We often hear Singapore parents lament that their children are more interested and advanced in reading English story books compared to those in Chinese. As much as these parents believe in the importance of building their little ones' language foundation from a young age, they find it difficult to inspire and ignite their children's interest in reading Chinese story books.
Here are our 5 top tips that will let your child fall in love with reading Chinese story books!
Top Tip #1 - Pick the right book
In Singapore, children's picture books are often misunderstood by adults as "books for babies". Great picture books can tell just as much story through the illustrations and offer the opportunity of expanding young minds through poetic language, fun alliteration and advanced vocabulary. Children are encouraged to observe, predict and infer, which in turn, help develop their creativity, critical thinking and language skills.
Not sure how to pick the right books for your child? Check out our blog regularly as we often share recommended book titles for the convenience of Singapore parents!
Top Tip #2 - Read with Your Child
When children are young and have limited grasp of the language, parents play a significant role in developing their reading habits and interest by reading with them. Having a parent-child reading routine helps ensure your child is exposed to the language every day and the benefits are far-reaching.
Top Tip #3 - Reading is NOT a Test
Some parents are easily anxious over making their children learn new words after reading each book. Children absorb and imitate adults easily, so rest assured that they will be able to recall the words gradually after they've built up their vocabulary list. Instead of testing your little one the individual words in a book, why not make reading engaging by adopting the following approaches?
Top Tip #4 - Use a Variety of Reading Aids
You can also think about interesting and related activities to follow up with reading sessions, such as using props to encourage your little one to storytell, or story cards/flash cards that can help reinforce key concepts and vocabulary. You can also extend your child's learning by reading with him/her other books related to the theme, or even take him/her out to places that are related to the story's theme (e.g. nature parks, historical monuments, zoo, interesting local architecture and more).
Top Tip #5 - Participate in Story Events & Programmes
Participating in story events & programmes provide your little one with the opportunity to immerse in an authentic learning environment under the guidance of professional storytellers and educators. These fun-packed events are typically highly interactive, which means your little one will have the chance to express himself/herself in a social setting outside his/her comfort zone. This helps build your little one's confidence in speaking the Chinese Language, which in turn, serves as a source of encouragement and motivation for him/her to continue using the language. Dandelion organises interactive storytelling sessions & holiday camps regularly, and participants will receive our thematic story packs that contain a hand-picked story book and a wealth of complementary resources!
Poor translation and wrong use of Chinese New Year greetings in some of the shopping malls in Singapore have drawn flak on social media recently. As CNY approaches, this is a great opportunity to not only teach your little one some basic greetings, but also let them understand the meaning behind these greetings, so that they know how to use them appropriately!
To do this, first, let your little one correctly identify all the relatives that he/she is going to meet this CNY. We often hear children in Singapore simply addressing the grown-ups as "Uncle" or "Auntie", which does not truly reflect the more accurate (and also more complicated) family naming system in Chinese culture.
Adding on to the chart above, there are also the cousins --- 堂哥、堂姐、堂弟 and 堂妹 refer to cousins on the paternal side, while 表哥、表姐、表弟 and 表妹 refer to cousins on the maternal side.
Next, teach your child these 8 basic CNY greetings that can be used during the 拜年 rounds. Explain to your child the meaning of these greetings, and to whom they can consider using these greetings on.
For instance, 身体健康 can be used on grandparents, while 恭喜发财 can be used on adult relatives who are running businesses, or on adults generally. 步步高升 can be used on adults who have already started working, and can also be used on cousins who are schooling. 青春美丽 can be used to wish female teenage or adult cousins, and your little one will surely receive a HUGE smile/hug/ang bao in return!
Lastly, for a little hands-on activity, cut out the CNY greetings and the pictorial flash cards below, and encourage your child to match the appropriate CNY greeting(s) to each relative. Repeat this a few times, and your child is ready to go 拜年！
Download our CNY greetings and Family Pictorial Flash Cards here.
Check out our CNY recommended picture book titles here.
Get your CNY story pack and have fun bonding with your child now!
Chinese New Year is almost here! In Singapore, we love our bak kwa and pineapple tarts, and also the mandatory CNY shopping at Chinatown's CNY Bazaar. As you soak in the festivities over this last weekend leading to CNY, why not read with your child too, & immerse in the rich traditions associated with CNY!
Click on any image below to purchase the recommended titles at Maha Yu Yi online bookstore~~~
This picture book is suitable for children aged 4 and above. The little ones will learn about the story of the Chinese zodiac through the vivid illustrations and simple to understand text. There are also interactive games and activities at the end of the book!
This book tells the traditional tale of Nian, the legendary monster that returns each year at Chinese New Year to feast on human beings. We especially adore the beautiful illustrations of this version, which makes the characters in the story come alive. Here's a video preview of the book!
If your child is already familiar with the traditional tale of Nian, then this is a must-have! The author cum illustrator 熊亮 is an extremely renowned Chinese picture book maestro. This heartwarming story is a re-imagined version of the story of Nian, in which Nian is a misunderstood and lonely creature who just wants to make friends and have some company during Chinese New Year.
Elena travels to Beijing to celebrate CNY with her grandparents, and meet a lion there. They started talking about CNY customs, and Elena shares with the lion her favourite CNY dishes and activities. There are also step-by-step instructions on how to make a pop-up CNY card, and also a paper cutting activity.
Through colourful stories about Chinese New Year customs (do you know about keeping vigil on New Year's eve and how that relates to grandma?) and hands-on activities like Chinese paper-cut crafts and old-school paper dolls (remember them from the '60s & '70s?), this locally authored book is brimming with activities that will definitely keep your little one happily busy!
This book belongs to a set of picture books that cover 12 Chinese traditional festivals, including CNY, Ching Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Winter Solstice and more. It has HYPY, which makes it a more manageable read for younger children.
And if you still have not purchased our CNY Story Pack, which consists of 1 handpicked CNY-themed storybook, 1 sticker activity book and loads of complementary activities both online and offline, visit our online store now!
It is so important to read books with your kids, even to babies! Start as early as possible and your child will learn the joy of discovering new worlds through books.
Board books really are excellent for babies. They are usually condensed and just the right length for their short attention spans. The pages are also fat and easier for them to hold and turn.
Board books are genuinely easy for babies to hold even when they are very young. Let your little one play with his/her books. It will teach him/her that books are just as much fun as toys!
Here are some of our favourite Chinese board books!
We love this series of cut-out board books for their vivid colours and simple text. Have fun playing guessing games with your little one using these board books! They are sure to become one of your child's favourite bedtime book!
In conjunction with the launch of our CNY story pack《十二生肖谁第一》, we held 2 storytelling cum craft sessions at Maha Yu Yi Book Store (Singapore's largest Chinese children's book store) last weekend! The turnout was awesome and we had a great deal of fun!
We were immensely delighted to hear ooohs and aaahs from the little ones when they opened up their CNY story pack, which were brimming with exciting post-reading activities to let them learn more about the Chinese zodiac, as well as to understand more about Chinese culture and traditions.
After an interactive storytelling session led by our founder, Miss Liang Huiyu, the children completed their first activity (out of the five activities suggested in total) --- making their very own Chinese Zodiac Wheel! Then, using the wheel, they shared what their zodiac animals were, and earned themselves their very first sticker badge on their Dandelion literary log!
Parents were encouraged to complete the other story-related activities with their little ones back at home, and to fully utilize the complementary online resources that came with their story pack too!
We look forward to seeing everyone soon at our next storytelling session & story pack launch!