Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Primary School: Chinese Picture Talk!

If you have not already heard, it was announced a while ago that the PSLE Chinese Oral exam will be updated where children will now watch a video recording and then record their answers using a voice recorder from 2017. This will effectively replace the good old “Picture Talk” – 看图说话。

Having said that, many schools are still starting the children with看图说话 especially in lower Primary which I think is good as it allows the younger children to cement their foundation in terms of appropriate vocabulary, stringing a sound sentence and then work on improving their description.
Like many of my friends, we do not speak enough Mandarin at home though I try hard to inject bits and pieces of it while we are driving / running errands where we describe our surroundings, etc., in Mandarin. But when it comes to assessment time I get all iffy and worried about the kiddo. So, I did the Singaporean thing and bought a few guide books to help myself help her. LOL.

Here’s sharing the first one which I find useful. I chanced upon this book when I was at Popular bookstore waiting for pick the kid up from her workshop. I am sharing on this book first as I feel that it serves as a good introduction to the various themes and the appropriate words to be used for each of those themes:

The topics are introduced thematically. I like that the topics are something the children are able to relate to and can understand; and that many are in line with the topics in their textbooks (which I did a comparison between the old and new Chinese syllabus here)

:: Contents page 

(P1 textbook)

The words introduced in the guide book are "everyday" words and scenes which are also relevant in Primary 2. 

:: Format

For parents who are not eloquent in Mandarin, the book is a bilingual title where the English words are written next to the Chinese words and the book also includes the HYPY of those Chinese words. 

In short, it is almost like a thematic "dictionary" but with colourful illustrations which is a plus point in attracting the children.

Each topic spans over 2 pages and includes a "read-aloud" section as well as a "conversation" (会话)section.

Some of the items / words below are also in the Primary 2 syllabus where food items were taught in one chapter.

For parents who struggle with knowing what to ask or what to discuss with your child, the questions in 会话 section would be useful for you.

The read aloud sections (fortunately or unfortunately depending on your preference) have HYPY at the bottom. Personally I prefer for the paragraphs not to have HYPY as they do not have it in the actual tests but I think for children who are just starting off, this may be less intimidating. 

The book was priced at SGD12.75 when I bought it last year and comes with an audio CD which basically reads out all the words in the chapters including the read aloud 读一读 and 说一说 sections. 

This will definitely be useful for non Mandarin speaking parents, for parents who are busy or for parents who wish to improve their children's pronunciation (though I must add that the narrator's way of pronouncing 我 sounded a tad weird to me :p). 

I have previously written a post on nurturing a love for the Chinese language before and you can read more about it here:

Part 1: Read Read Read (books of a different kind)

Part 2: Speak it, Use it!
Part 3: Watch it!

Part 4: Play It! 

Looking for more sharing on the Chinese syllabus, I recently interviewed a friend who is an MOE Primary School Chinese teacher on Chinese Composition which you can read about here too. 

This is an ongoing series on documenting my learning and Dumpling's Primary School journey

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  1. I find such thematic Chinese dictionary so useful as I sometimes struggle with certain terms too. We have 2 of such books and will share about them too.

  2. Got English some more! I'm sold :D Thanks for this, I think we (as in my son and I) both need help in CL2!

    1. LOL, glad that it is useful for you Edlyn! :) Will be sharing 2 more guides to guide on phrases and structure in the next 2 posts!

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