6 years old, Chinese Apps, Elementary Music, Preschool Music

Favorite Chinese Kids Music – 7 albums FREE!

My 6 y.o. is at the stage where he is outgrowing classic Chinese kids songs like 《两只老虎》and《拔萝卜》, but not quite ready for pop music. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with exposure to “teen” or “adult” music at a young age (I remember listening to Mandarin/Hokkien radio a lot with my parents/grandparents), I’m on the search for music that is geared for kids.

A big THANK YOU to the mom who recommended the Taiwanese band Hoop Kids to me. Their music is just perfect, exactly what I’m looking for. It sounds like pop music (and hence more palatable to adult ears), but the content is all very healthy and kid-appropriate.

I recently discovered that all their albums are available for FREE on Ximalaya and I’ve downloaded them to put on my son’s MP3 player. I’ve compiled all the links here for everyone’s convenience.

You can listen to them online or via the Ximalaya app but if you’re like me and want to save them, refer to this tutorial by Guavarama – Technology: Downloading Audio from Ximalaya

 

  1. Children Playground 儿童乐园
  2. The Sky Tree 天空树
  3. The Sweet Home 宝贝我的家
  4. The Love River 孩子的暖暖河
  5. My Honey Baby 亲亲我的宝贝
  6. Welcome Happiness! 快乐,快乐一直来
  7. All is Love 爱你爱我

Enjoy!

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6 years old, English Reading, Kinder Reads

English Reading List 2018-2019

English reading has been on my mind a lot lately and I’ve done some online research and asked experienced friends on how to progress English reading levels. My previous English posts here:

Several challenges presented themselves since he started Kindergarten last month:

  1. Life is very very busy. Aside from full-day school, he has many extracurricular activities now at that he didn’t have as a preschooler.
  2. One of my goals for him is to try different genres instead of sticking to his preferred. I would like to balance reading “fun books” and “classics”.
  3. How to gauge comprehension? Since he is left to read English silently to himself, how can I assess if he really comprehended the book?

This blog post is mainly about how I problem-solved the aforementioned challenges.

#1. Finding Time to Read

One thing that changed since starting Kinder is that he is completely wiped out by 8pm. As in his eyes are all puffy and he can barely keep them open. He has always done most of his reading before bed but clearly this would no longer work.

The other thing I realized is that my son really does best when he reads alone in his room. It’s impossible for him to read in the presence of other people because he wants to snuggle or talk or people watch or whatever. After a bit of trial and error, he now does his reading right when he wakes up in the morning from 7-8am. This is a sufficient amount of time where he is able to either finish a short chapter book or read several chapters from a longer book.

At bedtime I read to him in Chinese and his dad reads in English. He just sits back and listens. I am happy to report that this change in schedule is working very well.

#2. Balancing “Fun Books” and “Classics”

Depending on who you talk to, some will say let your kids read whatever they want. Others will say only let kids read “Montessori style” or “Charlotte Mason living books” or you’ll rot their brains.

I guess I would like to balance both. I read a lot of junk growing up and still enjoy it so I have no issue with my son reading useless crap like Plants vs. Zombies or Dog Man, as long as that’s not the only thing he reads.

Assessing Reading Level

I started by assessing his reading level using the San Diego Quick Assessment shared by Guavarama. I scored him strictly on this test even if the errors were slight, such as when he read “interrupted” as “interrupt” or “develop” with the wrong intonation. I’ve given such tests at work and know that scoring should be done very strictly.

The results turned out pretty much as I expected, with him able to read independently at “3rd grade level” and should be instructed at the “4th grade level”. This of course is not entirely true because he is 6 y.o. and does not have the maturity or comprehension of a true 3rd or 4th grader. In fact I would say that he has trouble reading some “2nd grade level” if it’s not a topic he is familiar with, but can read “5th grade level” if he’s interested and it has plentiful illustrations like Captain Underpants. 

I decided it would be appropriate for him to read books from 3rd-5th grade and found some recommended lists online and bugged my friends with genius kids with lots of questions. Amount of illustrations, size of font, length of book, child’s interests, etc. have to be considered as well.

Creating a Reading List

Several things to note about kids: 1) They like to have choices and 2) They like to see the covers of books. These are stated in Jim Trelease’ The Read-Aloud Handbook and I think holds true for most children.

Of all the books I shortlisted as appropriate for his reading level and age, I made a visual reading list using images from the internet, scotch tape, and a manila folder. It makes it much more captivating to see the pictures of books vs. if I just gave him a written list.

It’s also very important that he has choices vs. me saying this is the assigned book you’re going to read RIGHT NOW.

It’s been a couple weeks and the visual list is working out really well. He has read books I didn’t think he was capable of or interested in!

Two weeks ago:

Now:

I have all the books organized in order of reading level from The Magic Finger AR 3.1 (beginning 3rd grade) to The Mouse and The Motorcycle AR 5.1 (beginning 5th grade). I did not tell him this because it is for my own reference. I do not think AR levels are 100% accurate but are helpful as a guideline. As you can see, he is able to read across a range of reading levels and I do not discourage him from reading something that is “too easy” or “too hard”.

When he finishes a book, he moves it over from the “Books I’m Going to Read” on the right side to the “Books I’ve Read” bookshelf on the left. This is very motivating for him to have a goal and see his bookshelf fill up. 🙂

I also get him “fun books” such as graphic novels and 13-Story Treehouse series from the library. These are no-stress, enjoyable reads. He generally alternates between the “reading list” and “fun books”. After he finishes something challenging, he takes a break for a few days. I also encourage him to try more by the same author if he liked a book. For example after he read Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger, he was inspired to read Matilda even though it’s not on the list.

#3. Assessing Comprehension

I usually spend most of our time together focused on Chinese and largely leave him to read English on his own. However my concern is how much he comprehends, particularly for lengthy books with few pictures, or books that have a lot of bombastic vocabulary (e.g. Roald Dahl) he may be unfamiliar with.

Anyway, I don’t want to give him a quiz or play 20 questions or have him write a book report. Those are all things I’m not too fond of. Instead, I came across the idea to have him do narration using five-finger retell (blog post about five-finger retell) (blog post about Charlotte Mason narration as a learning tool). Retelling is great not just for comprehension but also improves verbal skills and future writing skills. (How many times have we asked kids a question only to get a jumbled mess of an answer?)

We practiced a few times together with highly familiar short stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, then less familiar stories, before I had him try on his own. For shorter books I have him retell the whole book, but for longer books such as Matilda I have him summarize a chapter. I do not do this every day! It would drive us both crazy. It’s more like every few days or whenever I feel like I need to do a comprehension check.

In Summary…

I feel like his English reading is on the right track and expect that at this rate he can finish this list by the end of Kindergarten or before. We do not have much time for English supplementation at home (no time even for English audiobooks, only Chinese) so this reading list and Lakeshore Daily Language Journal is all we are doing for now.

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Chinese Resources, Preschool Reads

Kids Joy Chinese Book Set {GIVEAWAY}

You may be surprised to hear that despite owning thousands of Chinese books, this is my very first set of bilingual books. Most bilingual books I’ve seen are written with very simplistic Chinese vocabulary as they are targeted towards children who are just learning Chinese.

I prefer books with interesting vocabulary and sentence structure that are written by native speakers. I was immediately intrigued by Kids Joy Traditional Chinese Toys Book Set, written by three moms who grew up and attended college in China and moved to the USA.

This book set comes with 5 hardcover storybooks + 1 free coloring book in a sturdy box. If you do not speak or read Chinese, there is read-aloud audio found on their website or scan the QR code in the book. The audio is read by a professional TV host in China and I was impressed with the high quality.

Each storybook shows a little boy and girl playing with a traditional toy such as rattle drum, shuttlecock, bean bags, etc. What a fun way to introduce Chinese culture! I remember playing with these during my childhood in Singapore. I spent countless hours sewing and playing five stones in primary school. Ahhh.. fond memories. 🙂

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Each book has a heartwarming storyline. For example, in the 不倒翁 (tumbler) book, the theme was being like a 不倒翁 and not give up when you face obstacles.

I really like the “Did You Know?” section that gives a brief history of the toy. Who knew that these toys have been around for thousands of years and were played in the royal palace?

At the end of each book there are instructions for you to make your own toy! Little Man was really excited to kick 毽子 (shuttlecock) and I really appreciated that the materials were things we already had at home. Good way to re-purpose plastic bags too. 😉 There are also video instructions on the website.

Overall I find it a very cute and meaningful set and it introduces Chinese culture in a fun, interactive way. There were quite a few new vocabulary that he did not know so it was a good learning experience.

Giveaway Details

  • This contest will run from Sep 12, 2018 – Sep 20, 2018, 7pm CST. One winner will be selected at random.
  • The winner will receive a Traditional Chinese Toys Book Set (5 hardcover books + 1 coloring book) worth $49.95 sponsored by Kids Joy. Contest is open to participants from any country but the prize will only be mailed to a U.S. address.
  • Each person can have a maximum of two entries, as listed below.
  • The winner will be contacted via Facebook Messenger after the contest ends to claim his/her prize directly from Kids Joy.

To enter the contest:

Disclaimer: Book set was provided by Kid Joy for review. Opinions are my own. 
5.5 years old, Bilingual Journey, English Reading, Learning to Read

End of Summer Update and Goals for 2018-2019

Wow, I can’t believe summer is almost over and I am heading back to work soon. I figured I better blog because my memory is not that great and I tend to forget if not recorded down.

Three months ago I set some goals for us (blogged here). For those of us that live in the USA, three months of summer vacation is the perfect time to boost a lot of skills that we might not have time to during the school year.

Of course, summer is also the time for lots of sports and camps and activities. I am so thankful to have made some Taiwanese friends in our area this summer and our kids had a blast together.

Present Levels

Chinese

Huge gains in this area. Little Man speaks Chinese frequently now, to me, to himself, to his non-Chinese-speaking dad, to the dog…!!! He speaks Chinese loudly in public with no reservation and I can only hope this continues. Growing up in Singapore, I remember being ashamed to speak Chinese and avoided it for many years.

His vocabulary is increasing rapidly and he sometimes regurgitates 成语 or phrases from books. Yesterday he said people shouldn’t yell and should “轻声细语”, I was so shocked! His grammar is a little off at times but he is starting to use complex sentences to express himself.

He loves for me to read him Chinese books and yesterday we spent 1.5 hours reading Chinese books. Hard to believe that this same kid used to hate Chinese books! I do not pressure him to read during these times. I cherish the special bonding of me reading to him. 🙂

I can’t keep track of how many characters he knows. It’s about 1000+ and can read about 90% of the characters in children’s books. He continues to gain several characters every day and can read with and without pinyin 3000-character books. His pronunciation, though far from perfect, is much better than at the start of the summer.

English

Nice gains in this area as well. We started out the summer using a reading chart and timer. In July we faded out the reading chart, and in beginning of August also faded out the use of the timer because he doesn’t need them anymore! 🎉

He has developed some really nice reading habits — I am seeing more and more of him reading everywhere, in the car, on the toilet, during breakfast… 😀

He has recently developed the ability to read for over an hour (sometimes). I cannot tell you how happy this makes me because he has always been a fidgety one who cannot sit still. This month he finished almost all the A to Z Mysteries, re-read Captain Underpants, Usborne Illustrated Classics and Greek Myths, Illustrated Children’s Bible, and some Geronimo Stilton.

Audiobooks and abridged books seem to be a good way to introduce classics to him, e.g. he read the abridged version of Wizard of Oz and Greek Myths, and listened to the full version on audio.

I got some Great Illustrated Classics this week and I’m so happy he’s taken to them. He read Robin Hood in two days and just started Journey to the Center of the Earth. On a similar note I am also reading him the abridged version of 西游记.

Mostly I am letting him read English on his own. He reads his math problems out loud and he sometimes has trouble decoding people’s names or multisyllabic words. Science or non-fiction books is also a good way for me to check that he is reading long words accurately.

I’m trying to let go of the idea of “reading levels”. Yesterday he re-read some Dr. Seuss from when he was a toddler, then a children’s encyclopedia, then some dumb comics. Clearly his reading and interests span quite a wide range! As long as we have plenty of good books around I’ll just (try to) chill out and let him make his own selections.

Math

We are almost finished with Challenging Math Problems 1. Wow was it challenging! Little Man breezed through Singapore 1A and 1B so I think he expected to breeze through this book as well. It was quite a blow to his self-esteem and actually resulted in tears doing this book (he is not a kid who cries often).

The reason for the tears was that he did a whole page incorrectly and was upset he had to erase and re-do it. Word of caution to parents: you will need to support your child through this book! Do not expect to throw this workbook at them to do independently.

Anyway, as with all things, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The last third of the book Little Man got the hang of it and became quite good and independent with completing 3-step word problems.

The biggest gains out of doing the Challenging Word Problems book:

  • Reading comprehension (really carefully between the lines for “clues”)
  • Logic (some of the problems are deliberately worded to confuse you)
  • Calculation (math operations to 100)

At this point he can add and subtract double digits mentally. He knows some simple multiplication and division but it was only briefly covered in this book and we didn’t have time to go more in depth into it.

Looking into next year…

It’s really hard for me to set concrete goals because a lot can change in a year’s time. Here are some non-specific goals I have for 2018-2019:

Chinese

Expect that he will read 3000-5000 character bridge books and stay at this level for a while. Little Man still has gaps in his Chinese vocabulary such as slang (e.g. 吹牛,開趴) and certain aspects of Chinese culture (e.g. school words like 班长, 值日生 and Chinese myths and legends) that he doesn’t understand, so he needs to spend more time building up on that. I do not think he can read full chapter books until he expands his vocabulary. Just because he can “read” the words (via pinyin) does not equate to comprehension.

I would also like to introduce some character writing using the Singapore P1 syllabus. In Singapore he would be P1 in 2019 so this corresponds to his age level.

English

Little Man will be in a Spanish immersion program so some level of supplementing English is necessary as well. I’m hoping it can be done more informally through a lot of reading and audiobooks because ain’t got no time for so many workbooks!

His dad reads to him from our non-fiction Usborne collection every night so I’m assuming he can continue developing higher-level vocabulary this way.

Math

Really torn about what to do for math. I know that we will need to continue math practice because otherwise he’ll just forget everything he’s learned this summer, essentially putting all our hard work to waste. Currently undecided on which math books to use.

Other thoughts…

Given that he will probably be pretty tired from a full day of kindergarten, I don’t want to give him too much additional work when he gets home. My plan is to keep to 30 minutes a day of Chinese “enrichment” or “mommy tutoring”, whatever you want to call it.

Informally, I would like to continue reading to him in Chinese an hour a day and have him read English himself an hour a day. This should be pretty relaxing and fun and doesn’t count as “work”.

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Chinese Resources, Learning to Read, Si Wu Kuai Du 四五快读

四五快读 Si Wu Kuai Du: A Review

As you probably already know, I am a big fan of 四五快读. I have a few other blog posts like how we use it and how I organize our materials, but I wanted to wait until I finished the entire curriculum before I wrote a review.

Anyway, momentous occasion today. We finished all 8 books! YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!! 😊😊😊

Here’s a general overview of our experience.

Stats

Background: My son grew up in a 100% monolingual American English environment for his first 4.5 years. When we started 四五快读 he barely knew any Chinese and I taught him both the character and meaning at the same time, e.g. “This is 天. It means sky.” When we started Book 1, he didn’t even know what 火, 木, 云 meant!

Time: We started when he was 4 years 10 months old and completed at 5 years 7 months old. It took a total of nine months diligently working on it every day for about 15 mins.

As the name of the series suggests, it is designed for 4-5 year olds. Of course it could be used for younger/older children too, but younger children may not have the attention span and older children might find the animal stories kinda lame.

Cost: I bought the set of 8 books from Taobao for around $25 USD

Outcome: He can now read around 700-800 characters, short stories and simple storybooks. Technically the series covers a total of 825 characters but he has forgotten some of them. For those of you from Singapore, this is basically means he’s covered most of the characters in the P1 syllabus and a substantial portion of P2 (however he cannot write any of them).

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Comprehensive program – everything is planned out for you and flash cards are included
  • Builds up a child’s confidence from reading simple sentences with lots of pictures to long stories with hardly any pictures. THIS IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS PROGRAM! It trains kids to not be afraid of long pages of text.
  • No pinyin (I guess some people wouldn’t see this as a pro but I do!)
  • According to the author, child should be able to read about 80% of the words in children’s books after completing this series. I would say this is pretty accurate.

Cons

  • Typos (there are a few every book)
  • Printing error!! My Book 5 had like 20 misprinted pages OMG!!!!!!! 🤦‍♀️

I won’t say that my son loves 四五快读 because that would be a lie. I had to deal with a lot of complaints initially but he is now used to 四五 as part of his daily routine and doesn’t mind it. He is very proud of what he has accomplished and has even brought 四五 to his preschool for Show & Tell!

Some readers mentioned to me that they bought the series but find it so intimidating. I freaked out too and thought there’s no way my kid could learn all that. Here’s a tip: only look at the book you’re on and don’t look ahead! Focus on taking baby steps every day.

Progression from Book 1 to Book 8:

First week (Aug 2017):

Beginning of Book 1 (Aug 2017):

End of Book 1 (Sep 2017):

Book 2 (Oct 2017):

Book 3 (Nov 2017):

Book 5 (Jan 2018):

Book 8 (Apr 2018):

Leisure Reading

During the course of the last few months while doing 四五, I also massively acquired Chinese storybooks and read to him as often as I could. It started with 1-2 picture books a day to now 1-2 hours of Chinese books a day. ME reading, not him.

The impact of this on his language development was HUGE. His Chinese vocabulary and grammar exploded and he became able to read with increased speed and fluency. You will notice in the videos that somewhere along Book 3, he stopped reading character by character and started reading by chunks.

Side Note

Because I did not expose my son to Chinese until 4.5 years old, he has substantial difficulty with pronunciation of tones. I did not take this seriously at first because I thought he would eventually figure it out with time. Well, turns out we got until Book 8 and he STILL did not figure it out by himself and basically sounded horrendous since the stories were now very long. The longer the sentence, the more inaccurate his tones were.

Around the middle of Book 8, I started aggressively correcting his tones using the following strategies:

  1. Correcting him every single time he makes a mistake
  2. Listening to lots of CDs/MP3s of native speakers
  3. Improving my own pronunciation. I’m usually kinda lazy and mumble a lot but I make a conscious effort to pronounce as clearly as I can.
  4. Having him repeat after me, bit by bit. At first he could only imitate 2-3 characters with the correct tones, but he slowly became able to imitate 4-5 characters then longer sentences accurately.
  5. Taking a step backwards and reading EASY books. We practiced My First Chinese Words readers which has one repetitive line per book.
  6. Used the tone marks in pinyin to visualize it (I feel he is a better visual learner than auditory)

After several weeks of my intensive boot camp, he became a lot more conscious of tones and got better at certain combinations which are hard for him (e.g. a lot of fourth tones in a row). Overall I would say he has improved markedly because I only have to correct him about 5 times per story now instead of 5 times per sentence!

This is a video of how he sounds now (May 2018):

Conclusion

I know we still have a long way to go for language, reading and pronunciation, but I think his progress from the first video until now is very evident. 🙂 For those of you just starting this journey, 加油! Persevere and you will see the fruits of your labor very soon.💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

5.5 years old, Chinese Resources, Reviews

Chinese Resources: Ciaohu Subscription

Disclaimer: Sample issue of was provided by Apex Brilliant Child Development (A.B.C.D. Inc), distributor of Ciaohu in the USA. Opinions are my own. 

Ciaohu 巧虎 is a popular magazine subscription from Taiwan (shipped worldwide) for young children from babies to 2nd grade+. I’ve heard many parents rave about Ciaohu and was excited to try it out. This review shows the 學習版 ‘Learn’ version for 5-6 year olds which I selected since Little Man is 5.5 years old.

Every issue comes with a magazine, activity book, interactive activities such as games, STEM, toys, and sometimes CDs/DVDs. The content and activities are tailored for your child’s age, e.g. pretend play toys for toddlers and more academics for older kids.

Video review of Ciaohu:

I found the 學習版 ‘Learn’ version to be spot on for my son’s developmental level. The content is just right for his comprehension, attention span, and in line with kindergarten curriculum for Math, Science, Phonics (zhuyin) etc. The activity book also contains ~30 pages of fun activities that kids love, e.g. stickers, mazes, spot the difference.

In my opinion, the main benefit of magazines (as compared to books) is the wide variety of topics and vocabulary. Most of the Chinese books we own are fiction and revolve around my son’s interests of superheroes and mythology. Ciaohu provides a diverse “diet” of non-fiction, various themes, and exposure to everyday vocabulary of native Chinese children.

When Little Man opened the package, he immediately wanted to get started with the Science experiments. I found the instructions very clear and my son was able to follow the directions by looking at the pictures.

I also love large clear font and plentiful illustrations! Large font is really important for beginning readers and my son was able to read some parts of the magazine with me. He particularly enjoyed reading the comic. With some practice, I expect that he will be able to read this magazine by himself.

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Right now we use 95% Simplified at home but the Saturday school my son attends teaches Traditional. I feel that Ciaohu will be good for more exposure to Traditional text as well as practice reading 注音符號 (zhuyin), something that I am learning as well. Don’t be afraid to expose your child to both Simplified and Traditional! Kids can easily pick up both because they are just that smart.

They provide the entire year’s schedule so you can see exactly what materials you’ll be receiving each month and the topics. Schedule for 2018-2019 “學習版” (starts September) shown here. Click the links below for other age groups.

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Check out the Ciaohu website for a preview of these other levels:

Other blog reviews of Ciaohu:

Cost: 

  • 12-month subscription $345 USD ($28.75/month)
  • 6-month subscription $188 USD ($31.30/month)

You will receive one of these free gifts when you subscribe! If these gifts run out, Ciaohu will substitute a different age-appropriate gift.

To subscribe, complete the form below. Email info@ciaohu.com if you have any questions.

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5.5 years old, Bilingual Journey, English Reading, Teaching Strategies

English Reading: Progressing to Chapter Books

Little Man made some nice progress in English reading lately. Thought I would share some notes on here for others who are supplementing English at home as well.

This is Part III of my English reading posts. Previous posts: How to Teach Phonics and English Reading: Road to Fluency.

After putting a halt to English reading for the last ten months to focus on Chinese, I’ve gradually introduced more English back into our lives. We live in the USA after all and English has always been my priority. Truth be told, I view Chinese as a second language and more “extracurricular”.

Little Man has strong reading ability in English but does not often choose to read. I have some friends who tell me their kids read for hours and hours with no prompting whatsoever. Lucky them! My son happens to be a very active boy with limited attention span for books. It’s not that he doesn’t like them, it’s that he would rather be doing something else.

Tip #1: Remove Distractions

My son used to have an hour of screen time in the morning. On the advice of some good friends, I cut out that screen time. I also stopped buying him as many toys as I used to. The effect of reducing screens and toys is… he now spends more time reading. Voila!

Tip #2: Read, Read, Read (duh!)

From the day my son was born, I followed the pediatrician recommended 20-30 mins reading to him every day. It was not until recently that I realized that is grossly insufficient! My new standard is doing what other successful parents do, aiming for 2-3 hours a day.

Tip #3: Build Good Habits

My son used to only read before bedtime and never at any other time during the day. Since reading this excellent post by Growing Hearts 123, I implemented reading 3x per day: when he wakes up in the morning, before afternoon snack, and bedtime. He quickly got used to his new routine, kids learn fast! My friend Julie @ Motherly Notes says it only takes 21 days for kids to develop a new habit.

I also got him a timer to keep track of his reading time. He absolutely loves this little timer from Daiso and uses it all the time. He wakes up in the morning and immediately sets the timer and starts reading.

We started a reading chart in June with a special treat every 1000 minutes he reads. He was really into it at first but now rarely remembers to color his squares. He is still reading >100 minutes a day, but doesn’t need the prize anymore!!!!! That is power of habit.

Tip #4: Illustrated Novels

Graphic novels (different from comics) and heavily-illustrated chapter books have turned out to be a good bridge for him towards text-only chapter books. It takes kids a while to develop the skills to comprehend longer and more complex plots, so having more pictures is helpful and of course fun to look at.

It also looks less intimidating. Many kids see a whole page of text and immediately freak out.

Little Man has been a big fan of Captain Underpants for a long time and he recently enjoyed Usborne illustrated books, Amulet (graphic novel), Boxcar Children (graphic novel), 13-Story Treehouse, etc.

Tip #5: Choices

I suggest you borrow from the library so you can try everything for free. I find that my son is not so good at selecting chapter books for himself at the library. Instead, I do a bit of googling to find out appropriate books and pre-select a few series I think he would like. It is much easier for him to choose from 2-4 options than the 1000 options at the library.

Note: I am often wrong about what my child might like. I thought he would love funny stories like Junie B. and My Weird School. Nope! Instead he likes stuff like Greek Myths and Bible stories. So try everything, even if you don’t think your kid will like it.

Tip #6: Audiobooks / Read Aloud

And finally, most important tip. The way to transition from illustrated chapter books to text-heavy chapter books is… read them to your kid. Be a salesperson! Sell the book! Suck them in! When I think back to all the books I loved as a kid, they were all “promoted” to me by others.

Highly recommend for all parents to read Jim Trelease’ The Read-Aloud Handbook. I’ve owned this book for a couple years and still gain so much every time I re-read it. In it he talks about how important it is to read chapter books to young children, starting from 3 or 4 years old, to train their listening skills. I wish I did more of this when he was younger.

True Story: Last week I got the A-Z Mysteries audiobooks to play in the car. After listening to it, my son is now zooming through the books, reading one every day.

The basic principle is, keep reading harder books to your kids and they will read harder books to themselves. I do this for Chinese as well.

Questions? Comments? You can leave me a message on Facebook or Instagram.