< img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1328032254709898&ev=PageView&noscript=1" />
Parent Spotlight from Phalaen

Phalaen: Just start reading and make it a game!

This week’s Parent Spotlight is Phalaen and although she has not been teaching her 3 year old Sagebooks for very long, they are already over half way through the 5 sets. It’s inspiring to watch her progress via the weekly goal threads on our Facebook Group and while we’d like to take the credit for all her hard work, we know it’s because she is very consistent!

Family Background

This week’s Parent Spotlight – Phalaen is a native Mandarin speaker, born and raised in Taiwan until she was twelve. Her husband is American and doesn’t speak Chinese. She speaks Chinese to her three children.


3.5 year old son (started: right before 3; progress: ~6 months)
15 month old twin daughters (not applicable)

In her own words

Why did you choose Sagebooks?

I was researching how best to teach my son Chinese (character first vs bo po mo fo) and was reading many blogs (especially Guavarama’s) about people’s journey. Many people mentioned Sagebooks. I was on the fence because they are not cheap. But it happened that a local family was done with the set and I got them for a good price so I decided to give them a try.

What was your experience with going through Sagebooks?

My son was about 3 weeks away from his 3rd birthday when we started. It has been 5 months and we are at Volume 3, Book 3 right now. We flew through the first set (with me deliberately slowing down the pace) and hit a roadblock around Volume 2, Book 2/3. Right now we are back on track with Volume 3. On average, we do 1 book every 1.5 to 2 weeks.

What did your typical lesson look like? Did you do additional activities?

We read before he goes to bed every night. It is a habit we started when he was 1 year old.  Now I just substitute one of the books with Sagebooks. We typically do 5 lessons a day.

First day I would just read the whole thing while pointing out characters for all five lessons and my son would follow along. Second day I would leave out certain characters for him to read out on his own. Third day, he can usually just read all 5 lessons on his own. Then if he shows any sign of being bored, on the fourth day, we move to another 5 new lessons and repeat the process.

Before we move on to the next book, my son would have to be able to read the current book from cover to cover on his own. I would make a game when he gets bored. For example, I read odd pages while he reads even pages or I read odd number lessons while he reads the others.

I have done very few additional activities besides the first 2 months (life happened….). I made magnetic characters and arranged them in phrases on the blackboard. My son then read the phrases out loud. He liked being videotaped so that was his motivation for reading new phrases.  We were on a road trip and when he got bored in the car, he asked me to write short stories (<10 short sentences) so he can recite them back to me.

What did you like about Sagebooks? Was there anything you didn't?
I like the story lines. They are very suitable for young toddlers. My son can’t wait to get to the end of each book to find out what happens. I wish there’s a version with traditional characters and zhuyin that my son can practice zhuyin at the same time.
If you have more than one child, would you do it again?

Of course! I am planning on doing it with my twin daughters (who’s 15 months) in 2 years. They like flipping through Sagebooks now with my son so who knows if I might start them earlier.

Any advice for parents who are just starting?

Just start reading and make it a game! I never thought my son would be able to retain so many characters in that little head of his. I thought it was a waste of effort but decided it was worth a try. Some told me to start him later but hey, you never know if your kid is ready until you try. My son refers to Sagebooks as his 山 books.

Thanks so much for taking the time to detail your process, Phalaen! We wish you the best of luck (although we all know luck has little to do with it) for the rest of the series.

If you would like to be a featured parent, please let us know.


很多家長都已是我們 Facebook 群組【講媽 · 講爸園地】 的成員。歡迎你也加入我們,一起互相鼓勵和支持,共同為孩子的學習而努力。

Many parents are already part of our Facebook Group. If you’d like to take advantage of the collective wisdom of your fellow parents, please join us.

Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.