Mandarin Tools Recommendations

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My First Chinese Words

My First Chinese Words is an award-winning series used in immersion schools all over the US and abroad. These books and CDs (available in traditional or simplified Chinese) are designed to help children learn Chinese as a second language. Created by education experts, this kit includes 36 books with colorful illustrations and an audio CD to keep your child interested. Geared mainly for children ages 3 to 7, the My First Chinese Words helps children get a great start in recognizing basic Chinese characters and sentence patterns.

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Get Talking Chinese

 This fantastic instructional book is so easy on the eyes — lots of pictures, tidbits about Chinese culture, and graphics! Get Talking Chinese is a great way to start learning the language on your own! It covers it all – spoken language and written language — in a clear and digestible manner. The pronunciation guide to pinyin is indispensable — especially if you are just starting out! The book does not stop just at pinyin either — it covers many important characters as well.  BONUS: the book comes with a CD that helps guide you throughout the book!


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Follow Jade! Learn Chinese

Follow Jade! Learn Chinese is an award-winning series that teaches basic Mandarin Chinese through Jade’s engaging and interactive teaching style. Although the DVD is a low-budget production, young children will learn basic, age-appropriate vocabulary such as fruits, animals, body parts, action verbs, and more. Key vocabulary words are shown on screen with pinyin and each section completes with a quiz to enhance learning.  The last section has children singing songs – some of which have just have a few Chinese words in them and others are all Chinese. If your child likes this DVD, there are two more in the series for you to check out!

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Play & Learn Chinese with Mei Mei

While Play & Learn Chinese with Mei Mei is very low-budget, this DVD is quite effective in teaching young children Chinese. It is led by Mei Mei, a middle aged Chinese teacher who sings and dances with real children throughout the video. Most children seem mesmerized by Mei Mei. She uses a method called TPR (Total Physical Response) which combines learning with movement to make  information stick in a child’s mind. If your child enjoys this DVD, there are nine more in the series.


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Baby Learns Chinese

The teletubby-like creatures in the Baby Learns Chinese DVD will keep your children entertained as they learn 50 words in Chinese. The fun songs and brightly colored animation cover basic topics such as Body, Counting, Colors and Shapes in Mandarin.  The Chinese characters that appear on the screen are bright and big – encouraging the children viewing to pay attention to them and their meaning. Included is a lyrics booklet included so that mom or dad can sing along! If your child enjoys this DVD, there are 10 others available from this company.

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Little Pim Chinese (3-Pak, Vol. 1)

Little Pim Chinese (3-Pak, Vol. 1) is a popular series designed specifically for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. This award-winning program was created by Julia Pimsleur Levine, daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, creator of the best-selling foreign language learning method. Each thirty-five minute DVD contains seven five-minute episodes and introduces over 60 words and phrases using both footage of children and Pim, an animated panda. This DVD is in Mandarin Chinese only, with English subtitles that can be turned on or off. If your child enjoys these DVDs (there are 3 in this set, but you can buy them individually as well) there are several other Little Pim DVDs in Mandarin available. The disks can be played on any DVD player.



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Speak & Read Chinese: Speech & Drama is a 3-DVD program designed to help your child to read more than 800 words and also speak Mandarin confidently. This program contains separate lessons for both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. This effective flashcard learning program utilizes bright, beautiful, and professionally shot still pictures, cheerful background music, large bold and colorful simplified Chinese characters displayed prominently on the screen, perfected with accurate pronunciation. This set includes 20 stories, 10 flashcard lessons, and 1 Chinese poem. The informative website for the company has links to the full story transcripts in English and Chinese. The DVDs can be played on any DVD player.

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Chinese for Kids: Flash Cards

The Chinese for Kids: Flash Cards set comes with 64 flashcards packed with information to help you and your child get a good start on character memorization. Available in both simplified and traditional character editions these large laminated cards are an excellent complement to your Mandarin studies. Each card contains, Chinese character, pronunciation, illustration, root information, sample sentences, and writing order of characters. TWO BONUS ITEMS INCLUDED: Audio CD with Chinese songs, native pronunciation and sample sentences and a poster about colors in Chinese. If you like this set, this company has another edition that introduces 64 new words.


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Teach Me Everyday Chinese

Teach Me Everyday Chinese is a 32-page brilliantly illustrated book with companion audio CD that makes learning Chinese fun and easy! The book covers basic vocabulary such as numbers, colors and the days of the week using lots of pictures that appeal to children. The 25 minute CD includes classic songs such as “The More We Get Together” both in English and Chinese so that children can easily make the connection between the words in both languages. If you like this book and CD, there is another edition available as well.

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Little Pim Chinese Word and Phrase Cards

Little Pim Chinese Word and Phrase Cards are beautifully illustrated and introduce 60 words and phrases from DVDs 1, 2, and 3. One side of each card features a picture representation of the vocabulary centered around the lovable Little Pim, while the other side includes user-friendly Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. The cards can be used to on their own or as a supplement to the award-winning DVD series.


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Rosetta Stone Homeschool Chinese Level 1

Rosetta Stone Homeschool Chinese Level 1 gives students an interactive language-learning experience, while giving parents the tools and resources needed to help guide them on this journey. This popular and award-winning program makes it easy for parents to teach their children Mandarin even if they don’t speak the language themselves. The most valuable part of this program is the advanced speech recognition technology that makes certain that your child is speaking correctly. Included in this product is a parent’s guide, headset with microphone, audio companion, and supplemental education CD. If you like this product, there are two more editions available.

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Rosetta Stone Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1

Rosetta Stone Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 is one of the best-known, most successful language programs out there. It uses an immersion method based on visual representations, which helps the child (or adult) learn the language in the same way they learned their native tongue. Their speech-recognition technology corrects pronunciation and accent. Lisa has used this for Greek, and loved it! 

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