Yeah! We finally got our weekend Chinese tutor back this weekend! For one reason or another, we haven’t been able to have her over for three months now. We are fortunate to have the tutor for several hours each weekend, two to three times a month. On Saturdays, the tutor also takes the girls out for lunch, when they can relax and chitchat, in Chinese of course. They sometimes go out for a walk in the park or ride bicycles. These activities help build relationships and reenforce the girls’ language skill and cultural identity. The added bonus is that my wife and I can have “date” lunch ourselves once in a while!
Starting today, I ask the tutor to start a new phase of reading with 13 year old DD#1 “Charlotte”. This phase is for Charlotte to become familiarized with some of the modern cultural knowledge, social trend, and the associated language usage in China. After all, Charlotte will be starting high school next year and needs to learn how to talk the talk as adults in Chinese.
For this purpose, I am trying out articles from slow-chinese.com, which are free and are available in both simplified and traditional characters. I copy and paste the articles I am interested in unto word processor and then change the font to add zhuyin. The addition of zhuyin is to facilitate Scaffold Reading Experience, to allow Charlotte to read and process new vocabulary, terminology, and expression, without stumbling on the pronunciation.
Today, Charlotte went over and discussed four articles with the tutor in about one and half hour. The tutor also explained some of the terminology differences between mainland China and Taiwan. These articles are:
Tomorrow, Charlotte will read over a few more, one of which discusses our excessive reliance on smartphone. The article is as follows:
在之前的播客中，我們介紹過一個社交應用，叫微信(WeChat)。現在幾乎每個使用智能手機的中國人都會用微信和朋友們保持聯絡。最近的一項調查顯示，中國成年人平均每人每天在微信上閱讀的時間超過40分鐘。如果你在中國坐地鐵，會發現地鐵上90%以上的人都在低頭看手機。很多人去餐廳吃飯，菜上齊以後先拿手機拍照，再把這些誘人的照片傳到微信朋友圈（the Moments of Wechat），即使在吃飯的時候也總想著看看朋友們的回復。我認為這樣就喪失了人與人之間面對面交流的樂趣。有人開玩笑說，世界上最遙遠的距離，莫過於我坐在你面前，你卻在玩手機。
As you can see, articles such as these can facilitate our children to reach ILR ~ 4.5 in general speaking even into adulthood, instead of “kitchen” Chinese.