This is a set of 300 little books ranging from 8 to 12 pages. There are three levels with 100 books a level. You can do them in any order you wish when you’re within the level and pick up characters from each book. Each level introduces a few hundred new characters as you read and gets repeated throughout the 100 books in different context. The stories are age appropriate for children up to six years old and if you’re going beyond that, the stories may not be too interesting but will serve as a good target for reading practice.
The great thing about this set is it’s audio pen. It not only reads the sentences on each page but you can single out each character on the page and have it just pronounce the character you do not know which is a huge plus for kids when moms are not around to read to them. They can still know how to pronounce each character. The audio is clear and they read each character slowly.
The author is the same author that wrote a couple sets for the Greenfield I Love Reading Series and Rainbow Series little books so you’ll see it’s quite similar except for the fact that there are a lot more practice reading and with topics that are specific to children. There are 100 books in each level which provides ample repetition and introduction of new vocabulary. She （and her co author )took FOUR years to write these books, yes… FOUR YEARS!!!
About Each Level:
There are three levels of difficulty and each comes with it’s own carry bag:
- Red – Beginner
- There are 525 characters in this level and 12 different categories or topics that they go over from everyday life like school or home or things that kids use to acquire that vocabulary to move forward to simple sentences.
- Most pages are like flashcards with a noun or a verb or a very easy phrase.
- 8 pages a book.
- Yellow – Intermediate
- There are 340 new characters over the Red Beginner series and 16 different topics like the red series.
- Pages now have short sentences and stories are a bit more developed. New characters are incorporated into the sentences and the focus now is more phrases, new verbs, etc. This is the transition to sentences.
- 8 pages a book.
- Green – Advanced
- There are 230 new characters over the previous two series and 6 different topics.
- Pages are now split into pictures on the left, and text on the right hand side with longer sentences or multiple sentences a page letting the children move to bridge book like format to practice reading for the next level and for them to be able to move on to a next level. Stories are even more developed and many with a little twist. They aren’t too predictable sometimes so kids six and below will find it interesting.
Why I like this set:
- Lots… lots… LOTS of repetition and practice!!! There are 100 books per level. For those people who keep complaining there aren’t enough material to practice on the same level, well, here’s your calling.
- I like the short little books. Easy for children to pay attention for at least 8 pages. I find that smaller children really hesitate or even run away when they see long books that they have to finish. However, 8 pages is not intimidating and easily digested five minutes at a time. In the end, they actually end up reading more pages than if you really did take out a book that was let’s say 20 pages to 40 pages long.
- They are small books easy to carry around.
- The topics in there are age appropriate and have topics that children can all relate to. I frequently find topics in other series that children cannot relate to and this one isn’t the case.
- Characters are nice and clear and big.
- I like the reading pen/ audio pen that they have. It’s a blessing not to have to fiddle around with CDs trying to find the right audio file for kids or reorganizing any audio file and just to be able to point and read! Saves time and don’t need to store the CDs or be afraid they’ll scratch, etc.
- They get to choose their own book! Since it’s all at the same level, there’s no harm in letting them have the power to choose their own book to read which gives them a sense of empowerment. Psychologically, I think it’s quite important. Other systems require you to follow through to the next lesson whether you find it interesting or not. Here, the kids kind of are tricked into thinking they chose something for fun. Since they’re books all at the same level, it shouldn’t matter what they choose. You should feel comforted that it wouldn’t be too hard.
From the Viewpoint of My Children
I had to test this set on my kids. Although they are beyond this set already, I still wanted to see how they felt about the books and what their feedback was. There was one thing in common which was really funny.
They all said the books were GREAT because they were SHORT! Ha!
My kids are six and four and I would assume you’d probably start with one of these ages or earlier so here you go:
How I Would Have Used This Set if It Came Out Five Years Ago!
- If your child is just starting out in Chinese, you’d start with the Red series. I would first take out books that relate to their everyday lives that they touch upon such as books on how to put on your clothes, shoes, or parts of the body or mealtime situations. The red series is like a set of flashcards with pictures above short nouns or very very short phrases signaling an action. It’s great to use to build up vocabulary.
- Make flashcards that go with the book so your child can review these words throughout the day. Better yet, if they are objects that are at home, tape them up at home and point to it throughout the day so they recognize those characters.
- You can start with one book a week or one book every two days to acquire new vocabulary depending on how fast they are absorbing. Some children are slower/faster than others due to prior exposure. It takes some getting used to memorizing characters so be patient.
- Use the vocabulary frequently throughout the week with your child in speech to get them used to the tones of the language.
- Read the new book at least twice a day (won’t take up much of your time).
- While you’re learning the Red Series, take out a book from the Yellow Series and just read it to your child for fun as a picture book a few times a week so they get used to sentence structure. Just nouns and verbs all day isn’t as interesting as learning how to put them together. I wouldn’t focus on if they know characters in the Yellow for now but simply using it as a picture book. At this time, also read other picture books that are not from this set so your child’s comprehension will build!
- Needless to say, move on to the Yellow and then the Green with the same steps. Once you’re on Yellow, then take out some Green to read. Flashcards now will involve characters they don’t know from reading.
- Have them pick out their own book a day. This is the fun part for kids. They have the power to choose! With other systems, they have to move on to the next chapter no matter what.
- For starting parents or beginning learners, I laid out an example of how “I” personally taught my kids using this method (utilizing regular picture books) and this is also how I would use the Red Set. However, every child is different and no method is superior than the other. Here’s the video on that:
Comparing with Sage?
I know everyone will ask me THIS question. Do I still need Sage? If I did Sage, will this still benefit? Is this the next step? How many words does it have that doesn’t overlap with Sage? OK OK OK I hear you! Let me try answering these questions. They are just my opinion:
- How many characters overlap with Sagebooks?
- Having a little curiosity, I took their given vocab list and singled it out and found that they actually had 1114 characters and not just 1000. Then I was curious and took the Sage 500 list and compared the vocabulary to see what you get on top of Sage Books in terms of the number of characters. You get 662 more characters than Sage but there are 45 characters in Sage that are not in this set.
- Many people use Sagebooks. Do I still need it if I’m doing this?
- Yes, many people use Sage but my answer will be up to your child. Some children respond to Sagebooks and others don’t so it depends on your child. Do you need any books to teach Chinese if you’re a native parent yourself? No but many parents like a whole system to help them schedule better each day and not have to think about what characters to teach. For me, if I had this set, I wouldn’t need Sage because there are enough overlapping characters for me to say I don’t need to repeat.
- We already did Sage, do we still need this?
- This has 662 more characters than Sagebooks so I would say, yes, it would still be beneficial to use this set! It has nice little short stories that Sage doesn’t have and it’s great to see full sentences used properly. Many times Sagebooks only gives a short phrase and the stories don’t really connect that well. Sage is like pages of flashcard phrases and occasionally pages would come together to tell a story. However, this set has a set story and theme in each book. It’s more of a picture book format so I find that kids have an easier time being interested for a longer period of time. Stories come with some required thinking from the child and offers a twist in each short book.
- One of the leading questions parents ask in our Motherly Notes Facebook Group is where to find easy readers for more practice after Sage. Well, here you go. There are 100 in each level for your child to go through over and over again until they are proficient, laid out in nice sentence format and storybook format.
- Please please please please tell me which 45 in Sage are not in this set….
- Ok, if you must ….
伯 勤 如 悄 搬 熱 田 街 連 低 危 姑 感 旗 燕 着 許 除 信 叔 娘 抹 木 父 祖 認 離 刷 哈 忙 拾 本 牙 终 請 鬧 勞 夜 急 搖 汗 班 處 謝 鴉
We will be having a flash sale on this set soon in our Motherly Notes Facebook Group. Please join in to know the details. It’ll be a first user discount. Here’s the company website of where to purchase:
Company Website: https://www.lelechinese.com.tw/index.php?action=nav