If you look back at my ‘old’ blog posts on the topic of teaching Chinese, my focus has always been creating an interest in the subject in my boys. Frankly, it is difficult to build an interest in something on someone else, when you, yourself is not interested in! *sigh*

Chinese is my weakest subject, has always been. Well, I used to blame it on my Parents because none of them spoke to me in Chinese. After I became a parent, I took the blame away from them and acknowledged that it was my bad mentality towards the language which resulted in my bad grades.

One needs to ‘Speak More, Write More, Read More’, if you want to master the language, or simply ‘Survive‘ it.

Then again, what do you do, when your child refused to speak in Chinese? Hates writing those Chinese character strokes? Take hours just to finish reading a short Chinese story?

Well, its a battle I have to go through with Keatkeat every single day. Yes, just Keatkeat. Binbin loves Chinese. Sad to say, words which the Kindergarten 2 child knows, his Primary 2 older brother does not or have forgotten.

Which is why I say, it voice down to the attitude of the child. The way I teach the both of them are the same, but why does one excel and the other struggles? ~ Interest.

Before I reveal my latest trick used on Keatkeat, please allow me to vent a little here by sharing what it is like to get Keatkeat to complete a Chinese homework from school:~

‘Mind Blocked’ is what I have to deal with every time we sit down for Chinese lesson at home.

For example, the words ‘Small Fish’, he would keep pronouncing these two words as ‘Small Rain’. When we separate ‘Small’ from ‘Fish’, he is able to pronounce individual words correctly. But when we put them back together, he will say ‘Small Rain’ again.

Doing motion without knowing what he is doing is another big hurdle for him and me to conquer.

For example, during ‘Zao-Ju’, which is sentence construction, he would ask, “Mummy, how to write ‘guo’.” I would open up his textbook, flip to a page where the word ‘guo’ can be found and suggest that he finds the word himself. Then after writing two more ‘Zao-Ju’, he asked again, “Mummy, how to write ‘guo’.” *faint*

The most annoying thing is, he is still on the same page where he WROTE the word ‘guo’! Simply raising his eyelids a little and roll his eyeballs slightly upwards, he could see the ‘guo’ which he wrote few minutes ago! As if it was not bad enough, the textbook where the word ‘guo’ can be found is still wide open! *eyes rolled*

Lets move on to reading a Chinese Story Book which does not have Hanyu Pinyin. We have began to stay away from Hanyu Pinyin because his school teacher suggested that we should, as Primary Three Chinese would not be focusing on Hanyu Pinyin at all.

Step 1: I would read the first paragraph with my index finger pointing each Chinese character as I read.

Step 2:Then I would ask him to explain what I had just read. If he misunderstood any section, I would then explain it to him in English.

Step 3: Step 1 is repeated.

Step 4: Now, its his turn to read. Whenever he cannot remember the pronounciation of any word, I would ask him to say out (without writing) the Hanyu Pinyin of that ‘difficult’ word. I would read for him again and ask him to repeat after me.

What happens next?


Yes! In just split seconds, he can just forget what he has just said! How Amazing!?

And after reading many times to him, when he finally remembers, he forgets another word which he Knew How To Pronounce Previously! *Scream*

My sis said I am really patient. Even she could not help but shook her head when she sat beside us witnessing the drama.

Throughout the reading or worksheet session, he would drop his pencil, flick his eraser, flip his ruler onto the floor. Then he will bend down, picks it up and forgets where he stopped! *Double Scream*

He will start looking for the question or the place where he has stopped and when he finally found it, ANOTHER THING DROP ON THE FLOOR! *Super Scream*

Alright enough of all these nonsense!

Ever since we tried this new approach, the above bad habits have changed for the better; but not completely though.

So what new approach?

Chinese Comprehension!

That’s it!
Let me explain why it works. *wink*
Remember, my focus here is to let Keatkeat have interest in Chinese and correct his bad mentality towards the language.

Doing Chinese Comprehension is ‘Killing Many Birds With One Stone':

  1. One passage a day. So all he sees is one page of story and one page of questions to answer. Two pages seemed really easy for him to ‘swallow’. (Pressure/Stress is lessened.)
  2. He will read silently on his own with a pencil in his hand, underlining words which are alien to him. (Cultivating Good Reading Habits)
  3. After which, I will tell him the pronunciation of the underlined words. (Learning new/forgotten words)
  4. I will read to him. (Training his listening skills and level of attentiveness)
  5. Then he will read. (Reading Habit again)
  6. He can move on to the questions ONLY when he is able to read the whole story WITHOUT asking me, “Mummy what word is this?” (Accomplishment)
  7. Answering the questions. (Train him on his level of understanding and speed of finding the appropriate answer)
  8. Writing down the answers. (Focus on correct strokes of the Chinese Characters, Writing speed and Forming proper Chinese sentences is put to practice)

Can you see?

One stone killed so many birds!

Ever since we started doing Chinese Comprehension regularly, Keatkeat’s resistance towards the language has decreased tremendously. There are many books, which focuses on Chinese Comprehension ONLY. You can get them easily from any bookshops which sells assessment books.

Keatkeat’s Chinese has improved much, but has he reached the standard which is acceptable to his Chinese teacher? Errrmmm… Nope! More work need to be done.

Anyway, one thing for sure, he no longer detest Chinese language now. *phew* So I would say its a great leap forward. *smile*

Is your child interested in Chinese language? How do you teach your child Chinese?