Education & Enrichment

Basic Chinese 500 Books & iPhone Apps

I bought the Basic Chinese 500 – Beginning Reader Book for Little Edison a few months ago. When I attempted to teach him for the very first time, it wasn’t quite successful. The main reason was due to his lack of interest, and secondly, I didn’t know how teach him in a more interesting manner.

At the end, we gave up and the books were chucked aside in the book shelf until I rediscover them again recently.

Unknowingly, as I read the last page of the book, it leads me to it’s website. Under the “Download” section, there is a very useful Basic Chinese 500 Parent’s Guide that is available for free downloading. After reading it, I gained a better understanding of the book and its structure.

As an introduction, the Sage Formula Basic Chinese 500 is specially formulated for young children to learn Chinese. It has selected 500 Chinese words which are most frequently used in children’s literature and most relevant to their day-to-day life.

The author has grouped and arranged these words into 5 levels from Beginning (the set that I bought for Little Edison), Budding, Building, Confident and Fluent. Each level contains 5 books that come with “han yu pin yin” to show pronunciation as well as English translation.

In each lesson, he learns a new word. This word will then be repeated in various scenarios and subsequent lessons so that he can grasp the meaning of it. The book emphasizes on one new word per lesson to make it easy for young children to learn. Gradually, he will understand how the book is structured, and he will be expecting one new word from each lesson.

Most importantly, the author also shared on how to start using the books on page 19 of the Parent’s Guide. This part really enlightens me on how to teach him more effectively. She has a suggested planned schedule here, but I derived my own by adding a little speed to it. Here’s my planned schedule:

  • Day 1: Read lesson 1 to 5.
  • Day 2: Repeat lesson 1 to 5, and add lesson 6.
  • Day 3: Repeat lesson 2 to 6, and add lesson 7.

From Day 4 onwards, I’ll repeat the last 5 lessons learnt and then add one new lesson. That makes it a total of 6 lessons per day, and I think our boy is pretty much comfortable with this speed now.

The author actually recommends more than 1 reading session per day. However, due to my work commitment, I can only arrange one session per day every night. One important note to share here is that it’s important to establish a regular pattern and follow the schedule faithfully every day.

We’ve been reading the book for the past one week, according to my planned schedule above. I’m glad to say that we’re gradually gaining the upper hand on the progress and our boy is showing interest again.

Last but not least, I’ve also discovered that the Basic Chinese 500 is available on iPhone and iPad. How amazing! I bought the iPhone Apps at a little cost of US$4.99 (cheaper than the books actually). So, at any time of the day, I can dish out my iPhone to do some revisions with Little Edison. Great, isn’t it?

 

The only downside with this Apps is that we’re unable to scroll from one lesson to another without returning to the main menu, which is quite frustrating at times. Hopefully, the developer can improve on this part in near future.

 

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Jaime
    January 10, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Thanks for Sharing .. I also have one book n
    I didn’t know it has a parental guide
    Quite a failure thus far
    But I realise my son seem more interested in the odonata series
    Only selling in popular msia ( I Bgt the seecond series from
    Popular at Jusco Ipoh )
    N those books don’t come with hanyu pin yin so it’s good to force my illiterate Chinese self to also learn it at the same
    Time coz I need to read .. Though you can also buy the CD which has proper pronunciation

    • Reply
      Emily
      January 10, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      Hi Jaime,
      Thanks for recommending the Odonata series. Unfortunately, it’s not available in Popular Sg. 🙁

      My second attempt to teach the Basic Chinese 500 is quite successful now. We’re reading it daily and my boy seems to start recognizing some Chinese words. He used to just read out after me, and didn’t bother to look at the words.

      I really have problem reading Chinese without hanyu pinyin, sigh 🙁 So, I can only go for books that comes with it. Or at least with an audio CD to help.

  • Reply
    jaime
    January 10, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I shall persevere again..just got the iphone apps and the mp3 recording from the website..
    i shall not have banana son! never…its bad enough to have a banana mummy n daddy..

    🙂

    • Reply
      Emily
      January 11, 2012 at 8:52 AM

      Hi Jaime,
      You are so cute! Haha! Yes, no more banana for us. My hubby is Singaporean, so he is still OK in Chinese. So, he’ll help out when I run into problem. 🙂

  • Reply
    mico
    January 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    This is a good series for a start, my girl is in level 2 book 3 now.. one word per day.. she can read on her own but will forget some words from earlier book, so revision is required on the words learnt earlier.

    • Reply
      Emily
      January 17, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Hi Mico,
      Your girl is fast. We’re still at Level 1, haha! Lots of revision are still required to recap on the words that we learnt earlier. But it’s fun!

  • Reply
    Homeschool@sg
    January 12, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Hi, there! Thanks for sharing! I bought a copy a million years ago but I was quite clueless how it worked. My son likes it but I didn’t since the pages didn’t flow very well so we kindda stopped. But it seems more interesting now that you’ve shared! Ha!

    • Reply
      Emily
      January 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Hi Homeschool,
      Thanks! 🙂 It’s quite fun now that we’re reading it every night. My son reads Chinese like an Ang Moh, quite funny sometimes.

  • Reply
    Jean
    February 2, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    i am also using this series, i find it very useful, prefer this to si wu kuai du. My ger is at level 2 1st bk, she has been reading it for abt 8 mths now, we are taking ti slowly, hopefully b4 she enters Pri 1, we would hvae covered all the 5 levels . Haha.. if she can persevere..

  • Reply
    Ling
    February 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Hi Emily,

    Thanks for sharing the apps.

    I have the books, but d apps download to iPad is much easier, she can read it anytime in any places. 😉

    • Reply
      Emily
      February 13, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Hi Ling,
      Yes, it’s convenient to have it on iPhone or iPad. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sharon Toh
    February 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Hi, where can I get Basic Chinese 500 – Beginning Reader Book?
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Emily
      February 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      Hi Sharon,
      You can get the books from Popular Book Store.

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