Learning Mandarin Chinese

A New Kind of Chinese Books for Kids

By September 26, 2020 October 24th, 2020 No Comments

Do you want your kids to learn to read Mandarin Chinese? Have you found it difficult to find Chinese books for kids online? Look no further. The Mandarin Reading Club is your source for Mandarin children’s books that actually teach kids how to read themselves! Our read aloud video stories show students how to pronounce and read Chinese characters and sentences at the same time. By connecting pictures in the story with the audio sounds and visual highlights of the characters as our narrator reads the story, students see the stories come alive and want to keep watching the videos. Our read aloud videos are one of the best immersive methods of learning Chinese language for kids. 

In our past travels to China and Taiwan, we often go to bookstores looking for appropriate books for our kids to bring back to the USA. We thought, what better place to find materials to teach Chinese language for kids than where people use and speak Chinese all day? What we’ve found is that a simple children’s book from China or Taiwan is not simple at all for kids learning Chinese in the States. What’s worse, many books have either Pinyin or Bopomofo (the pronunciation systems used in China and Taiwan respectively) attached next to or below the Chinese characters. Because Pinyin looks just like English letters, kids here will just read those instead of trying to remember the Chinese characters. This makes those books unusable for teaching kids how to read Chinese. Bopomofo symbols are less of a problem only because kids in the States don’t understand it without actually having to learn it. However, once they learn it, it also becomes a crutch that kids will use as most of the children’s books will have those symbols next to the characters. We still have many of these books scattered across our home collecting dust.

As we looked for Chinese books for kids online we found many places selling paper books. While some are good, these books don’t take advantage of the power of interactive learning that online provides. Plus, books written in Chinese for kids don’t make them “Mandarin children’s books.” Chinese can be read in many different dialects and a book by itself does not teach students how to read it. If students are to learn to Mandarin Chinese, they will need to hear how the characters are pronounced. That’s certainly doable if the parents are native Mandarin speakers with loads of time on their hands, but that’s often unrealistic, especially the latter regarding time. 

So what are the best methods of learning Chinese language for kids? We believe there are 2 but one of them works best for students living in countries where Mandarin Chinese is not the primary language.  The first one is of course, learning basic conversational Chinese. This is great if you are planning a short trip to a Chinese speaking country or expected to say a few words of respect to a Mandarin Chinese speaker. However, that doesn’t get you very far when you are not living and breathing speaking Mandarin Chinese everyday. The best way for kids who live in countries where Mandarin Chinese is not the primary language is to learn through reading. Reading allows them to practice on their own which, eventually building an interest in Chinese language content and media which are widely available online. 

We believe the Mandarin Reading Club provides the best tools for teaching Chinese language for kids. Our read aloud videos with interactive flashcards enable students to learn on their own anywhere in the world. Plus, we are constantly adding new content in various categories such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Nature, Geography and Culture. Want to try it out? Sign up for a subscription today.