What makes Language Monkey books so special?


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I used to struggle with getting my kids to learn Chinese because finding educational toys and books in New Zealand designed for non-fluent parents was impossible! And even when I made progress, they often wouldn't respond to me in Chinese. It was also trickier for me because when I first started out, I wasn't sure whether to focus on Cantonese or Mandarin, let alone Traditional or Simplified Characters! It seemed like the odds were stacked against people in my situation. So, I want to share my journey, tips, tricks and best ways to keep get your own kids learning quickly and stress free.

Firstly, I'd like to share a comparison of common tools. There are 3 typical ways that parents can use to help immerse kids in Chinese: Books, TV/YouTube, and day-to-day conversations. The table below compares the pros/cons of the first 2 ways with Language Monkey books. Maintaining fluent conversations with your kids is ideal, however as I mentioned before it's terribly difficult when you are not fluent yourself, those around you don't also speak the language, or you just need to communicate quickly! For this reason, I don't include it in the table.

TV/YouTube is an easier solution, however the main problems come from the negative effects of excessive screen-time (blue-light disrupting sleep and eyesight, inappropriate programs, or too much "hyperactive content" impacting child attention-spans). It is also very passive, where kids sit and "zone-out", don't do their own thinking or learning through physical sensory play.

Books always have been fantastic with learning and development, and are recommended for all. However, there are limitations when learning Chinese such as being able to read the characters, and being able to correctly pronounce them when you read it to your child! When learning a new language, especially for children - verbal communication comes first, followed by character recognition. Also, it's incredibly difficult to find any books that are targeted to English speakers learning Chinese as a second or third language (let alone suitable Chinese books in the first place!). Audio-books do help a little bit, but the biggest drawback is the lack of interactivity, being able to keep up and explore at the child/parent's own pace - which is very important because everyone is at different levels.

Language Monkey books take traditional books to the next level. They solve the main problems of:

  • parents/kids not being able to read characters to communicate, because the Language Monkey can read it to you. This also frees up parent time for child independent learning!
  • mispronouncing words (this is very common because Chinese is a tonal based language). The Language Monkey reads it to you at your own pace when you point it at words/pictures! 
  • kids not verbally responding in Chinese because the book encourages verbal repetition, making Chinese comfortable for them to respond.
  • passive learning because books are held and requires the child/parent's input (there are also games so you can "find" the right object).
  • blue light because kid-friendly & vibrant illustrations never hurt anyone!

See the table below for why Language Monkey outshines alternatives Chinese Language educational tools!

Pros/Cons comparison of Language Monkey books to Ordinary books and TV/YouTube

What challenges do you face when teaching Chinese to children? I'd love to hear them.

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