My First Chinese Reader iBook Review

We are nearing the end of kindergarten and Samantha’s first year of Mandarin.  I have been nothing short of floored by the progress her and her classmates have made.  Their accents are flawless, they read traditional characters, and they are no longer allowed to speak English in their Chinese classroom.  For most of the year, English to each other was tolerated, but no more.  And they don’t need it. And, since it’s my blog and I get to brag if I want, Samantha was chosen as one of eight students to participate in an LAUSD immersion language program conference.  They’ll be performing a lion dance and speaking a little to show how amazing the program is.  She’s a smartie.

As summer approaches though, I’ve been a little concerned she might lose ground. I’ve signed her up for a two week summer program in Chinese, and hopefully she’ll have some time to play with the older neighbor girl next door who speaks, but we have a crazy summer planned and I’m afraid she might lose some of it, especially compared to her classmates who speak Mandarin at home.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to test drive My First Chinese Reader iBook for our iPad.  It’s created by Better Chinese, the company that makes the online learning program Sammy uses in school. I love this learning tool.

Samantha loves the animated lessons which are like the ones she’s been seeing all year.  She also loves the review quizzes at the end of the lessons.  She does like getting things right. :)

What I love about it the most is the vocabulary section.  It’s something I’ve felt has been lacking this year, and I know it’s because that’s not how they’re teaching our kids Chinese, by having them memorize vocab words, but as a non-speaking parent, it really helps me out to know what words she’s picking up in the lessons.  I also love that there is a speaker button for each word, so I don’t butcher it trying to pronounce the pinyin.  It will be a way I can make sure she’s hearing correct Mandarin over the summer.

Since our school uses the online Better Chinese program, the lessons are all review for her at this point.  I think that’s fine to keep her skills up over the summer, but she’s not going to learn a lot of new material from this iBook.  It’s basic things like fruit, numbers, how to say your name, hello, and  goodbye, so older children may not be very interested in it. It is volume 1, and I imagine that means there are more volumes planned, however.

The other great thing is that Samantha enjoys it.  She wants to work with it every day.  And her sisters want to see too, so they’re being exposed to Mandarin.  They’ve already picked up a few words from Samantha, so I hope this will encourage them to learn some more.

If your child is in a Mandarin immersion program, I think this is a great learning tool to help them during the school year as well as keep them going in the summer.  It’s available at the iTunes store and is certainly something I’m glad I have.


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7 Responses to “My First Chinese Reader iBook Review”

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  1. Aliu says:

    Congratulations! You and Sean must be very proud of Sam’s progress. I’ll have to look into the iBook for C once she starts her Mandarin immersion program in the fall. Looks like they do have a month long summer school course which should also be helpful.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      Thanks, we are really pleased with the program and, of course, Sammy is gifted. :) It’s a really great program and I think you’ll like it. So exciting that C is starting kindergarten!

  2. Kristin
    Twitter: kristinglas

    Is there one in French? Cause that could aid my iPad campaign.
    Kristin´s last post ..Bloom Like A Sunflower

    • Jessica Anne says:

      This company doesn’t make one, I don’t think. I think they’re just Chinese. But there are a lot of language apps out there for iPads. We have quite a few others that we use. There are flashcards and writing and pronunciation. You absolutely would use the iPad for their language development. And nothing else. Nope, no other reason. Purely educational.

  3. Esther Lee says:

    I’m so glad that you like the app. The other 3 volumes are in the works, so I’ll be sure to let you know when they go live.

    We also have an app for middle/high school students that launched today called Discovering Chinese – iPad Edition. It’s actually the same lessons as My First Chinese Reader, but with illustrations that teens like. There are a lot more practices too. Let me know if you want to check this app out too. :)

    @aliu – at this point, we’re only focused on Chinese. we do have visions of being able to do other languages, but not at this point. will let you know if we are able to do french!

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