I rarely rarely rarely recommend web apps, tv programs or online learning… until now. This site was brought to our group’s attention by Vincent B. so I really really have to thank him for finding this terrific website. Vincent B. is a dad who spent hours and hours creating workbooks for his dear daughter to learn Chinese in like a million dialects! Then the found: Little Fox Chinese
What it has:
- Five levels of practice readers! Each level has a couple themes and each theme has anywhere from 10-30 story readers!!!
- A cartoon animation for EACH story and reader with subtitles and native speaker reading the text. The menus on the right bottom corner gives you the option to turn on or off subtitles. The subtitles light up as it reads the story.
- A vocabulary list for each reader where you can hear the pronunciation, view the meaning in english or you could hide it, see it in a sentence, and have pinyin or not. These are all controlled by the button selections up above.
- You can even print out a script of the entire story with or WITHOUT translations in English:
- Another CRAZY feature is you can print out the story in PDF with pictures for your child to read as a reader!!!!
- You can take a quiz to test your listening skills to see if you understand what is being said.
- You can also download an MP3 of the story to listen in the car or with the print out book if you don’t want to view the cartoon on the screen.
- You can play a game with the words and match it to the English meaning.
This is by FAR the most comprehensive system I have found online and it allows you to engage in visual and auditory learning. The cartoons are “slow” and are not like normal cartoons of flashing images. The levels are impressive. I would say it goes from having no background all the way to a solid first grade level in China in terms of vocabulary and comprehension.
There’s also a section on songs on their site where they made up words to popular tunes such as Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, London Bridge, etc. but put in Chinese lyrics to it. You can again, press on the vocab button for any of these songs and see the vocabulary. The subtitles light up as the song is singing as well.
Cost: FREEEEEEEEEE (so far)
Here are the examples of the Leveled Readers:
Level 3 (starts to drop off pinyin):
Level 4 (longer stories with no pinyin):
Level 5 (harder phrases with no pinyin):
I am pretty much blown away by how much stuff is on here and I’m here just praying that it’ll stay free but what’s the chance of that? The site also has many introductory videos on teaching pinyin and simple words.
Right now, it’s all simplified Chinese but who knows what they will do in the future?
Some criticism or not: games are played asking you to match words with their “english meanings”… this is the one part that maybe native families may not like since the full immersion experience does not need English. However, I find it extremely helpful for non-native families! One thing to note then is that to do the games, you must need to know how to read English. Otherwise, you can just do the quizzes for the reader where it’s listen and match the answer to the pictures. I love how they involved all ages on the games and quizzes.