Ever since I solved the problem of using Chinese e-book apps to supplement our home reading problem, my three children have been reading far more frequently. It has come to the point where I cannot remember who read what, and what level books they are reading! This means I have a big problem tracking their reading proficiency progress!!
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Our reading habits at Mandarin Homeschool
On any given day, my three children will read two Chinese graded readers on the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app, picture books on Ellabook app or Kada Books app, physical readers such as Sage Basic Chinese 500, Odonata Readers. We also borrow books from Singapore National Library online, and also ebooks purchased from Amazon or Apple Books.
“The act of reading fuels greater proficiency in all language areas”
– Stephen Krashen, The Power of Reading
I truly believe that reading is the critical factor to all learning. If you can read, you can learn anything. So if you only have 10 or 15 minutes a day to spend on your child’s Mandarin Chinese, please pick up a book and read with them.
Why track your children’s reading progress?
Perhaps you only have one child, and you know exactly when, what and how they are reading. Lucky you! To be able to have that clarity! Well, for fellow homeschoolers like me, who have more than 1 children, this is a quick and useful way to
- Know what level they are reading at
- Helps you plan for the next stage of guided reading
- Ensure they are reading DAILY
- Makes you accountable for their reading
Bet you didn’t see the last one coming, did you? As a parent, unfortunately the responsibility of your child’s learning is highly dependent on you. So if you forget to read with them that day, you know, because it’s not recorded!
*Please note that in this scenario, I am tracking the children’s independent Mandarin Chinese reading skills, and not the books I am reading to them. The difference is I am tracking their reading proficiency.
What is Reading Proficiency?
Reading proficiency is more than just reading a book and reading the words out loud. There are people who can read Chinese words (especially with pinyin aid) and have no idea what the words mean.
Reading proficiency simply is
- Decoding skills that enable children to read a text
- meaning-making or comprehension skills that enable children to understand, engage and get involved with a piece of text.
(Definition from Financial Express)
Example: for the sentence 我们在一起看星星. A child will first, need to know that the language is Chinese, decode and process that sentence in Chinese, recognise that 我们 means we, 一起 means together, 看 means to see 星星 means star. And finally piece that information together meaningfully as “We are stargazing together.”
To facilitate reading proficiency, you have to do more than get your child/children to read. You also have to take time to explain the meaning of the words, brainstorm related words, give them associations, ask questions about the text, translate in English etc.
Chinese Reading Proficiency Record
Ok, so back to my original issue: not knowing what level, what book, where my children’s reading proficiency is at. To alleviate this problem, I have created this simple reading record booklet. Whenever the children have independently read a book, either with me, or by themselves, I note it down.
There are four columns:
- Date 日期
- Book Title 书名
- Level 等级
- Read independently 自己读
The last column is super useful to guide you on your future book selections for your child. For example, if you child is reading at the most basic level and not independent, you should stick to this level of a while. Also, re-read the book at a later day. Some children can repeatedly read the same books consecutively, some children might find it very boring.
How to use this Chinese Reading Proficiency Record to inform your home reading program
Here are three (very different) reading records of my three children.
Take Da Bao’s reading record as an example: He is currently reading independently at an intermediate stage. He is reading Sage Books Basic Chinese 500 , Odonata Reader level B/C on the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app. Rather than move up to the next level quickly, I prefer to broaden the leveled readers he read, so that he can build a stronger Chinese foundation.
Once a month, I will sit down with him, randomly pick books at his reading level, and simply listen to him read. It can be immensely rewarding for your child to be able to read to you. In return, perhaps he/she can pick a book of their choice and you can read to them!
Apart from tracking their reading level, checking the books they select can also gives me insight into their current interests and how I can use that to expand their Chinese learning. Subsequently, I can then find more interesting books for them to either read on these e-books app, or put them on my ever-growing Chinese books wishlist.
For books they find challenging to read on their own, I make a little mark next to the book to indicate that we should practise reading it again.
A surprising positive effect this has had on my children is that they want to read more to fill up the pages!
In the 5 months since I started keeping track, Da Bao (7YO) has read 111 books, Er Bao (5YO) 65 books and Xiao Bao (3.5YO) 178 books! (Xiao Bao’s books are easier, and she sometimes plow through 10 in one reading session)
If you scrutinise the records and look at what my children are reading, you see that the reading levels can jump up or down. I tend to go with the flow and read easier books if my children are feeling more restless than usual. There are also days where they are reading 10 books in one session. So generally, i don’t force them to read. I enforce a daily reading schedule. See the difference?
So there you have it. A simple, quick and effective way of tracking your child’s reading proficiency!
Where can I download this Chinese Reading Proficiency Record?
You can download this record for your personal use here. There are 20 entries per page, and by the end of the booklet, your child would have read 200 books!! The last column is for you to note if your child can read the book independently. I normally just put a tick in the column to indicate mastery. If they can’t, you should re-read it at some point.
*Printing tip: Select 2-sided, and short edge binding for the booklet. I’m terrible at remembering if it should be long edge binding or short edge binding! Hopefully I’ve saved you from making the mistake of wasting paper and ink.
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Want to know what books and apps we use to fast-track Chinese Reading Proficiency?
Here are our favourite Chinese ebook apps to fast track your children’s reading proficiency: Ellabook, Wawayaya JoyReader Pro, and Kada books.
Noy sure where you can purchase physical copies of Chinese books in Australia? This post has you covered. Want e-books, no problem, these are the best Chinese ebooks app you will need.