3 million characters


Almost 10 years old “Georgia” is making good progress reading books from “世界少年文學精選“ (World Literature, well, mainly western classic books) series.  She starts by reading books whose content she is familiar with, such as Romeo and Juliet, Secret Garden, and now Peter Pan.


That’s just dandy with me, as this is part of the Scaffold Reading Experience or SRE.  I ask her to read at least 50 pages a day, which should work out to be at least ~ 10,000 to 11,000 characters.  Over the past 10 days or so since the books arrived, she has read about 600 pages or ~ 130,000 characters; so, we are on target.

With her willingness to read these books, I think she will be able to read at least 3,000,000 characters by this time next year.  Yes, that’s 3 million characters!  By this time next year, I am certain her reading speed will pick up quite a bit and her proficiency of characters and expressions of this reading level will be quite good.

Once again, thanks to Ms. Lin of Guavarama who organized the group book purchase from Taiwan, we are set for the next year to two!


白蛇傳 (Legend of the White Snake)

Now that the girls have decent Chinese and have watched a number of Chinese themed movies or TV shows, we are returning to reading aloud abridged version of classic Chinese.  I think classic Chinese stories use more Chinese word phrases, idioms, and expressions than translated books.  中國傳統故事比翻譯故事用較多的詞語,用語,和成語。


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Here, 9 year old “Georgia” is reading 白蛇傳 (Legend of the White Snake) with the tutor.


World Literature series (世界少年文學精選)

Thanks to fellow parent Ms. Lin of Guavarama who organized group book purchase, we got our shipment of World Literature selections from Eastern Publishing in Taiwan (東方出版社 – 世界少年文學精選) this last couple of days, after waiting for about two months.  There are supposed to be 119 books but three were missing from the shipment.

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These books are meant for 8-9 years old in Taiwan, particularly given they have zhuyin 注音.  These books are longer and more difficult than the last dozen books of the Chinese edition of Magic Tree House.  Book #4o of the Magic Tree House probably had ~ 18,000 characters, which my now almost 10 years old “Georgia” read at ~ 800 to 1,000 characters a minute a few months ago.  The first book that Georgia picks out to read from this newly arrived series is Romeo and Juliet.  I estimates that there are ~ 65,000 characters in this book, so more than 3 times as many characters.  For translated literary work, the thing that I hate the most are the translated names!  That really messed my “Charlotte” up, while reading the Chinese edition of Twilight and the Selection series.

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Georgia is familiar with the English version of the story of Romeo and Juliet.   In any case, she is reading Romeo and Juliet at ~ 2 pages a minutes, or ~ 450 characters a minute by rough estimates.  So, I think she can read the book in about 2.5 hours.  That’s half of the speed that she was able to read Magic Tree House, for good reasons.  The content is more advanced and there are many more characters involved, with their awful translated names!  Regardless, I think it is realistic for her to read one book a week from this series, which will only be ~ 15-20 minutes of her time every day, depending on the length of the book.  However, it will probably end up being one book every 2 weeks, after all is said and done.  So, hopefully, over the next two to three years, she will go through most of this series.  I am certain she will pick up her speed as she matures over time and gets acclimated to this series, hopefully reaching ~ 800 characters a minute.  At that speed, she should be able to read books of similar level without zhuyin at ~ 400-500 characters a minute.

As you may have noticed, I am shying away from having her read books without zhuyin.  I am using the Scaffold Reading Experience (SRE).  The zhuyin of books that are more advanced for her allows her not to dwell on character recognition, but instead get her to become familiar with the expressions and language usage.  After she gets those down and read new characters enough times, she will pick up her speed and will be able to read books of similar level and content without zhuyin at reasonable speed, the phase of dismantling the scaffold.