Sagebook HK ChallengeAuthor’s Note: 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 6th week going through the Sagebooks HK Basic Chinese 500 series with Glow Worm (4).

This week, we reviewed a LOT of the characters in Book 1.3 because Glow Worm didn’t remember most of them.


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.


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.


My goal for this week was just to keep up the pace of one new character every week day.


Since we took a bit longer break than I’d ideally like, I was surprised by how many characters Glow Worm actually remembered. However, he still forgot a few of the new characters from last week so we spent most of this week reviewing the new characters in Book 1.3.


We did a lot of reading at kungfu and in the car. Glow Worm really has taken to reading his 小書/xiao3 shu/little books/ in the car and I don’t mind indulging him even though sometimes, it’s a little difficult to guess what character he is having trouble with. In general, this worked much better when he was reviewing Book 1.2 versus when he was trying to read new characters he did not recognize. My Chinese literacy cannot withstand quick glimpses in the rear view mirror (he’s still rear facing so at least that makes it easier to see the characters).

At least he knows the names of strokes and can describe the character using the stroke names and stroke order. Thank goodness the early characters are easy enough for me to guess from the descriptions.


I totally failed this week and forgot to take pictures documenting our learning. I know, I know. Pics or it didn’t happen.

Glow Worm this week so I “cheated” and taped him reading a day after the week ended. Here he is reading Set 1 Book 3 Lesson 5.


By the end of the week, he started to remember the new characters a little better, but he was still having some trouble with the same old characters like 去/qu4/go/, 到/dao4/arrive/, and 說/shuo/say/. I was particularly amused that he consistently confused  好/hao3/good/ with 孩/hai2/child/. It makes sense since they share the 子 component and share a “ha” sound.

Some Observations

I finally have realized that 3-4 new characters a week is a good pace for Glow Worm and I. It’s a reasonable and attainable goal and I don’t feel pressure or defeated to meet it. Also, it builds the pace around Glow Worm who prefers to review over learning new characters. I don’t mind because reviewing and knowing characters is more important to me than how quickly he blazes through the chapters. After all, of what use is it to speed through everything only to not retain any characters?

Sagebooks Challenge Application

How did you do this week? Did you catch a second (or third or fourth) wind? Do you like the activities I post at Sagebooks HK Blog? Have you lurked in 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.