Though I have plans to do a Sagebook-like thing after 500 characters, I’m currently researching Greenfield to see what books they have and put together a group order. Unfortunately, their website is super hard to navigate. So here I am writing a summary so it makes sense to me.
Greenfield has a “system” for learning Chinese for overseas students, based on the whole language system. Makes sense since Chinese is all sight words. They break it down into 5 steps; and I added 2 more after you learn how to read.
*K = Kindergarten (K1=3, K2=4, K3=5yr), P = Elementary, M = Middle School, H = High school
- 兒歌 Nursery Songs – 0-5 years old
- 全語文閱讀 Whole language reading – 3-7 years old / K1-P1
- 構字規律 Character composition rules – 6-8 years old
- 心裡詞彙 – Building vocabulary – 6-8 years old
- 分享研討 – Reading Comprehension – 6-14 years old / P1-M1
- Reading for Fun
- Writing Series
What helped me understand the system was also looking at their catalogue, which gives you the grade level.
The Quick Summary
After Sagebooks, look to the I Can Read Series for young kids. Maybe the Reading Rainbow Series for older kids. Other sets are available as more reading material. But these two series are graded so probably a good series to use as a curriculum. I’m also planning to get their writing books.
兒歌 Nursery Songs
I won’t go into it here because this is not the stage I’m in. The basic premise is that you start learning a language through songs. Makes sense. Research has shown that. Here is the link to their explanation and even if you don’t read Chinese, you can see the 2 links on the website which shows you images of the books. But, there’s no pinyin with the books. So not useful for non-Chinese speakers.
These are for your 0-5 year olds. Or for heritage parents, maybe 0-3?
全語文閱讀 Whole language reading
Greenfield has 3 different series. The I Love to Read Series is probably the most complete as it’s graded and used by overseas Chinese programs. It looks like I Can Read and Magic Box are more geared toward 3-6 year olds.
- 我愛讀 I Love to Read (K1-K3)
- 魔術盒 Magic Box (K1-K3)
- 我自己會讀 I Can Read (K2-1st)
The 我自己會讀 I Can Read Series covers 840 characters and 1600 words. The series is graded into 8 sets, each set with 12 books for a total of 96 “stories”. The sets are 紅橙黃綠青藍紫 彩虹 (red, orange, yellow, green, torquiest, blue, purple, rainbow). 紅橙黃綠青 (first 5 sets) are K2-K3, 青藍紫 (last 3 sets) are K3-1st grade. Each book is about 8 pages I think.
我自己會讀 I Can Read Series
The 我愛讀 I Love To Read Series has 3 sets, each set is graded for K1-K3. Each set has 12 books for a total of 36. 300 characters and 416 words are covered in the complete series. This set appears to be more of a set you use once you learn how to read.
我愛讀 I Love To Read Series
The 魔術盒 Magic Box Series is another set that is similar to the I Can Read Set. Each set has 12 books. There are 7 sets for a total of 84 books. The first 4 sets are for P1-P2 and the second 3 for P2-P3 grades.
魔術盒 Magic Box Series
構字規律 Character composition rules
After you learn to read, the next step is to learn how about radicals and character components. This helps with learning new characters. Greenfield has two sets of books to learn components and radicals through stories and songs. 誦詩識字 (P1-P2)
- 誦詩識字練習 (P1-P2)
Each grade has 2 books for a total of 4. From the sample pages, this is not something I would get because the text was very specific to Hong Kong.
青田兒歌圖典 Nursery Song Picture Dictionary
This set has 8 books for a total of 871 songs. It introduces 172 radicals. The interesting thing about this book is that they put in tone marks ONLY.
心裡詞彙 – Building vocabulary
After you learn the basic radicals and component rules, this step is for learning a lot of characters in a quick way. It uses the book 綜合高效識字 / Efficient Character Recognition. The 2 books have 30 songs and about 800 characters/words. I think they emphasize character components in these books.
分享研討 – Reading Comprehension and Writing
After you learn to read, you have to practice writing and reading comprehension between 1st and 6th grade. There are various sets to focus on this. Probably I would get the Reading Rainbow series since it’s graded and it looks like each story is only 3-4 pages long.
- 愉快閱讀系列 Joyful reading Series (P1-P4)
- 彩虹閱讀系列 Reading Rainbow Series (P1-M1)
The Joyful reading Series 愉快閱讀系列 is basically chapter books. The books are split into 紅橙黃綠 (red, orange, yellow, green) levels corresponding to grade level. Four books in P1 and P2 and 3 books each in P3 and P4 for a total of 14 books. This series appears to be focused more on reading. Whereas the next set on comprehension.
愉快閱讀系列 Joyful reading Series
The series for reading comprehension is 彩虹閱讀系列。 The books are split into 紅橙黃綠青藍紫 (red, orange, yellow, green, tortoise, blue, purple) levels, each level denoting grades 1st to 7th. Each level with 4 books for a total of 28 books. Here’s a blog post of someone with more pics. It looks like it’s definitely graded and has more and more texts the higher you go.
彩虹閱讀系列 Reading Rainbow Series
Reading for Fun
Greenfield also has some books for reading once you know enough characters. It doesn’t say how many characters you need in order to read these books though. And I don’t think it has pinyin. So again, not necessarily something I would buy I think. The’ve got other sets I’m not documenting here.
- Lulu’s Notes 圓露露手記 – P3-P4 5 books total
- Little Cow Series 小母牛系列 – P4-P6 6 books total
- My Childhood Series 同鄉集 – P4-P6 4 books total, bilingual
Lastly they have a writing series. I couldn’t find the first series in taiwanese bookstores so I’m actually very tempted to get it here!
- 來玩寫作的遊戲 Let’s Play Writing Games. P1-P3
- 語文動動腦 Language Brain Teasers P1-M1
- 豆豆學說話 Do Do Learns to Speak M1-H1 (Middle to High School)
來玩寫作的遊戲 Let’s Play Writing Games has 3 books. Book 1 is P1-P2. It teaches how to compose sentences, writing stories based on pictures, writing diaries, observations, etc. Basically your beginning writing class.
Book 2 is for P2-P3 where you practice writing by writing letters, diaries, observations, etc.
Book 3 is for P3-P4 where children write about their daily lives.
語文動動腦 Language Brain Teasers is once again a graded series meant as a supplement tool for writing. It asks questions that have no right answers. For example, in this one below it asks the child to look at the each picture and give at least 4 hypothesis. I’m assuming for example, it’s a way to make the children think about what story they could write.
豆豆學說話 Do Do Learns to Speak seems akin to creative writing; it asks the child to start from normal conversational speech and their daily lives to find writing topics.
I found some blog posts to books inside pages of some of reading books. It’s worth a read basically you see a lot of books found in the Hong Kong Book Fair: