Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to make Si Wu Kuai Du (四五快读) a fun experience

If you're reading this post, I guess you probably have read about the books of Si Wu Kuai Du (四五快读) or might have even bought the set. This set of books claim to enable the kids to start reading Chinese at the age of 4 or even younger, and many parents bought the set hoping to achieve this, however many of them do not know how to start using the books.

A brief introduction of the book (in case you don't know yet :P)
There are 7 books in a set. Kids learn simple and basic characters like 大(big), 小(small), 人(human), 头(head), 哭(cry), 笑(smile) in the first lesson. These words are easy to explain to the younger kids, and they form the basic of many sentences used in our daily life.
The books advance from basic words to simple nouns, terms and sentences. Example, kids learn to form short sentence in book one using the basic words they have learned:
In the above sentence, 鸟 and 羊 are easy to be remembered by the kids as kids tend to like animals, 小 and  地上 are introduced at the first two lessons, while 跑 is been used by the parents almost daily (don't you like to say 不要跑!haha!). So the word 在 might probably be new to the kid but this is one of the words that need not be explained and can be understood when you see them more often, example of other words are 的,和,是.

Kids get confidence when they are able to read the sentence, and they progress to read short stories in the books. One big success of the book is that it introduces words progressively and base on the frequency the words are commonly used.

So now that you have bought the books, how are you going to start?!

If you are teaching a primary school kid, you can probably let the kid read through the books lesson by lesson. But if you are teaching a pre-school kid, you might need to spend some time to make the lessons fun!

Let's look at what's on the first lesson:
There are 16 words been introduced in the first lesson in Book 1. On page 2, 6 nouns / adjectives been formed by using the words learned in page 1. On page 3, kid is to guess what the pictures are and their matching words. There are some explanation on how to explain the words in page 4.

My girl had learned the words in the Chinese Fun Classes where I was using the Er San Kuai Du (二三快读) which is more suitable for kids below 3 years old. So first lesson was not a problem to her. But she started to get bored when we were at lesson 3, where more words are new to her.

In order to get her interested in learning the words, I photocopied page 2 and 3 of each lesson and let her cut the words and pictures out and join them together. Kids at the age of 3 to 4 start to explore things around them including scissor, marker pen, eraser and even broom and mop. Many things which are common to us might be something interesting to them, and this is the time they improve on their motor skill.

My girl likes cutting paper very much, she is able to handle scissor very well now. If your kid is still unable to use scissor, you might consider cut the paper by yourself and let the kid do the pasting.

I let her paste the pictures on one side of the A4 paper:

She would find the matching words and paste it on the side of the picture.

There are some word cards  at the end of the books which you can cut them out to enhance your teaching. You may let the kid form sentences using those cards after the kid finished the first few lessons.

Once again I stress that the teaching and learning using this set of books should be fun and stress-free. Kids will only learn when they are interested in it, or else you are just wasting your time and money.

Some points on using the books:
1) Do not make your kid memorise the words, instead, you should explain each word to your kid in an interactive way. Refer here on how I make the lesson fun.
2) Relate the words to something the kid gets to see often as and when possible. E.g. 月 which resemblances the crescent moon, while 人 resemblances a human in a walking posture.
3) Do not use the word cards like the flash cards i.e. not to flash the cards to the kids to make them remember the words. Research has shown that hard memory is just temporary and will not last long.
4) You might add in some activities to enhance the learning experience, example like what I've mentioned above, let the kid cut and paste the picture and words, or it can be drawing or colouring the words.
5) Lastly,   please refer here on guidelines on teaching young kids Chinese language.

I hope this post is useful to you and brings some light to you on how to start your fun Chinese lessons :)

Do like my Facebook page "Learn The Fun Way" if you like this article and would like to get more updates :)

Development age: 4 years 1 month
(every kid learns on his or her own pace, this is just a milestone of my girl as a guideline)

List of my Chinese Fun Classes:
0) Guideline on teaching Chinese language
1) Basic lesson 1
2) Basic lesson 2
3) Basic lesson 3 
4) Chinese Fun Class: My body


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