1. Cultivate the habit of reading Chinese
It is vital for young children to recognise Chinese characters when they are a beginner in learning the language. Chinese characters with many strokes can seem complex and challenging to recognize. However, because of the toughness of Chinese characters, the ability to recognise Chinese characters should not be delayed, and a solid foundation in your child needs to be built as a priority. With that, Chinese books with the companion of Hanyu Pinyin are recommended to be read by new learners to learn Chinese better. From there, your child can pick up new phrases and vocabulary when reading a book. As they expose more to Chinese, they will learn to enjoy the pleasures of reading Chinese, eventually searching for books that suit their preferences, then learn words much faster as they willingly dive into Chinese knowledge. In addition, habitual reading can positively influence your child’s pronunciation, since they learn the exact pinyin while reading books. This significantly boosts their speaking skills.
Moreover, your child will be able to learn the correct sentence structure in Chinese when they explore and read books. The sentence structure in Chinese is quite different from English; it sounds or reads strangely if one tries to write or speak Chinese according to the English structure. Therefore, by mastering the correct sentence structure, students can learn Chinese better and score better in both Chinese comprehension and oral tests.
2. Practice Chinese speaking at home
Creating a Chinese-speaking environment at home for your child helps to learn Chinese better. This is because Chinese-speaking environment helps to assimilate Chinese into daily life, indirectly making it your child’s natural capability to speak Chinese. This exposes them to an environment that could hone their skills in speaking Chinese and allows them to think naturally about their words and minds in Chinese. Most students in Singapore struggle with their Chinese, which they tend to think in English and translate into Chinese afterwards. However, these efforts are not very effective when it comes to formal Chinese communication, such as oral examination. This is due to the difference between the English and Chinese sentence structures, giving rise to multiple grammatical and syntax errors. Speaking Chinese consistently would train your child to get accustomed to speaking and thinking in Chinese naturally, enabling them to learn Chinese better.
Creating a fully Chinese-speaking environment would be difficult for you as parents in Singapore, since you might not have excellent proficiency in Chinese either. Therefore, parents are encouraged to start with an easy one by picking up the basics and helping the child pick up the language, helping them learn Chinese better.