There are many rave reviews of this 四五快读 book series that I have to get one to see for myself.
I like that it provides me with a very structured lesson plan to teach my children the necessary foundation words to begin early reading. As a result, Xxm is able to easily recognize these common words in print. This gave him a sense of achievement beyond what I taught him.
I own the 我会读 series as well. These are a series of thematic flashcards. Although he does pick up words from there, Xxm does not relate them to words in books. I did not realize this until I started him on 四五快读. It was one night when he pointed out 上 from a story I was reading to him that made me aware of his inert ability to associate and apply. Finding words in print is a revision technique the author recommended in her book. I am glad that Xxm discovered this for himself.
The author provided a very detailed write-up on the importance of reading and the dos and don’ts in getting young children to read. There are explicit explanations of the methodology she employed in teaching her daughter in which she emphasized the importance of learning through play. Pauline from myplayschool.net has an excellent write-up on this here.
The problem in my homeschooling is that I am not able to deliver my lesson in the schedule recommended by the author. This recommended schedule strives to retain memory of new words learnt through effective revision. If you have read the article by Pauline, you would understand what I mean.
I depend on my MIL to teach him during the day. For herself, there is no fixed schedule or methodology. The method she employs is to teach when he is interested. So in pockets of free time during the day, if she notices Xxm picking up the cards to play, she will then “teach” him what is on the card. It has been very fruitful. In 3 days, Xxm knew 50% of the words in lesson one. MIL is very motivated to teach now too. What I do when I get home from work is to play a game of word recognition with him. He is very enthusiastic about this. Thus far, these games are randomly plucked off from the top of my head. It mainly stems from my desire to organize the word cards. There was one night when I noticed the word cards that I painstaking prepared scattered all over my bed. So I took my masking tape and decide to stick them on my wall instead. Xxm was very keen to help. So I got him to pick up the word I called out and have him stick onto the wall. Anyway, I was too lazy to crawl around picking up the cards. Haha.
Another game that is a current hit with Xxm now is a competitive game between he and myself. I usually drag Xmm into the picture to up the fun factor. What I did was to have the word cards on a white board. Xxm and xmm (with me holding him) will stand behind the starting line. They will have to run to the board to pick up the word that I call out. Without a doubt, Xmm who is still learning to walk lags behind Xxm and he doesn’t know the words anyhow. So, Xxm always gets to the cards first and picks out the correct answer. The two boys laughed and giggled all the way. It’s really a joy to watch them enjoying an unintentional educational activity. The only problem with this game is that Xxm’s head gets really big.
This video is staged. You will see him having loads more fun when Xmm is in the picture as well.
What have we achieved so far? Xxm seems to remember the more complex words better. I’m still struggling with teaching him ‘一’ and ‘二’ from lesson one. He is pointing out familiar words in the Chinese books I read to him. If I don’t query him on the words he know, he will point to the word and say “这是什么字？”， prompting me to throw the question back to him. To which, he will delightfully give me the correct answer. I had the luxury of time to indulge myself in a few tv shows this holidays and Xxm was there to join me. He would suddenly hop from the sofa and point out the characters on the screen, much to my surprise.
I can’t deny I am very happy with our achievements so far hence this post. If you were to follow the series, you can complete all 7 books in half a year. For me, I’m taking a more laid back attitude. My aim is to just complete book 1 in a year. I think it will shock me too much if my son can read long Chinese novels by the time he’s 3 if we were to finish all 7 books. I’m more than pleased with our present progress.
P/S: You can view snippets of the book here.