattan furniture and children toys. What's more, orders within Singapore will enjoy free doorstep delivery for any purchase above $150.