My Chinese Copybook: Elementary Class
This is a highly comprehensive app that teaches basic words in Chinese. Learners learn the rules of the strokes (handwriting), vocabulary and pronunciation. We were very impressed at the quality of the app and it has received an EAS Certification of 5 Stars and EAS Recommended Status.
This is a fantastic app for little kids, or even, beginner learners of Chinese. The app teaches the pronunciation and writing of ten very simple words in Cantonese and Mandarin. For those who are unfamiliar with these two Chinese languages, the characters look exactly the same but the words are pronounced differently.
The aim of the app is to master the art of handwriting with the Chinese characters. The correct stroke order is very important in mastering these languages so this app focuses on drilling that into the learner’s mind. Writing the characters with the correct stroke order facilitates the learning of the spatial relationships and also works to remember character composition. According to the creators of the app, the process also improves the kinaesthetic memory required for systematical hand-writing. This is very interesting because as you write, you can see that the characters are, in fact, based on pictoral formations that describe the word.
We worked our way through the ten words (Sun/day, noon, flower, wood, night...etc) and went through the 3 –step process that teaches the character formation and stroke-order. At each step you are given less and less clues so that you are relying on memory in order to complete the word.
Once you have completed the word, there is a section within the app that showcases your work. This is very good for parents/teachers who would like to see what their children have done and to find out how they are progressing with the app.
There is no time limit to working through the app however, we were filled with surprise when after working through 3 words, the app told us that “it was time to take a break”! What? Why!? We found this to be a very nice feature as the developers have incorporated away for children to measure their usage of the tablet and also so that they can share the tablet with other kids and members of the family.
Taking into consideration how important the Chinese language is becoming, this is a great little app that serves as an easy and engaging introduction to Chinese.
From the Developer
Stroke order, the writing pattern generated according to the construction of an individual Chinese character, is one of the most important elements that children have to learn when mastering the art of handwriting from kindergarten. Writing characters in the correct stroke order can greatly facilitate the learning of the spatial relationships and thus produce visually appealing characters; what’s more important, correct stroke order is vital for beginners to memorize the character’s composition, so that when they write they will not miss a stroke or two.
Learning to copy Chinese characters according to a certain order provides the children with clear ideas about where to start to write, and the direction as well as the sequence of the strokes. It helps the children develop the visual and kinesthetic memory required in systematical handwriting, thereby improve their copying speed and reducing the possibility of making mistakes. When children write on the screen of a tablet or a smartphone with their little fingers, they concentrate more on learning the stroke order because they do not have to experience the difficulty of holding a pencil.
In this system, the stroke orders are strictly based on the Lexical Items with English Explanations for Fundamental Chinese Learning in Hong Kong Schools published by Chinese Language Education Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau, HKSAR in 2009, and their List of Graphemes of Commonly-used Chinese Characters: 2007 Re-arranged with Cantonese and Putonghua Pronunciations and Simple English Explanations published in 2012.
• Chinese characters included: 日(sun / day)、月(moon / month)、星(star)、早(early / morning)、午(noon)、晚(late / night)、花(flower)、草(grass)、森(forest)、林(wood).
• Some stroke order and direction reminders are provided to learn stroke order gradually.
• We attach stamps to every character the children write, as a way to show whether they have understand the right proportions; if the components are written too big, too small or lopsided, the children will get a strange and funny stamp.
• This program will make sure that the children can finish writing every character according to the correct stroke order. Consequently, parents do not have to squeeze in monitoring their children’s practice.
• This exercise book can display children’s daily accomplishments, and even put all their work on the same character in a line to show their progress.
• There is a time limit! Seeing parents and their children fighting over the use of electronic gadgets is the last thing we want, because after all, we encourage children to learn with fun! Hence, we suggest that before doing the activities, parents and children agree on a time limit for the activity. Once the time is up, the children should take at least a 30 minute break before working on the activity again.