ISBN: Not applicable
Level: Beginning Reader, Zhuyin, Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Textbook, Taiwanese 1st Grade
Summary: 74 short moral essays/stories that include 5 reading comprehension multiple guess questions (with answer key) as well as an additional idiom section that goes along with each story.
Rating: 3/5 stars
5 Minute Review: I really like this workbook. I use it as a textbook to increase Cookie Monster’s (7) reading ability and comprehension. However, keep in mind that I like this workbook like a person likes to take vitamins.
I know it’s good for me, but no one is begging to read this.
The reading material is usually one page and the facing page has comprehension questions as well as additional info on idioms that relate to the story.
Depending on the topic, the stories are sometimes interesting and fun, or informative but perhaps not terribly interesting. Sometimes, Cookie Monster finds the stories fun and the illustrations amusing. Other times, you can tell he is just reading without any understanding.
Either way, the stories are useful for improving zhuyin reading and increasing comprehension. They take Cookie Monster anywhere from 10-30 minutes to go through both pages. If the text is more story related, his reading is much faster and fluid. If there is a lot of formal vocabulary or harder terms (that I have to constantly look up in Pleco), it takes a LOT longer and is somewhat frustrating.
At first, it was hard for him to even understand the concept of multiple choice questions. But after a few days, he got more used to it.
We skip the part on idioms because he only has so much attention span and quite frankly, some of the chapters have me going to Pleco and stretch my comprehension so much (so demoralizing that a first grade text can stymie me) that the thought of also discussing idioms makes me want to bash my head in.
Incidentally, he must be learning something because the other day, I was eating a zhong zi and he said, “Oh! This was in my book!” And flipped the book to the chapter on 端午節 (duan wu3 jie2)/Dragon Boat Festival. Sure enough, there were sketches of zhong zi.
I found this and a bunch of workbooks in a random Chinese stationery store and according to the clerk, this was the brand that was more popular and recommended.
I believe the Kang Xuan books are comparable in content and difficulty level. (Except that they have a CD with mp3s so you cannot just read straight through- hence my buyer’s remorse with KX workbooks.)
At any rate, though we would ideally do a story a day, we are more likely at 1-3 stories a week.
Overall, I am pleased and recommend this if you want to approach zhuyin and Chinese literacy in a more regimented way than reading picture books.
This is not the type of book you buy and go through for fun. I mean, the title is Moral Character Education for crying out loud.
Anyhow, now you know. 🙂
Here is a video of Cookie Monster reading an excerpt from the book. (This is the kind of wiggling I have to deal with. Drives me insane!) Also, I would have included a video of him reading and answering the questions, but I already had to bribe him with Cheetos to let me video this much.