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I wanted to do a piece about the different types of magazines that are out there. I have a couple and I only bought the popular ones out there and honestly, it’s enough for my children to read on top of their books already! These are reading material I like to put in my purse for a quick read when we’re out or when we’re too tired to be reading hard bridge book material but want to get some reading in and I’ll whip these out. Plus, they’ve got enough science in them to introduce good terms. I’m happy with buying magazines. They’ve been a really worthy investment in their Chinese learning journey. I’ll split them up into the following:
Preschool to Kindergarten Level (ages 3-6):
- 星期八 – Weekday 8 – this one is out of print but it’s full of stories and some science (80-90% stories). Each story is about 600-1000 characters or less. If it does have comics, they’re short (one page) and it strives to do “some science” but the truth is, it’s mostly just cute stories.
- 小行星 – Asteroid Magazine – this one is by a popular publisher and it’s about 70% stories and 30% science. It’s a mimic of 星期八 above and the stories also are about 1000 characters in length or less. I feel like this was trying to replace #1 above. Again, minimal science but has lots of cute stories and EQ pieces.
- 新小小牛頓 – New Little Newton Magazines – This I would say is 100% science related magazine. They have a short story in the end of each magazine but it’s also a science related story. I need a more detailed review here: Book Review: 新小小牛頓 高幼版 + 南門書局寄到美國 unboxing of Nanmen Bookstore Package
- 康軒學習雜誌， Top945, 學前版 – Top945 Kindergarten Magazines – This is a mixture of science and stories. Stories are a good 1000-1500 characters and is great for that kindergartner getting ready for first grade. I would say it’s 50/50 based on stories, facts, and science.
- 巧連智學習版 – Qiaohu, Ciaohu Kindergarten Magazines – This is also a mixture of science and stories (50/50). It has comics inside and one long story towards the end of the magazine which also varies about 1000-1500 characters. It has a tilt in the beginning that teaches zhuyin. Otherwise, many articles on safety, health, science, school issues, EQ, etc.
#2 and #3 above are similar. I would really buy a few and test the waters with your children and see which type of writing they like more. There’s more variation in writing within Ciaohu due to comic style and different ways they present science. However, Top945 has many pop ups in their books or lift the flap which is very attractive to little kids. Both have their strengths. I love #1 because it’s all science and we find it way easier to read and understand than the science “books” out there made for children. The randomness of each article keeps the children’s attention span a lot better. I also like #2 and #3 for other than science topics. My kids like #2 and #3 equally. I think illustrations in Qiaohu/Ciaohu are slightly nicer though but a bit more cramped on the page sometimes. Ciaohu also has a lot more comics! If your kiddos are into comics, don’t hesitate to get these.
Lower Elementary Level
- 巧連智 小一 – Qiaohu, Ciaohu Grade 1 – These are slightly more lengthy than the kindergarten level magazines in the section above. Comics are longer and stories are slightly more advanced. I have also went in detail with these here: Book Review: 巧連智， 小一版裡面內容有什麼呢？ , Qiao Hu First Grade Magazines
- 巧連智 小二 – Qiaohu Ciaohu Grade 2 – These are again “slightly” more lengthy than #1 above.
- 康軒Top945 初階版 – Top945 Lower Elementary Level Magazines – These are much harder than #1 above and are on par with #2 above. Because it is mixed age, you’ll see it varies from article to article. Stories are set on a few pages with a lot more words.
- 未來兒童 – Future Children Lower Elementary Level Magazines – This is mixed grades and are again harder than #1 above. However, having said that, this one is my favorite out of all four because of the way it’s written. First of all, it has lengthier articles which means it takes the time to build up it’s point. Second, the illustrations are beautiful, sharp and very pleasing to the eye. The ratio of words to illustrations on the page is easy to maneuver. Third, it’s SUPER THICK, makes for a good reading and to bring about wherever you go so you don’t run out of stuff to read. Fourth, it has “current” events and “world news” which I love love love because it opens up the world of newspaper reading for the kids. Lastly, there are famous illustrators and authors writing for this one. Makes a difference when I read it. I like the flow. One thing though (for those moms that love CDs), you don’t get the audio file unless if you’re a subscriber in which then you can download the files. However, there are no CDs that come with the magazine. You must be a current subscriber. You can always listen to a current sample of their audio files online for the most recent issue! This way you can gauge whether you like the text. I think that at this age though, if they can read these, they may not need audio files anymore unless if you’re playing them in the car. They do overseas subscription by the way. Another plus is their worksheets are all online! https://junior.cwgv.com.tw/download_Learn.html#starttt
I really like all four magazines at this level for the kids but I think if you’re jumping from Kindergarten level magazines to elementary level, I would go with Qiaohu/Ciaohu first because it’s a friendlier jump than let’s say Top945 or Future Children. However, I love Future Children and I’m actually setting my heart out to collect them all because they are just well written and I like how they make each topic so “thorough”… I love the mix of everything from world events to stories to science and even their math involves a lot of logic based thinking. I even like the EQ comics that’s stuck in the middle of the book.
I split my videos up into the following:
Preschool – Kindergarten Level:
So I put these all on here for the sake of thoroughness. It doesn’t mean you should buy them all! It really depends on your child. Many people tell me they love Top945, others say their kids won’t touch it. It really depends on the child. I like exposing them to different articles, different ways stories are written or even different ways science is presented. The comics is an added bonus since most comic books sold in Taiwan don’t have zhuyin. All the ones in here have zhuyin. It’s a huge plus.
In general, I think magazines are great for learning science terms and real world terms that you don’t necessarily get in storybooks. It’s a great addition to our learning for many reasons. We don’t homeschool so I’m not as structured in how they learn “science”… but I do want them to know general terms and be able to have a conversation relating to these terms later and I think these science magazines really are a great introduction to those terms, if not, takes care of reading science books in Chinese. My kids have learned so many terms from just reading magazines and it’s actually “interesting” to them. We tried books that are only science and it gets really dense. A little at a time is great! The topics inside magazines are all very common knowledge too so I think they are a great investment.
If you have a chance to buy some used magazines, start there and test it out on your children. Then choose which subscription you want or you can do it like me and buy used magazines a year at a time. There are those that can be purchase one book at a time from Books.com.tw:
Buying link: 未來兒童
Buying link: 小行星