This week, I’ve picked the storybook I Can Read This Is my Town by Mercer Mayer for our read-and-learn Chinese time. Of all the books we have, why did I choose this one? That’s because I loved this book the first time I saw it in our local library. The story is simple but fun and packed frequently used words. It’s perfect for young beginner Chinese readers.

So, I thought, why don’t I buy the entire set and translate them to Chinese? And I did, and now I have fifteen of I Can Read / Little Critter stories on our bookshelf.

The Chinese translation for I Can Read This is My Town you see in this post is the 1st story I translated.

My daughter loves these stories. She can pretty much read them all in English. But, my goal, and I know yours, too, is to get our little ones to read these fantastic stories in Chinese!

Now, if this is your first time reading my blog post, I’ve translated two storybooks so far:

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.

In these two posts, I’ve detailed why I create bilingual books and how I utilise bilingual books to teach my daughter Mandarin Chinese. So there’s no point for me to repeat here. Please read those two posts to find out more.

You can also subscribe and download the FREE Chinese translation for those two stories there.

Now, back to our read-and-learn Chinese time for today.

Similar to Pete the Cat stories, this time I’ve created 18 doubled-sided flashcards and the Chinese translation to create the bilingual copy of our own. Check how it looks in our videos below.

Interested? Consider to subscribe to my email list and download this Chinese learning resource for FREE. You will receive growing FREE learning sources just like this one that is EXCLUSIVE TO MY SUBSCRIBERS.


So, what’s my SECRET to teach my daughter reading I Can Read This is My Town in Chinese in one week?

In this post, I’ll focus on the story I Can Read This is My Town and show you how I taught my daughter to read this book in a week. First, take a look at how she reads it:

Not too bad right for one week’s work at just 30 minutes a day.

Can I tell you something? She doesn’t know all the Chinese characters in the book. Not yet.

But she has managed to read the entire story by herself. She was also self-correcting her pronunciation of Mandarin while reading.

What’s the “secret”? Pinyin, of course.

Because she has learnt a solid foundation of Pinyin alphabets, blending and the five tones, she was able to sound out the Chinese characters just by looking at the Pinyin!

That’s why I started to translate English stories that my daughter loves to  Simplified Chinese so that I can add Pinyin in the book for her to read in Chinese.

Pinyin is a MUST for beginner Chinese readers because it helps children to read the books without interrupting the flow of the stories as well as speaking better Mandarin with a minimum accent.

Mandarin is a tonal language. A slight variation of tones can mean a totally different thing.

By mastering Pinyin, it separates your child’s Mandarin from ordinary to extraordinary.

Suppose you don’t know what Pinyin is about, or you are still on the fence whether your child needs to learn Pinyin. In that case, hopefully, my posts below can convince you that Pinin is a MUST if you want your child to nail Mandarin Chinese.

What is Pinyin?

What forms Pinyin?

Why do children need to learn Pinyin?

What’s the best time to learn Pinyin?

How can kids learn and remember each Pinyin sound, the FUN way?

What can your child learn from the story I Can Read This is My Town?

A lot.

Your child will learn how to say the sentence: This Is (这是)… and,

the following 18 Chinese words/phrases that are frequently used in our daily life. They are:

警局 jǐng jú (police station), 小镇xiǎo zhèn (town), 餐馆cān guǎn (diner), 消防站xiāo fáng zhàn (fire station), 图书馆tú shū guǎn (library), 镇政府 zhèn zhèng fǔ(town hall), 爆米花tú shū guǎn (popcorn), 电影院diàn yǐng yuàn (movie theatre), 商店shāng diàn (store), 邮局yóu jú (post office), 公园gōng yuán (park), 学校xué xiào (school), 报社bào shè (newspaper office), 面包店miàn bāo diàn (bakery), 报纸bào zhǐ (newspaper), 邮件 yóu jiàn (mail).

See, now you know why I picked I Can Read This My Town to translate and for my daughter to read.

i can read this is my town read and learn chinese

By merely reading a book, your child can learn this many words, it’s a bargain.

Take as long as you need to help your child with these words and read this story.

If you don’t speak Mandarin, I made this video just for you.

In the first part of my video, I read the story first. Then, I’d teach your child and you how to pronounce the 18 Chinese words with the sound of Pinyin as well.

Don’t worry if you don’t know the Pinyin alphabets and the Chinese words yet. Have the flashcards ready (download first) and just try to sound them out with me.

Apart from reading, you can also play some Chinese word games for a change using the DIY mailbox.

A bit by bit. You and your child will eventually get there.

A personal story that turned a frustrated child to say “Yes, I Can”.

I’ll share with you one story that happened to us yesterday. It’s not learning Chinese, but it’s just as relevant when it comes to helping your child to learn.

My daughter is in Year 1 and just starting to learn the odd and even numbers. She kept making mistakes while playing the Mangahigh number games, which are a part of her homework.

She got so frustrated and didn’t want to do it anymore. Here is what I did to turn a frustrated child to a confident one in a matter of 10 minutes:

I took my daughter out in the backyard and wrote some large size 5-digit numbers 98,649 on the pavers with chalk. I then wrote the single digits 1,3,5,7,9 (odd), and 0,2,4,6,8,10(even) on the side as a reference.

I told my daughter the “secret” to identify whether a number is ODD or EVEN is ONLY TO LOOK AT THE LAST DIGIT. I also said to her NOT TO TELL ANYONE BECAUSE IT’S A SECRET with my usual secretive tone. It works believe me.

As an example, I then circled the last digit ‘9’ on the 5-digit number 98,649 I’ve drawn before. I emphasised to only looking for the last number, which was ‘9’ in our case, to determine whether the number is odd or even.

It’s test time. I wrote another 7-digit numbers 9,568,742 and asked her to tell me whether that’s an odd or even number.

She looked at the number 9,568,742, then turned her head to the single digits 1,3,5,7,9 (odd) and 0,2,4,6,8,10(even) reference numbers on the side.

You know what. It clicked! She told me exactly what the number 9,568,742 was, an even number! She’s learnt to only look at the last digit “2”.


Both my husband and I cheered for her.

She was so proud because all of a sudden, the large numbers are not scary for her anymore. She was so happy and kept saying “ yes yes I can do this now”.

Then, she started to write other numbers with many digits on the pavers and stomp on the odd and even numbers herself because she’s learnt the “SECRET”. It’s a game for her now.

There you have it. Before I end this post, I like to say that don’t compare your child’s Chinese level with other kids that you see on any of the social media platforms, yes including mine.

Why? It’s because you don’t know how long those kids have been learning and what environment they are being taught.

Focus on you and your child’s achievement and celebrate it. Your child will thrive on genuine appraises and encouragement.

Remember, reading and learning should be FUN for your child. If, at any time, that you see a sign of resistance in your child, then do something else and try a different way. You can figure out I’m sure.

We’re not perfect. If you don’t do it right the first time, try the second time until you get it right. The key is, don’t give up! Be the role model that you always want to be for your child.

As Barack Obama once said: yes, you can!


Have you started introducing Chinese reading to your child? What do you do when your child seemed not interested in Chinese? Love to hear from you and your “secret”. Leave your comments below or at Panda Mama Chinese Facebook to join the conversation.

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