Thursday, January 7, 2010

Higher Chinese

We have been trying to inculcate a love of Chinese in our kids, which is no mean feat considering I can barely read a primary level Chinese textbook. Thankfully, despite our rather haphazard methods and many mistakes, Lesley-Anne has not developed an aversion to Chinese. In fact, she can even lay claim to having interest in the Chinese culture and language which is nothing short of a miracle, I think.

This interest will be of paramount importance to Lesley-Anne because *deep breath* she will be embarking on Higher Chinese in secondary school. It's a huge leap of faith for her, considering she didn't take it up in primary school (leaving a couple of our friends scratching their heads, thinking we're crazy). Let's just say, nothing ventured, nothing gained and if she truly can't cope with it, she can always choose to drop it later on. We're not putting pressure on her to ace the subject - as long as she can emerge from the experience with a greater love and appreciation for the language, I would consider the venture a success.

So anyway, we have been encouraging her to read more Chinese books over the holidays and as usual, interesting Chinese stories seem to be terribly hard to come by. After some trial and error, she found a series which was pretty interesting, so I decided to share it here, in case other parents face the same problem.

This is a book she found quite engaging. Once again, as per my previous observation with Totto-Chan and Les P'tite Poules, the interesting Chinese books tend to be those translated from another language. This is the Chinese version of Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien, a Newbery Medal award-winning book which tells the tale of Mrs Frisby, a widowed field mouse, who enlist the help of a group of former laboratory rats in rescuing her home from destruction by a farmer's plow. The rats had previously escaped from the laboratory and developed into a literate and technological society. Fascinating story.

According to Lesley-Anne, the other titles released by this publisher are also generally quite good. This is another she borrowed but has yet to read. It's originally in French but I couldn't figure out the name and author of the book. I think it's Reynard the Fox (which is a famous wily character in French folklore).

Lesley-Anne picked these books because she loves reading about animals but there are also other types of stories. Do check them out! I would place the reading level at about 11 to 13 years old.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting these, Mon. I need to look for Chinese books for my dd too. She's taking HCL as well.

Sue

The Chengs said...

LOL. My no.3 likes reading Chinese classics and stories with characters set in China. I can't really find suitable books in the library or bookstore for his age. I instead find them from 2nd-hand bookstalls. I always get really good finds.

Yve said...

Hi Monica. Thanks for sharing. Especially for the reassurance - we agreed for our daughter to also not take up higher Chinese in primary 5 even though she was offered.

It's so difficult to find good Chinese story books. They are usually about animals! And my kids don't really fancy reading about animals.

monlim said...

Sue: Congrats on the brave move! I thot you mentioned she wouldn't be taking it - a change of heart? But great to hear!

Cheng: Thanks for the rec though partly, I find it impossible to choose chinese books for my kids, so we usually end up in the library.

Yve: There are other titles in this series about kids, etc. I'm hoping HCL in sec school will be broader and more interesting than in primary school.

The Chengs said...

We'd also not let our elder boy (same age as LA) take HCL in p5/p6. But he actually doesn't have a choice and has to do HCL now, at least for year 1 & 2. Really crossing our fingers!

Elan said...

Dear Mon,
This is really helpful! I have to go and borrow these as my son liked the Rats of Nimh very much,and did his ERP report on it. How did you find them, through the catalogue or did you just browse the shelves and got lucky? When I go to the Chiense section, it is all a blur to me (remember I was taking CL1 in St Nicks)and the books are either too babyish or the print looks too small and difficult.
I have not managed to make my sons read a single Chinese book the whole holidays, we compromised on Doraemon comics!

monlim said...

Elan: Umm... when I say WE find the books in the library, I actually mean L-A finds the books in the library :P Like you, the chinese section is a blur to me, I've no idea how the shelving is done and which books are interesting. So L-A does her own selection of books. I think she got lucky with these!

monlim said...

Cheng: Good luck! I'm sure he'll cope fine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Mon. My P5 is also taking up HCL. We thought we could put in some effort during the sch holiday to improve chinese, but it seem that we have done nothing at all. :-P

Chris

monlim said...

Chris: Sigh... isn't that always the case? Time always flies by before we can get down to doing what we plan to do!

Anonymous said...

Me 3, achieve nothing during holiday except a good holiday. Still holiday mood...must get back to reality soon. :P

qx

monlim said...

Haha QX, don't worry, the year has just started, there's still time!

Elan said...

Me 4! We have done absolutely nothing except watch a few Chinese DVDs (is that counted?) and read a few pages of Doraemon comics (is that also counted?).....my younger son is P6.
We had a nice good holiday and I think that is important. I feel much better now hearing that we were not alone.

monlim said...

Elan: Of course chinese DVDs and Doraemon comics are counted! And you can always say you're well rested and ready to start the new year :)

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