Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tips for Learning and Assessing ㄅㄆㄇㄈ

Wondering where to start on the road to literacy in Chinese?  Most foreign language teachers* would agree that learning a pronunication guide such as ㄅㄆㄇㄈ is a great first step.  Learning these "letters" can be done in conjunction with introducing phrases and basic nouns/verbs.  Learning words and phrases gives your child immediate joy in learning the language and the pronunciation guide will set him/her up for long term success.

While taking steps to teach  ㄅㄆㄇㄈ, it is important to periodically assess progress.  This will allow both you and your child to see that mastery of the material is progressing and also allow you to assess the methods of how you are teaching.  If, after assessing, you determine that the material is not being remembered, ask what is inhibiting retention of the material.  Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're not sure how to modify the lessons.  Keep in mind that there are many people around who would love to help, IF you know where to look for them.  Check out the "Where Do I Start?" page to get ideas about resources.  AND remember that you don't have to limit your conversations to people who teach/know Chinese; you can often get wonderful ideas from kindergarten teachers who are very knowledgeable about teaching literacy or foreign language teachers at local high schools.

*Here's the research to back it up!  Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language:  Theories and Application, edited by Michael E. Everson and Yun Xiao; see specifically Chapter 5.

Assessing Knowledge of ㄅㄆㄇㄈ  Letter/Sound Correspondence-  Below is a chart of the individual ㄅㄆㄇㄈ  letters.  Print out the chart, and ask you child to point to any sound and then tell you what the sound is.  Put a sticker/stamp/etc. next to each sound they correctly identify.  Now you know which sounds your child needs the most help reviewing!

My kids loved this chart because they could tangibly "see" their progress as they added more and more stickers every week.  This chart also helped me remember which letters needed to be practiced so that they didn't forget the letters.  Since I have two kids, sometimes a simple worksheet like this can be handy when the kids aren't learning at equal rates.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea, great blog! I learned Bo po mo fo in Saturday school decades ago and never thought I would be revisiting this. Was debating even needing it since the schools all seem to use pinyin, but I think you convinced me.