But when your child is in a language immersion school, and you don’t speak the target language at home, it can be doubly difficult (unless, of course, your child is enrolled in one of the local Chinese-language summer camps). What’s more, the very impressive Mandarin Immersion Parents Council in San Francisco has posted an illuminating essay emphasizing the importance of having reading materials accessible in your home to create a learning environment, which is not easy with few resources for Chinese books available in the area.
For parents whose children are learning Mandarin at school, a few events and websites can help keep up interest in Chinese over the summer (and all year):
In the Bay Area, the Foreign Language Enrichment Fair and Book Sale in Redwood City on July 24 seems like a good opportunity for story-telling in Mandarin (and other languages) and to purchase hard-to-find Chinese books for kids. For more information, see this website.
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The 5Qchannel has short videos with Chinese text telling several of China’s classic tales such as Monkey King, the Legend of Lady White Snake etc. This is a good way to keep up character recognition and listening comprehension when there is no teacher around.
During downtime at home, my five-year-old has also been entertained with Mandarin versions of The Magic School Bus which we found on YouKu, the Chinese version of YouTube. See links to several episodes here.