Great Content at Your Fingertips
YouTube can be a great resource for parents of children who are learning Chinese. A few years ago, while spending time with a friend, I noticed her three year-old daughter watching videos on YouTube. This wouldn’t be remarkable, except for the fact that my friend is Japanese and her daughter was watching Japanese-language videos. Of course, I thought, there is probably lots of great content on YouTube that can helps parents give their kids input in a target language. Although the website is blocked in mainland China, there and lots of videos of Chinese-language story books available on the site, mostly uploaded by native speakers. YouTube’s suggestions on the right-hand column help parents navigate to new resources as well.
How to Select the Best YouTube Videos
Plopping a kid in front of a video is not sufficient to help him/her learn a new language, however. There are several considerations to making sure that this is a good resource for your child:
- Make sure that your child is already familiar with the text or at least the majority of words in the text. Remember that acquiring a new language requires comprehensible input, if a child can’t understand what is being said, there is no point to listening to five minutes of a story.
- Repetition is useful. Young children’s seemingly inexhaustible tolerance for hearing the same stories over and over again comes in handy since they will likely need to see and hear the same words several times to map the sounds of words to their characters.
Below are some examples of Chinese-language stories available on YouTube.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Chinese (traditional characters):
Brown Bear, Brown Bear in Chinese:
David Gets in Trouble in Chinese (the narrator is a child, which I kind of like):
More Reading Resources: