Published by under categories Bilingual Baby, Chinese Cartoon DVDs, Chinese Children's Books, Chinese Children's Songs, From Lina | comments Comments (13)

When the PAT (Parents as Teachers) teacher came to screen my twins on their growth and development, she was so impressed by their language advances.

“Yes, they are having a language explosion”. I said.

My twins, Nana and Yanyan who just passed two, achieved the same language levels as their elder sister did when she was close to three. The older twin, Nana, could recognize all alphabetic letters from A-Z in English. She could count easily up to 35 in Chinese. She could name colors (though not get all right) and shapes in Chinese. And she tried to sing the songs in Chinese and English, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars”, “If You Are Happy Clap Your Hands” or the “ABC song”.

My younger twin, Yanyan, could name most objects in her surrounding clearly in Chinese and English, such as table, chair, bed, bowl, ball, and many more. She had a good vocabulary in Chinese, on various subjects such as vegetables, fruits and animals. She could say 3-or-4 word sentences bilingually. And she likes asking “why” questions in a full sentence in Chinese!

Both girls could sing a number of children’s songs, nursery rhymes, and even simple Tang poems like “Spring Morning”.

Here is the list of resources I am using to help my twins acquire Chinese (see the difference of acquiring a language and learning a language in How children acquire second languages?)

1. Chinese flashcards: Flashcards have been acknowledged by educational researchers as the fastest and easiest way to learn and remember new information. The cards can be separated and used individually or used as a book. Children can learn Chinese while they are playing with the cards.

These bilingual(English/Chinese) flash cards will have children speaking everyday Chinese in a flash. The card series feature bright, colorful and lively photos, their Chinese characters, the Pinyin (phonetic transcriptions) as well as English explanations of objects and concepts.

resources to acquire Chinese resources to acquire Chinese
Bilingual Flashcards – Animals & Vegetables (English/Chinese) Bilingual Flashcards – Animals (English/Chinese)

Research indicates that learning related topics together often helps memorize new vocabulary faster. I am using these flashcards to teach twins names of daily objects, animals. vegetables, fruits,  colors, shapes , and etc. They also love to look at these books since the print is nicely produced to capture the vivid color and exceptional detail of the original.

resources to acquire Chinese resources to acquire Chinese
Bilingual Flashcards – Colors & Shapes (English/Chinese) Bilingual Flashcards – Daily Necessities (English/Chinese)

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2. Chinese books: Needless to say, reading books to children plays a vital role in helping them acquires languages. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that parents read to their children daily from six months of age, since reading not only stimulates development of children’s brain, but also fuels a close emotional relationship between parents and children. Reading also immerses children in the target language and exposes them to a greater number and variety of words, sentences and ideas than they would otherwise hear.

I read lots of Chinese children’s books to my twins, including Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Sima Guang Broke the Vat, The Gigantic Turnip, Three Monks, No Water and many more.

Currently, my twins’ favorite books are T’choupi’s Life Stories and T’choupi’s Magical Picture Books, two popular French educational picture book series, created by French artist Thierry Courtin and published by Nathan Jeunesse. The protagonist of this book series is a curious 3-year-old-boy who looks like a penguin named T’choupi.  These book series are also my older daughter DD’s most loves ones when she was two (see T’choupi came to China).

3. Chinese DVDs:
I know most parents are against screening time. Research has suggested that young children, who spent too much time in front of a TV, computer, or video game player, develop difficulties with communication and concentration, as well as other psychological problems and obesity.

Like nothing can be absolutely correct or absolutely wrong, limited “screening time” can be a positive experience for children. First of all, TV programs can take children to places they normally cannot go. Next, children’s shows, whether they call themselves “educational” or not, may offer opportunities to spark learning, stimulate interests or provide vivid role models that are more attractive to little ones psychologically or emotionally (e.g. Dora the Explorer, Disney princesses, etc.).

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming. So how about using this limited screening time to offer educational exposure?

I let my twins watch Qiaohu DVD series (no more than one hour a day, and not everyday) to learn Chinese language, math, music and social skills. They both picked up words, phrase and concepts from the show (see Qiaohu teaches children to love to learn).

4. Chinese CDs:
 Children’s songs and nursery rhythms are fun (e.g. “Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub”,) and are easy to remember. They also help your baby build phonological awareness and sensitivity—the ability to hear the breakdown of sounds within words and to diagnose rhythms and patterns of languages. As he grows, learning the rhymes himself will help him expand vocabulary, learn number skills and get confidence to express himself through speech.

I always play Chinese children’s songs and nursery rhymes as background music as they play. And I do the same thing when they ride with me in the car. I let them watch “Qiaohu” DVD and sings the same songs and nursery rhymes to enforce their memory.

resources to acquire Chinese resources to acquire Chinese
Chinese Children’s Songs (3 CDs) Chinese  Nursery  Rhymes (3 CDs)

5. Easy-Read Pen & audiobooks:
 Easy-Read pen is one product of E-reading pens, a pen-shaped book reader onto which audio from specific books can be downloaded. It reads aloud corresponding Chinese and/or English words, phrases, paragraphs, or dialogues when scanned across compatible images or texts of paper books, a new technique of Point and Read.

When Easy-Read Pen scans across book pages, either images or texts, the corresponding Chinese words, phrases, paragraphs, or dialogues are read out loudly in clear mandarin, a new technique of Point and Read (see E-reading pen: an interactive tool to learn Chinese for more details).

Easy-Read Pen and its compatible audiobooks help my twins learn Chinese in a fun way. And they are great replacement for screening time too.

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Related posts:
How to help babies acquire languages? (Method 1)
How to help babies acquire languages? (Method 2)
How to help babies acquire languages? (Method 3)
How to help babies acquire languages? (Method 4)


  1. 1
    Reshama // January 23rd, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Thats awesome! I have seen that with my little one too. Music and rhyme almost always help retain information more efficiently 🙂
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

  2. 2
    Shecki // January 23rd, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    That’s great! One of my girls spoke Mandarin when we got her (at age 3.5 yrs) and the other spoke Cantonese (age 2.5 yrs). We have been unable to keep them fluent, but we are continuing to expose them to Mandarin, at least. I hope to take them back to visit in about 5 years, and I would love for them to have at least a little Mandarin to get by with.

  3. 3
    Tina at // January 29th, 2014 at 6:18 am

    You are doing such a great job with your girls! Thanks for sharing these resources at Booknificent Thursday!

  4. 4
    Missy @ Dot-to-Dot Connections // February 6th, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for sharing these resources! I have a 9 year old who is fascinated with China and wants to learn to speak Chinese, but I haven’t found a program for her yet, so I’m always on the lookout for Chinese language resources 🙂

  5. 5
    Lina // February 6th, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    @Missy: Great to know your little one wants to learn Chinese! I will share more FREE resources on my blog. I love to see so many children learning Chinese!!

  6. 6
    Jenny // February 18th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    What an amazing job you are doing!

  7. 7
    Julie Grasso // February 18th, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Thank you for such a wonderful post. You have inspired me to get some Italian Flashcards for Gigi, to start introducing her to a bilingual perspective. So wonderful to hear of your twins development. We read every day, sometimes for a couple of hours, just finding books we love are reading them over and over. It is wonderful when they begin to recite the books back to you before they can even read… Thanks so much for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog hop.

  8. 8
    Reshama // February 19th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Very informative and helpful! I can’t help but want similar resources for my Spanish learner in the house. I love the idea of the flashcards and the audio books. Thanks for sharing this on KidLit BlogHop!
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

  9. 9
    belinda brock // February 19th, 2014 at 11:52 am

    thanks for such an informative post. i grew up in a home where another language was spoken but i never became literate in it. here from the kid lit blog hop!

  10. 10
    Jaymie Shook // February 20th, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Thanks for hosting the KLBH, Lina! We’re so happy to have you 🙂

  11. 11
    Katie @ Youth Literature Reviews // February 20th, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing these ideas! I had no idea how many resources were out there. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for when we’re reading to start introducing a second language in our home.

  12. 12
    Cheryl Carpinello // February 21st, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    What a great resource you are for your twins! Thanks for much for sharing this informative blog with the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Cheryl, Hop Hostess

  13. 13
    Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews // March 2nd, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Wow! Your twins are doing so great – I think bilinguilism (or learning even more languages) is so, so important! That will serve them well their whole life. Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks with the Kid Lit Blog Hop folks! 🙂

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