Disclosure: I’ve been asked to write a review on BrillKids Little Reader Chinese and I have a copy of the full curriculum to give away to one reader for free. Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post. This is my honest opinion on the curriculum.
Some time back I wrote a review about Little Reader. Today, I will be writing about Little Reader Chinese…
Little Reader Chinese runs on the same award-winning software program that runs Little Reader. By purchasing the Chinese curriculum, you can get up to 12 months worth of lessons cover 334 categories containing 3576 words, 2768 images, 5232 pronunciation files, 1138 picture audio and sound effects, and over 520 video clips. Just like Little Reader, Little Reader Chinese lessons comes with 3 professionally recorded voices, 3-5 quality images, 2-4 picture audio (word commentaries or sound effects), videos to better illustrate certain categories, such as animals and action words, and stories.
Little Reader Chinese is recorded in Mandarin and is available in traditional and simplified Chinese. Children will learn the pronunciation and written characters for a variety of words, sentences, and short stories. The lessons also includes a phonics component which teaches them how to read pinyin and to differentiate between the four tones.
At the end of this review, I will let you know how you can get a chance to win the Little Reader Chinese Curriculum for free. (Note: You will need to have the Little Reader software in order to use the Little Reader Chinese Curriculum).
Why We Chose Little Reader Chinese
I’ve always wanted my sons to learn Chinese. The problem is that I speak a very limited handful of words (with very poor pronunciation at that) and I can’t read or write Chinese. Although there are lots of Chinese flash cards available for sale, I couldn’t use those because I can’t read pinyin either.
My parents mistakenly believed that if they tried to teach my brother and I more than one language, we would get confused. They always assumed we could pick it up once we were older. Unfortunately, that never happened. Well, since then my brother’s fared better after spending a year working in Taiwan and then later in Beijing. Now that his wife also speaks Mandarin, he has all the opportunity to hone his Chinese speaking skills. I, on the other hand, have progressed no further beyond “Ni hao” and “xia xia”.
So Little Reader Chinese was my hope to bring Mandarin to my sons…
Our Experience with Little Reader Chinese
Strangely, despite the success we had with Little Reader, I can’t say the same for Little Reader Chinese. The problem wasn’t the program itself, but the language, ironically.
By the time I got my hot little hands on Little Reader Chinese, Aristotle was nearly three years old. Although he was past the age of being a citizen of the world and long past the first year of being a linguistic genius, I figured it was still worth a shot since I had the program. Unfortunately, he would have none of it. He resisted lessons and would cover his ears when I tried to offer him lessons.
It wasn’t just with Little Reader Chinese. I noticed it in Heguru class, too. Whenever the sensei read out the Chinese flash cards, he would cover his ears and refused to listen. Why didn’t he want to learn Chinese? I’m afraid I haven’t figured it out yet.
I figured that if I couldn’t get Aristotle to learn willingly, he might develop an interest if he saw Hercules learning the language. We did pretty well with Hercules initially. I would show him Little Reader Chinese lessons alongside his Little Reader and Little Math lessons. After a while, I noticed he was getting restless particularly during the Little Reader Chinese lessons. I thought perhaps the sessions were too long, but no matter how I arranged it, it was clear that he wasn’t as interested in his Little Reader Chinese lessons as he was in Little Reader or Little Math (his all time favourite). Eventually, indifference shifted to disinterest and he would wriggle out of my arms and move to another part of the room the moment the Chinese lessons began. He would only come back to me if I changed the lessons to Little Reader English or Little Math.
It was clear that both of my boys seem to have a negative reaction to Chinese. Although there are times when I wondered if it was Aristotle’s negative reaction towards the language that rubbed off on Hercules through one of those unspoken connection that siblings have with each other. I know it was Aristotle’s love for books that helped his brother catch on to the wonder of reading so it isn’t so hard to imagine that negativities rub off, too.
Do You Need to Know Chinese to Use Little Reader Chinese?
Obviously you don’t but I do think it helps if you do because you can reinforce what your child is learning throughout the day if you can speak Mandarin. That said, there are BrillKid members who have had better success than I have had in teaching their children Chinese without having any Chinese background themselves.
What Do I Think of Little Reader Chinese
We love Little Reader and we had a lot of success with it. I was hopeful to have the same results with Little Reader Chinese but it would appear that my lack of success is not due to any failing of the program but rather some intrinsic opposition from my sons towards the language itself. I am still hopely to teach them Mandarin in time to come and will be using Little Reader Chinese to supplement our lessons when they are older and better able to understand the value of understanding a second language. I believe that Little Reader Chinese can offer non-speaking parents the opportunity to teach their children Mandarin. It is an excellent resource for all parents (Mandarin-speaking and non-Mandarin-speaking alike) for teaching children to read and speak Mandarin.
Little Reader Chinese Curriculum Giveaway (Update: This Giveaway is Closed!)
If you would like to be part of the lucky draw to get the Little Reader Chinese Curriculum for free, here’s the deal:
1. Sign up for our free newsletter (gives you another entry)
2. Like us on Facebook (gives you another entry)
3. Like BrillKids on Facebook (gives you another entry)
4. Follow BrillKids on Twitter (gives you another entry)
5. Tweet about this giveaway and let me know – @figur8 (get another entry)
6. Share this on Facebook (get another entry)
7. Leave a comment for each of the above that you have done so I know how many entries you should get (if you are already subscribed to my newsletter, following Figur8, following BrillKids, etc. you automatically qualify – just leave a comment to let me know you want to enter the draw).
There will be only one winner. The winner will be announced on Friday 9 December 2011 – that’s one week away so get your entries in now!
NB: If you do not own the BrillKids Little Reader software, you will need to purchase it to use the Little Reader Chinese curriculum. You can get 10% off your purchase if you use this Discount Code: BKAFF36716.
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