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Presentation:  Chinese Character Matching.

Our first attempt at "reading" Chinese.
I noticed a similar tool at a recent tour of a Montessori Preschool.
Not knowing where to start, I have been meaning to find a simple way to introduce Chinese written characters to Zozie.  The sheer numbers of Chinese characters is quite overwhelming:  47,035.  
Full literacy in Chinese requires knowledge of 3 to 4 thousand characters.
Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world.

But before taking bites into the characters, we need little nibblets.

BoPoMo is a loose equivalent to the English "ABC's" in that it is a building block to phonetically sound out the way a Chinese character (or word) is spoken.  As if it's not already hard enough, we have to learn the characters to the SOUNDS in order to sound out the written final characters...the alphabet before the alphabet?

So...Our first letter is "Bo", shown in the green square in the photo.  
This is the preferred way to learn to read Chinese when I grew up in Taiwan.  Learn your BoPoMo's, then learn your words.  Perhaps a similar introduction to English can be done in this manner as well?

The Goal
Sight Recognition
Memory exercise
Hand eye coordination

The Set Up
1)  Tray
2)  Photocopy a page out of a book
3)  Clear sheet protector or laminate the page
4)  Photocopy a second page and cut out the various words or sentences
5)  A container or small basket

The Presentation
1)  Bring the tray to the work table or mat
2)  Take the basket of loose letters out
3)  Start with the main character/letter being introduced
4)  Continue with the other sentences
5)  Hover each new sentence over the base sheet in a linear and systematic fashion, doing an exaggerated motion of comparing, shake head if not a match and move on till a match is found.  Can even start with a sentence up-side-down, then reversing it upon hovering over the key sheet
6)  When a match is found, place the loose sentence over the existing one, then keep going until all sentences have been placed
7)  Have the child try, when done, place all pieces into container and return tray to shelf

This is both a typical memory matching game and a basic Chinese lesson.
Our boy seems to be playing it like a picture puzzle, not yet really reading the characters.  But since Chinese characters are considered Sinographs, it's basically a bunch of little pictures anyways.  Although Z did note that the target BoPoMo character was highlighted in pink to the right of the Chinese word.  So he's noticing that these parts make up the sound.  We'll need alittle more exposure and practice on this front, but a (free) and good start on pre-reading.


  1. hmm...did my comment never go through?

  2. darn! It was a long comment too.

    I basically said that I thought the matching game was for character recognition and that there is an activity in the gottman book on learning what sounds word start w/. You could have pics of things in a room and ask him to find everything that starts w/ one printed alphabet.

  3. Yeah, basically for sight recognition. I'll look into the phonics exercise you mentioned, sounds fun!