I outline exactly how I used this children’s book to learn natural Chinese expression.
Apply my blueprint to any book that interests you.
Did you know China has their own version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid? It’s called 小屁孩日记 (xiǎo pì hái rì jì) which translates more like Diary of a Naughty Kid.
The series chronicles a little boy, 米多 (mǐ duō), as he adventures through elementary school.
There’s one book per grade, seven in all because the books start in kindergarten and Chinese primary education continues through grade six.
The content matures as 米多 (mǐ duō) gets older. Developmentally, children first come into contact with the concrete, physical world before mentally comprehending the abstract concepts.
A child’s language reflects this progression, and the Chinese author does a marvelous job of developing 米多’s (mǐ duō) thoughts and communication.
That’s good for me and you because our Chinese textbooks do such a thorough job *cough* teaching us words to describe our day-to-day life. *cough*
The first two books have pinyin above the characters, thank God.
By reading a chapter at home, underlining new vocabulary, and then reviewing the material with my tutor I learned a more natural way of phrasing Mandarin sentences.
Sure, I was learning childish phrases, but like I said, each time I came away with an improved sense of how to construct Chinese sentences (and the language is great for talking to Chinese children.)
Honestly, the difficulty was just right for me. (Humbling, eh?)
How to learn Chinese using a children’s book.
Here’s how I used these books with a twice weekly tutor session.
- Record the whole hour-long session with your smartphone so you can listen later for extra practice.
- Read through a chapter (they are short, like four kid-sized pages) asking your tutor for feedback.
- Inquire about word meanings, and scribble definitions in the book.
- Have your tutor record the next chapter.
- Listen to your recorded session during your commute home.
- Read next chapter along with your tutor’s recording.
- Underline new words (try to look up some of them.)
At the beginning of your next tutoring session, read through the same chapter asking your tutor for feedback. Then repeat process during next session
I trashed my textbook and never looked back, but I had already been studying Chinese for a while. Are you just beginning Chinese? If so, maybe keep your textbook, but use my method to progress more quickly.
Question for you:
What Chinese book do you use to study? Comment below.
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