Sagebooks ChallengeAuthor’s Note: For the next four months, Sagebooks HK is sponsoring The Sagebooks Challenge as we chronicle Glow Worm (4) and I going through their series for the first time. I am also guest posting on their Sagebooks HK Blog where I will be providing a time tested tip and a fun activity to help support you and your child as you go through the sets.

Welcome to our second week going through the Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500 series with Glow Worm.

This week, we made zero headway and just reviewed because Glow Worm didn’t want to do anything else. Find out more below.

What is Sagebooks?

Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500 is a series of 5 sets of 5 books that teach your children how to read the top 500 high frequency characters in children’s books. You can find out more here.

Quick Background

I am an ABC/T and speak Mandarin 85% of the time to my four children (8, 6, 4, 1). My husband, Hapa Papa, only speaks English. We homeschool bilingually in Chinese and English and my older two children have already gone through the Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500.

Glow Worm, (4) currently knows about 50 characters and this is the first time we are going through Sagebooks. He currently splits time between two Chinese preschools for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week.

Goal for Week 2: Book 1.2:8- 1.3.15*

Since we did so much last week, I thought we were going to keep up the pace and blow through Book 1.2 and most of 1.3. That’s why I anticipated such a big number – not because I’m a Tiger Mom (although if you are one, there’s no shame in it).

Folks in the Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group seemed to think that was really high (and it is) and might have felt bad about it. I’m sure this week will make them feel much better!

How Did We Do?

We did NOTHING. I mean, I guess that’s technically not true.

We did not learn any new characters.

I didn’t really mind since I knew Glow Worm did not remember all the characters he learned last week so I was fine with just going over the previous chapters in whatever random order he wanted. As long as he was happy about Sagebooks, I was happy.

How Did We Do It?

This week seemed a little more rushed and hectic so there were a few times I brought the books with us to lessons and went through them as we waited for Cookie Monster (8) and Gamera (6). If we were home, Sasquatch (1) would get super jealous and demand I pay attention to him, too.

There was even one time Glow Worm brought up the Sagebooks while I was taking a shower and Cookie Monster ended up reviewing the chapters with him. Hey, I’m not picky. As far as I’m concerned, this is awesome.

Needless to say, I think we suffered from a little lack of focus.

Since Glow Worm was patently uninterested in reading new characters but then was sometimes annoyed when I would review characters because he didn’t want to go “backwards” and start over (I think he felt like he was failing), we were in a really weird limbo.

I finally convinced him that it was ok to go back and just try certain characters. I would randomly flip backwards and have him read sample sentences or characters I knew he had trouble with. Glow Worm would also insist on re-tracing several characters so I let him practice writing.

Sample Pics and Videos

Sagebooks Basic Chinese 500

Sagebooks Basic Chinese 500

Here’s a video of Glow Worm reading Set 1 Book 1 Lesson 10. He is reviewing the lesson so you can tell he is reading with a lot more confidence.

Here’s a video of him reading Set 1 Book 2 Lesson 1 with Sasquatch (1) causing trouble. Hopefully, you can see that you don’t need a perfect setting to go over the books.

One more of Glow Worm reading Set 1 Book 1 Lesson 6 as he reviews and refuses to read any more. Also, “Move the baby!” I find that part hilarious.


Although Glow Worm still seems to be excited about Sagebooks, I think he’s starting to understand that not all of it is easy and that we cannot just keep reading the same chapters over and over again.

So, this week was the exact opposite of last week. Glow Worm ONLY wanted to read chapters he knew and would say, “Let’s stop” or “I’m tired” when I would try to progress. He would insert the bookmarks and then he would run off.

Some Observations

Like I suspected last week, we did not keep up the initial pace. What I did not expect was to not progress at all. My only hope is that since we did not learn “new” characters, that we were able to reinforce the characters he had trouble with last week.

Just like last week, Glow Worm still mixed up characters like 在/zai4/exist, be alive/ and 有/you3/have, possess, own/ because they both have the ????/zuo3/left hand/ component. He still had trouble with the more abstract terms and I imagine that will be the case for a few months at least.

Over all, I think I will have to be much more intentional next week.

Sagebooks Challenge Application

How did you do this week? Did you try the activity I posted at Sagebooks HK Blog? Did you join us at the Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group? Let me know in the group (or the comments).

See you next week!

* I refer to the Sagebooks in this formula: Set#.Book#:Chapter#. So, if I am referring to the first set, book 3, and characters 14-16, it looks like: Book 1.3:14-16.