How to Elevate Reading Comprehension in Chinese (Age 5+) 如何提升閱讀理解能力

My biggest issue in having my girls advance in reading comprehension is … “comprehension.”

Ok, that sounds dumb.

It’s a pain explaining a phrase every single sentence and you really want to give up sometimes. It’s tedious during reading and the truth is, you’ve already lost the excitement of the story since you’re reading so slow.

Last month, if you told me that we’d be reading the Magic Tree House series with my five year old, I would said, “yah, good luck with that.” I never tried so I actually didn’t give her a fair chance.

My five year old was reading the English version from a while back and she loves the series. She’s so in love with that series that one day, she started to actually flip to the Chinese side for curiosity and then for phrases she didn’t know, she was flipping back and forth between the English and Chinese! She was translating stuff by flipping back and forth. Well, this took a while too.

Being a crazy mom (yes, I know who you are saying this), I went through the book and picked out some phrases or vocab that I thought she didn’t recognize the characters for OR phrases she hasn’t heard of OR idioms. Here’s a sample list below:

MagicTreeHouse Vocab Sample

The steps I took are these:

  1. Pick out the phrases you think will have trouble with, characters they don’t know how to read without zhuyin or phonetic help, and idioms and put them on a list. 首先把小朋友不會的生詞,字,還有成語先例出來。
  2. Go over these with your child as a quick 15-20 minute mini conversation talking about the meaning of each one. Don’t use too much time. Simply talk about each one and touch on it so that they can understand it within context when they do get to it. With the phrases that they already know but wasn’t sure about characters, just read over it once. The whole point is to keep the conversation fast and easy so they don’t get stressed and lose interest. 利用15-20分鐘來解釋上面的生詞。時間要短,不可複雜,盡量解釋得又簡單又清楚。只要小朋友能讀到然後讓他能理解句子意思就可以了。解釋越久對小朋友越痛苦,這樣會降低他們對閱讀的樂趣。
  3. Now start reading the chapters where you’ve prepared and talked over the phrases! When you get to the phrases, ask them if they remember what it meant? Do not get mad or stressed if they don’t remember!!! Simply remind them happily (as if you’re a dictionary and not judgmental). Then keep moving through the text. After several books, same phrases will repeat and you’ll have less and less phrases and vocab to write down. This is only our 8th chapter that I’ve worked through with her like this. 現在就可以開始讀你有準備好的那幾章。當你們碰到複習過的生詞,稍微提出來問問他們如何理解意思,如果不記得,沒關係,直接把意思說出來。不要責備,不要不開心。把自己當活人字典,不要用失望的眼光看著孩子。閱讀時光是快樂學習時光,不是一場戰爭。
  4. The next level up I wanted to challenge is character word recognition so I used a piece of paper to cover up the phonetic assistance. Works wonders. If you are doing this for your child while you’re not there to cover this up, you can use the post it tapes I posted here: Use This To Practice Reading Characters When You Can’t Find Better Books. 如果想挑戰自己的話,可以像我們一樣用一張紙把注音遮住,這樣識字能力也能提升。
  5. Read daily! 記得每天都要閱讀自己喜愛的書,這樣才能一直進步!

Here’s the video example of my five year old reading a chapter of Magic Tree House! You’ll see how I question her during and don’t make a fuss about it.

Please join our Facebook Group to get more tips from our Crazy Tiger Moms and Dads! 歡迎參加我們的臉書團,跟其他的瘋狂虎爸虎媽,一起教中文!

The above video is from my five year old.

The above video is from my three year old (almost four). Worked the same way.

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