Last night, I received an email from one of my customers, now also a friend, in New Zealand. She bought a set of Easy-Read Pen and audio books from me last October for her toddler son to learn Chinese. She told me in her email that her boy made some impressive progress in his Chinese learning thanks to the help of the Easy-Read Pen and audio books. She also offered some excellent tips on how to parent kids to learn a second language.
With her permission, I published her email on my blog as below. I am sure the readers will benefit from her personal feedback of using the Easy-Read Pen and audio books and her wonderful parenting tips as well.
I read your blog today and thought I might drop you an email about how BB is progressing. I am still very grateful that your website has enabled us to progress this far. It has been 8 months since I last contacted you. We have been to Malaysia for holiday, came back and now BB has gone to Montessori pre-school for over two months now and I have gone back to working 3 days a week.
On his visit to Malaysia, right on the first day he was able to hit off conversation with my mom who doesn’t speak English at all and his uncles who learnt Mandarin at school. Everyone seems to think he had a teacher from Beijing, given his very pure Mandarin (very unlike Malaysian Mandarin). The reading pen did made some impact. So, unlke my husband, BB has not much language barrier at all during his stay in Malaysia (a multi-lingual country). because he can speak English and Mandarin. We speaks English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay and even Hokkien in Malaysia.
I have managed to learn to recite about 21 poems in Mandarin using the reading pen and I found out later, my son also memorise all of them even though he only ocassionally recite them in my presence. I guess by focussing on learning myself when he is present has prompted him to learn them without any pressure. To him it was just like listening to a song he likes and couldn’t help but memorising it to heart later. In fact I found out that he rememberred them sooner than I did and with much less effort. I use the pen a lot especially when he is playing with his trains.
Even though he probably couldn’t understand what he is reciting now. My primary goal was not for him to memorise them, or understand them but for him to familiarise with the Mandarin language. This can only be done through regular listening to quality Mandarin in audio. He doesn’t have to understand them to learn, the understanding will come with lots of listening and familliarity with the language structure and pronounciation. Afterall, a child listens to people speaking around him for nearly a year and a half before he can even speaks to others. I prefer audio(CD) over visual (DVD/VCD) because then the focus is on sharpening listening skill not mostly spent on watching the screen. Understanding will then be on ability to listen to spoken words rather than on guessing the meaning by watching the screen. I learnt my Mandarin purely from listening long before I could understand their meaning from a very young age. Since I was able to use my understanding to teach my son, it has certainly come to some good use. So, keep up with persisting to let your daughter’s environment be rich in language.
BB nows goes to school 4 days but still respond to me spontaneously in Mandarin, he might include a word in English now and then. But if I repeat what he just said in Mandarin, he seems happy to repeat them back to me. Early conditioning is the reason behind what language he choses to speak to me. Of course, I have to ensure that he has enough Mandarin vocabulary for him to converse comfortably with me without having to resort to using English words to fill in the gap all the time.
Keep your good work with your website & blog.
E-reading pen: an interactive tool to learn Chinese
Chinese/Bilingual books with CD/VCD/DVD will be added
Best4Future bilingual bookstore is under construction
I have an idea to open a Chinese bookstore online!
New year, new plan