I've been revising with E and C regularly especially on their Chinese homework, as this is one language that they have rather weak fundamental. My fault for not emphasize enough when they were younger.. :P
Anyway, fret not, I'm here to share a good news. Whether you are Chinese-literated or not, it doesn't matter. I have found some really useful apps and websites that will help in teaching little ones on mandarin reading and writing, and best of all, they are absolutely free! ;-)
• Yes-Chinese.com 习字笔画好帮手
It's all about precision when it comes to writing mandarin words. A stroke must be straight, a hook must not be too long. Urrghh, I find it frustrating even I've pretty good command of mandarin myself >.<
So I let them practice using pre-printed words with the strokes in sequence. This site is really amazingly friendly and easy to use. Just type the word (using pinyin) and it will auto generate the word for you in nice writing boxes (you can choose the box size, small / medium / large)
Try it out now by clicking here > yes-chinese.com
The only downside- it doesn't work on mobile phone as it requires installation of the Adobe flash plugin. Make sure you install m that for your web browser before you can use this function.
• 字宝宝 Zhi Bao Bao
An Apple App which you can download from store for free (with in-app purchase that can be annoying, but well, it's free so can't complain). 字宝宝 is our on-the-go app to practice for all the mandarin spelling, it's especially useful for E. He just need a quick 3-5 min revision for all the words and he's ready for his spelling test.
• Google (Photo) Translate 谷歌翻译（摄像功能）
Available on App Store or website, this amazing app allows you to just snap a picture of the word (work best with printed words instead of handwriting), and it helps you translate the word and the sound instantly. It's it wonderful?
Snap a pic, highlight the words with your finger.
Ta-da, the pinyin, sound & meaning are given. See the little camera icon? Click that to use this photo translate feature.
• Pleco 鱼. 电子字典
This app is ideal for elder kids who can use dictionary independently. It allows you to search the word （字） / nounce (词）in mandarin or pinyin, and give you the meaning plus sample usage or sentence. This is almost as good as an actual dictionary.
Come standard 2, they started learning to form sentences which will get them ready for essay writing in standard 3, hence i find this app comes in ready handy.
Search with nounce（词句), gongzuo 工作, and all possible words are listed.
Search with single word, gong, and all words with similar pinyin are listed out. Easy huh?
There are other useful functions such as searching the historical words, clipboard reader (just paste the copied words) etc, do take some time to explore when you are using it, if you wish (I stick to the basic functions :))
• HSK Vocabulary Flash Cards 翻字卡
If you have spare time and would like to introduce new words to the young schooler, you can download this apple App which comes in different levels of difficulty (HSK1 is the lowest, follow by HSK2 and so on so fort).
It allows you to flip through the eCards and play the voice.
It has a test setting that allows testing of the little one to find the right words based on the words read out. C loves this test.
That's all folks. Hope you find the above helpful & do share with me and the other readers if you have other good tools to suggest too.. I have yet to find any good tools for teaching bahasa, so please do share with me if you know of any! ;-)
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