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At the start of first grade or a mature kindergartner, you can start with some comics to develop confidence in non-zhuyin reading. This is a new set published starting in 2019 and my kids ARE IN LOVE WITH THIS. It’s got weird story lines, monsters, adventure, etc. It has two series: major cities and science. We love both. Major cities isn’t done in a boring way. They use realistic almost photograph like drawings of the cities in the background while they put the animations in the front which is kind of neat. The characters are cute but yet interesting.
The science series is done like a “why” series. Like why do cold things get stuck together and they use science to explain things while they’re telling a silly story in the book. The difference is these comics don’t give you one page of explanation after each section. most kids may skip those sections. Instead they work it into the story so that it’s incorporated into the story. So we mainly use this to just learn Chinese. My kids have read each book like 3 times. I think I’ve accomplished something with these. It didn’t bother them at all that it doesn’t have zhuyin which is a plus!
My only downside now is… waiting. There’s only 2 books out per series so far and as far as I know… Suncolor (the publisher) usually does 12-40 book sets! Oh, the waiting!