Monday, February 17, 2014


I hope this blog will help and inspire parents who are trying to raise bilingual and bi-literate children in Chinese and English in the US.  

The information contained here is geared mostly to families where at least one parent speaks Chinese fluently at home.  I shall refer their children as children of Chinese heritage (CCH).  As most of you parents are very much aware, it is extremely difficult even for families with TWO native speaker parents to raise their children to speak Chinese even semi-fluently still by late teens, regardless of intelligence, resource, or will.  Their Chinese reading and writing skill are more often than not even more lacking or almost nonexistent.

Obviously, success in Chinese education is in the eyes of the beholder. My definition of success in Chinese education is as follows.  By the time the children enroll in college, they can STILL do the following:

1) Listening: understand colloquial conversation and mass media at ~ 5th-6th grade level. This likely include most TV shows, soap opera, and basic news reporting.
2) Speaking: converse in Chinese fluently and comfortably for extended period of time on activities of daily living and grade school subjects, adding only occasional or some English words or phrases, especially if they technical terms.  I think good fluency and correct syntax/expression are more important than truly authentic accent.  
3) Reading: read comic books in Chinese fluently and at ~5th grade competently WITHOUT phonetics.  I believe this would encompass romance/kung fu novels AND novels like Chinese edition of Harry Porter, which is grade school material in English or Chinese.
4) Writing: know how to write Chinese characters with the right stroke sequence even without having learned the character before and be able to do simple writings at 3-4th grade level. 

I believe this level of command in Chinese would be equivalent to about 4-5th grade level in predominantly Chinese speaking countries or territories and will allow the next generation to be able to teach their own children the basics in Chinese also.

Obviously, these are extremely high standards in the US, achieved by few families and children.  Over the past 20 years or so in the US, I have, unfortunately, yet to personally know a single person born and raised in the US who has achieved this.  But then I don't live in California or southern California for that matter.  Obviously, I am not referring to children who received a few years of schooling in Chinese speaking countries.  

I have visited a few websites whose authors offer advices on bilingual parenting in Chinese and English in the US.  However, I have yet to find one whose author appears to be having success on this path or has succeeded to some extent.  At this point, my daughters are almost 8 and 11 and I am proud to say that we have had success so far (keeping my fingers crossed).  It is my hope that, through this blog, I can learn from families who have successfully navigated this path before, connect with other families on this path, explore commonalities that contribute to each family's success, and, finally, offer these knowledge to other families trying to get on this path. 
I want to emphasize that I am NOT a scholar in bilingual education, just a parent intent on successfully navigating this path.

If you are a parent passionate about raising your children in such bilingual manner, please visit my Facebook group page:  


  1. I recently came across your blog and was curious if you would be willing to share the names of the textbooks you have used for your children.

    1. Hi Tracy. They are simply regular public school textbooks from Taiwan. Nothing fancy. I think there are different versions for the same grade and they change over time. But no big deal, any of those would do. It would be nice to get the accompanying teacher guide or workbook. You can write me privately at if you want more information.