Teaching Chinese at Home

I have been looking for good resources to teach Chinese at home. A few days ago, I just received my books from www.dangdang.com. The following books are the best resources for teaching Chinese at home!

This series of 7 books are not available in Singapore. I ordered them directly from dangdang. Here is the link to the books: 四五快读

I highly recommend these books to parents who are:

1. Very passionate to teach their kids at home

2. Quite good in Chinese, at least able to read and understand Chinese newspapers

3. Hardworking enough to spend at least 15 minutes teaching Chinese every day.  These books are not recommended for very busy parents. You must be prepared to put in effort to teach your kids at home if you want to use these books.

The first 30 pages of the first book explain to parents the effective methods of learning Chinese. It is very important to read all these pages before teaching.

I have included more descriptions and many photos of the pages of the books in my blog : Teaching Chinese at home This series of books is targeted at teaching kids age 4 – 5. When they complete the series by 6 years old, they will be able to read Chinese books independently. These books are from China, but I believe that kids in Singapore can benefit from using these books too, if parents follow the methods correctly.

Note: You can use DBS Amex card to order from dangdang.com. For Visa, only cards issued by Citibank works, but it is quite troublesome to use because they require a password. It is very easy to order using DBS Amex card.

Are your books for sale?

 Hi Ashley,

Do you still have those books? If they are still new and you are not planning to use them, would you like to sell them to me?

Im in Perth, could you please include the price with postage chargers? Else my in-laws stays in Boon Lay and you could mail/ pass to them. Whatever most convenient. I can arrange money transfer to your account too, or cash if you prefer. 


Hope to hear from you soon.


Is that too late to teach a Pri 2 kid

 Hi just wonder is this too late to teach a Pri 2 kid who is very weak in Chinese bcos we don’t speak mandarin at home. 

Hi, I went along to


I went along to purchase these sets ofo 7 books but to my horror I couldn’t read the pages instructing me to teach so these books are sitting on my shelf. Tamarind would you be so kind to give a little help here?


~ Mama to Tiffany ’03, Elizabeth ’06 and Sean ’08


Taoshu Learn Chinese Books

You can try our Taoshu Learn Chinese Books. I am the creator of Singapore’s most popular homegrown TV animation series, Little Taoshu. I recently collaborated with Teach-A-Tot to launch a set of Taoshu Learn Chinese Books, which has become one of the best-selling kids Chinese readers in Singapore. In the Singapore environment it’s a battle to get kids interested in Chinese books. I’m proud to say it is one of the rare Chinese books that are fun enough and high quality enough that kids asks for it. If you can get the kids to want to pick up Chinese books in the first place, it’s half the battle won already. You can find them at http://www.learnchinesebooks.com
– Sung Lin Gun


Hi Tamarind, is the dangdang reliable. How do you made payment for the orders and normaly how soon they send the books to you.

Many tks

mummy of 2

My girl, now in P1, completed all 6 books very early this year. After that, she is able to read short chapter books in Chinese, and now she is able to read long Chinese novels for children. She enjoys reading pages of a few hundred words each with no pictures. She knows over 90% of the words. This is all thanks to the Si Wu Kuai Du books, these books progressively trained her to read very fluently.

My 6 year old boy is now reading book 6. I am also happy that he does not mind reading a long passage of a few hundred Chinese words.

I did not have to spend a lot of time and effort teaching them. For my girl, I spent about 10 minutes a day, she took about 2 months to complete all 6 books. For my boy, it takes about 20 minutes, because he is not able to focus and I need to use games to teach him, as instructed by the book. He will take about 1 year to complete these books.

Both my kids have attended Berries since 4 years old, and I started them on the books at 6 years old, so it is very easy to teach using these books. These books are recommended for kids 4 years old and above.

The first 30 pages of book 1 explain the effective teaching methods, and if we follow these methods, it actually does not take a lot of time and effort. Also note that every child is different. Some kids may take just a few months to complete all 6 books, but others may take 1 to 2 years. Parents need to be patient, there is no need to spend many hours teaching, just 20 minutes a day will do, and repeat the lesson the next day if necessary.


You are welcome 🙂

Ability to teach

Thanks for your guidance.  It’s not just that you have such great diligence and teaching methods but what is admirable is that you are not stingy in sharing what you have, no doubt, spent so much time to research.

I can more or less understand that section.  Now just have to pull up my socks and start cultivating a teaching time for the me and the kids

Try book one first

I advise parents to try book one first.

Also make sure that you can read the following page. Click on the link :

Short section from Book One

The first 30 pages of book one look like this, containing important information for parents to use the books effectively. Make sure you can read and understand this section before buying the books.

As I wrote in my blog, in order to use these books, parents should be quite good in Chinese, at least able to read and understand Chinese newspapers. In fact, these books train parents to become very good Chinese teachers.

It is not necessary to spend a lot of time, only 10 – 15 mins everyday, but parents must be consistent and teach everyday.

It is better to buy book one first, finish the 10 lessons and see if your can persevere.


You are welcome ! I am actually not that hardworking. I try my best to look for excellent resources so that I only need to spend a very short time everyday teaching, and my boy can still learn learn very well. Also, my boy is the type that cannot absorb much in classes, so it is important that I teach him at home.

Please read the next comment.


How I wish I can teach my kids Chinese. Too bad for me. Always got problem with Chinese since young. Luckily, I still can speak Mandarin :). So still help them out a lil bit by reading very simple book.

thanks for the

thanks for the recommendation

Ordering books

Tamarind, you are really such a dedicated mother.  I wish I have even an ounce of your energy and commitment.  Thanks so much for generously sharing your knowledge so that a lazy mom like me can benefit from it.

To the rest – I’ve contacted Union Book Store at Bras Basah and they told me that there are parents who have enquired about these books and they are prepared to bring them in for their customers for S$50 (i.e. books plus shipping).  We need to place a deposit with them first though.  I was told that if I go down to pay these few days, the books will arrive in Jan 2010.  I’m not connected with them.  Just sharing the info I found out.  For me, I’m still considering if my Chinese can "make it" before purchasing cos it would be me who will be teaching my kids with these books.

Card Payment

Thanks for detailed info. Will need to quickly go apply citi card now. 🙂

Citibank Credit Card

I wrote in my blog that we need to activate Secure Online Shopping by Visa. You can see the “Verified by Visa” logo at the payment page.
You can find out more from the Visa Asia website.
Visa Asia

Citibank is the only bank that issues cards with this feature in Singapore.

You must enable Secure Online Shopping for your Citibank Credit Card.
Read this webpage for more information.
Citibank Secure Online Shopping

You will need to setup a personal message and password.

At the dangdang payment page, after you enter your credit card number, you will be connected to the Citibank server, and your personal message will be shown, and you need to enter your password.

Note that if your payment fails to go through for whatever reason, you need to enter all your items into the shopping cart again and check out a new 订单。The previous 订单 will be automatically canceled after a few days.

Sometimes the Citibank server may have problems, you may have to try again the next day, or you may be asked to reset your Secure Online Shopping password.

It is not easy to get through when you are ordering for the first time, you need to keep trying. But it is well worth the effort. There is a huge collection of Chinese books at dangdang with many books that cannot be found in Singapore, and the prices are cheap.

Why only Citibank Credit Card


Can share why only Citibank credit card? WIll the other credit card not worked? I tried to order but not all books in stock. I’ve managed to enter till the credit card payment page (they did not mention only Citibank credit card but they asked for visa / mastercard number and CVV. I am waiting for full set before buying and shipping to save cost.. Please advise if you know the card payment part so that I will not be stranded at the very last minute. Thanks


Kids at that age should be reading a wide variety of Chinese books, you can try looking for suitable books in the National Library.

National Library

I have recommended these books to the National Library. I will update here when the books are available in the library, hopefully they do bring them in.

Dear all

buds_hubs, autumnbronze,
Those books are published in China. I cannot find any bookshops in Singapore that are selling these books.
Popular bookshop does bring in books from China, but they will sell the books at a much more expensive price. For example, I saw a book selling at SGD5.40 in Popular, the same book costs only SGD2.30 at http://www.dangdang.com. Anyway these books are not available in Popular, I tried to ask another bookshop in Bras Basah to bring in for me, they are not willing to do so.
The 7 books for learning Chinese costs a total of only RMB104(SGD22) if we buy them in China. International shipping to Singapore costs RMB70(SGD15). If you know anyone going to China, it is best to ask them to buy back for you. Just like what tutormum wrote, parents should make it a point to shop for books when in China, it is really very cheap !

That person is certainly overcharging you. All Citibank credit cards will work. We need to activate your Secure Online Shopping. Sometimes the server may be down, we have to try again the next day.

Thanks so much for sharing your past experiences. You are absolutely right about the effective methods that can be used to make learning Chinese easy and fun. I hope that my girl’s school has good Chinese teachers too.

autumnbronze, pummanuel,
It is my pleasure to share good resources with other parents who want to teach Chinese at home 🙂

The fact is that I spent a total of about $9000 for 2 kids to attend Berries Chinese enrichment class from N2 to K2. I was not able to find good resources to teach Chinese at home until now. I am happy to find these books, they allow a parent to teach a child who does not know how to read any Chinese, until a level that is equivalent to P3. Though the books are targeted for age 4 to 5, these are written for children in China where the standard of Chinese is very high compared to Singapore. The best thing is that these books advise parents to teach Chinese using games so that kids can have fun while learning.

Thanks Once Again ...

Hi Tamarind,

Thx once again for being so generous in your sharing.

I am v grateful to you for providing guidance via your blog and postings.

Like buds_hubs, I too would like to enquire whether is it possible to purchase the books w/o going thru shipping?



Hi tamarind,   My kids are

Hi tamarind,


My kids are going to p4 and p2 next year.

What books will you recommend?

Any possibility to get the

Any possibility to get the books in SG without going through shipping?


Great recommendation

Hi Tamarind, I’m amazed at your commitment level in teaching your children, especially since you are FTWM. I used to be a Chinese teacher (contract basis) for 6 months eons ago, mentored by a near retirement Chinese teacher (close to 40 years of teaching experience). The method she used to teach her P1 students was similar to the one mentioned in the books, i.e how to teach and revise the words. However, given the constraints of the class size and varying learning abilities among the students, we didn’t conduct the class using the games illustrated. But I’ve seen some of them being used by the teachers in my daughter’s preschool, which suggests the effectiveness of the games.

I will like to add, as modern Chinese words are derived from hieroglyphics, we can teach Chinese words in an action packed way, like for ‘da’ (big), we can stretch our hands and legs apart to form the word, or likewise for ‘xiao’ (small), we can place our hands next to our body, with the palms facing outward, and the legs closed with the toes pointing one side to form the word. For certain words, we can draw pictures of it, like ‘tou’ (head), we can imagine it as a face with the 撇捺 as a central parting of the hair, and the 2 dots as hairpins. Of course not all words can be taught this way. For children who are very visual in their learning, this helps a lot.

And like what hmsg suggests, exposing them to the language in our daily lives help. Besides radio, we can buy audio story CDs and play them in the car. For my daughter, as her first language is Mandarin, it’s been easier for me to teach her Chinese words vs English words. However, after trying out Tamarind’s recommendation of Peter and Jane, I’m seeing results. Thanks Tamarind, you are my shifu.

Books in China are very

Books in China are very cheap. DH bought a book on ‘chen yu’ for only $2. I heard from friends that they always buy very good and quality books when they are in China. Kiasu parents should make it a point to shop for books when they go to China.

it's best to check the

it’s best to check the exchange rate and the shipping rate before buying bah…how I wish there is vpost for China lol

I am very angry!!!!  I got

I am very angry!!!!  I got someone to ship it for me and it cost me $60 for the 7 books.  My citibank credit card cant get through!!!

buds, It is only available

It is only available from China. Total cost including direct shipping from dandang.com is RMB 176 (SGD 37) for all the 7 books. Click on this link to see the price of individual books.

Si Wu Kuai Du

The price of the books may change like in http://www.amazon.com.

How much?

How much for the whole set, tamarind?

Thanks in advance. 


Using games to teach

Also note that the book advises parents to use games to teach so that the child can have lots of fun when learning. The book lists more than 14 suggestions of types of games to play. It is NOT the Kumon method of drilling, and NOT by flashing the cards.

When I taught my boy phonics and reading, I also spent at most 15 minutes everyday, because his attention span is very short and I cannot teach more than that. If we use effective methods and teaching consistently, it is not necessary to spend many hours a day to teach.

mummy of 2

I think 15 mins a day is enough. Just make sure that you teach consistently every day. The book explains that we should stop teaching at the time when the child’s interest at the highest level, that is, when he is having fun. Then he will be very eager to continue to learn the next time.

In fact, I took less than 10 mins to go through the first lesson.

Thanks for the recommendation

Hi tarmarind

Pls share further if the books are effective, and how much time is required to coach the kid to be proficient. I’m worried that it takes a lot of time and effort, which I may not have at the end of a work day. I really admire your dedication in teaching your kids. I wish I had half of yours.


In addition, I try to make

In addition, I try to make sure the kids are exposed to the mandarin conversations such as listening to 933 while in the car… to watching mandarin TV programmes, esp the cartoons!

We should also coverse in mandarin with them as much as possible 🙂

Related Articles