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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chinese for Teens – Materials to Help them Practice this Summer

Summer break is around the corner and small and big kids alike are looking forward to fun days ahead. We parents would like them to have fun but wouldn’t it be nice if we could sneak in some learning time for them as well?

You might or might not be met with rolling eyes when you suggest further Chinese practice, but I'm quite sure by this time you know how to get around having them gain extra learning without their noticing (or at least we like to believe they don't notice).

  • For kids who thrive on textbook learning – even in summer – there are plenty of excellent textbooks written for teens beginning Chinese as a second language. Kuaile Hanyu has a textbook/reader and follows teen students as they visit China and try to converse in basic Chinese. Lessons used in the book are more about teens and keeps in mind the more advanced language skills of adolescents.
  • Videos. No talking baby pandas please for these young adults. There are interesting documentary videos hosted by young people that will have them pick up Chinese words and see more about Chinese culture as well. Favorites are: “New Year in Ping Wei”, “Land of the Dragon,” “Families from China” and "Chinese Cooking for Kids DVD".
  • If you can’t get your teen off the computer to do Chinese lessons, why not bring the Chinese lesson to the computer instead? Kuaile Hanyu also has a 3-level software that features videos of exchange students visiting China , some practice tests and games. (Maybe you can haggle for your teen to look through the Kuaile Hanyu textbook reader as well? No? Just try?)
  • A lot of Chinese words and grammar can be picked up from songs it will be a waste to not to try this medium. Thankfully, songs from other countries are not as hard to look for these days. Why not try to sit down together in front of the internet and look through Chinese singers that teens like? Maybe you can help download Chinese songs your child likes, and do it as the parents of smaller kids learning Chinese do. Play it while in the car or while having some down time at home. (Ear plugs can be of help here.)
  • Books are an excellent antidote to whines of boredom after the computer is shut down. Kids who are used to reading Chinese can read Chinese Harry Potter in Simplified or Traditional characters. For those who want to REALLY keep their kids unplugged for a longer time, Chinese Harry Potter bundle set is also available. Yes, all books number 1-7 are included so your teen can read in Chinese that first day Harry received his invitation to study at Hogwarts, to the time Harry has a family with… never mind. Just read so I don’t spill. Chinese translations of the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit, plus also Eragon, can keep your teen busy reading for days and speeding up those Chinese reading skills as well.

Are you up to it? Think you can sneak in speeding up your child's Chinese this summer?

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