Set ISF email to notify new Homework Calendar postings (details on Portal).

Communicate with teachers about where to focus time.


If they don’t finish in a reasonable period of time, stop them and send a note through the planner or via email.

Outsource Chinese homework to tutors to avoid homework battles.

Do your own “homework” at the same time so it becomes a family activity together.

See Portal for list of Chinese math vocabulary words.

See Portal for list of all Grade 1 dictation words.

Portal Document Link




Make flashcards for dictation words.

Use the “look, say, cover, write” memorization technique.

Use www.archinese.com to generate writing worksheets (see Technology for more details).

Make pinyin flashcards with letter/vowel combinations to make words.

www.sinosplice.com – audio file for ipod with all the Chinese sounds.

Record tutor reading dictation words in order to better practice on nights with no tutor.

See Portal for notes from Renee Lam’s talk on reading / writing Chinese for more dictation techniques.

Tuttle learning Chinese characters (is for simplified but ideas can be adapted for traditional).


HKU students will come to you for $150 per hour, website for recruitment


Professional tutors available through language learning organizations, (e.g., Beijing Mandarin)

Communicate with teachers about where to focus time.

Put teacher in contact with tutor, (also useful for parent/teacher conferences).

Make it fun; relationships are important.

Listening and Understanding

Audio books, including idioms, jokes.

Tutor reads to them.

Storybook box sets with CDs/DVDs available from book fair and Commercial Press.

View favorite DVDs in Chinese audio; (subtitles in Chinese characters will also help with character recognition).

Playhouse Disney Channel can be set to Chinese audio.

Singing – CD’s of children’s songs.

CD’s with poems / classics chanted.


Reading, Character Recognition & Book reports

Ask teacher/librarian to recommend books (and audio books) from the library suitable to your child’s level / interest (reading).

Better Chinese & Greenfield graded readers (available from Commercial Press & Kings Press) are helpful for beginners; ask teacher if they can be used for book reports.

Parent book swap for 2nd hand readers.

Chinese “book tour” in HK (PTA organized with a leader and bus).

Magic wand translation books and pen.

“Long is the Dragon”—history of character writing for kids.


Technology (Useful Websites, Applications, etc.)

www.pleco.com – online dictionary; iphone app also available

www.archinese.com online, animated stroke order dictionary; can also generate writing worksheets for a small, annual subscription fee

www.mdgb.net – online dictionary and translation

www.archchinese.com (creates writing work sheets)

Google Translate (with caution)—but especially useful in translating homework assignments from portal; iphone app can also translate vocal recordings.

www.skritter.com – online “spaced” character recognition practice (subscription based).

Baomatch memory game for iphone/touch/pad.

Qingwen – (iphone app) Chinese dictionary translates English, Chinese, Pinyin.

e-stroke (ipad app) – great for stroke order and finding out what characters mean and what their pin yin is.

KTdict+ C-E (Chinese-English dictionary) for iphone/touch/pad.

www.pinyinjoe.com Chinese computing help desk

Word 7 pinyin on top of characters.

HAN ZI TONG (by GEP) CD-rom; (two boxes with 3 CDs each). Each CD has a different set up to learn characters.


Chinese in the summer – opportunities & ideas

Chinese math and reading comprehension workbooks available from Chinese bookstores (e.g., Commercial Press).

Jump start at the start of the school year or ISF summer school for two weeks after school.

Mandarin DVD’s (library).

CD’s for car/songs.

Skype conversation “dates” with your tutor.

www.echineselearning.com -online tutorial sessions.

Tutor in location you’re at – most university towns have Chinese students willing to tutor.

Chinese baby sitter.

Classes / ECA in Chinese (e.g., swimming, Shirley’s art house).

See PTA website for full listing of summer programs.