A Parent's Guide to Mandarin Immersion

A Parent's Guide to Mandarin Immersion, is written by Elizabeth Weise and has been a wonderful resource for our family. When it comes to language immersion parenting, arming yourself with as much relevant information as possible will help you. Weise provides useful tips on ways to get involved, ways to understand and support what your child is learning, as well as best practices in parenting a language immersion student. Weise does a great job breaking into categories useful and easy to access information depending on your level of curiosity. She speaks to what goes into the decision of choosing immersion, who may question your decision or oppose you, history of the program and some of the major lingual differences you as a parent should understand.

Here are a few chapters I found extremely useful and you might too!

Chapter 4 - How Mandarin Immersion Works - This chapter explains the process behind immersion. One of the most important things to know here is that your child WILL NOT be fluent after the first or second year of school. Just as a baby takes time to learn his/her main language, it takes time to soak in the language. Our program focuses on verbal year one and the basics in writing year two.

Chapter 9 - Chinese 101 for Parents - This chapter is a wonderful introduction to some of major language difference between Chinese and English. It gives some insight into basic skills and how to’s that will be introduced to your child in the first few years of immersion. It covers topics like the four tones, names, tense, measure word, Pinyin and stroke order. All topics that may seem foreign when your kiddo tries to explain it.

Chapter 15 - How to Get More Chinese in Your Childs Life - This can be challenging for parents living in the United States. The good news is, every year it gets a little easier. Now with the growth of these immersion programs the access to bilingual books is growing and sometimes they offer QR codes or website links that will read these stories to you. There are bilingual YouTube channels with content for kids and my favorite, iPhone Siri informs me how to say things in other languages on the go. To prevent summer learning loss, language camps can be a fun way to get a little Chinese in over the summer!

I wish I would have had a copy of Weise’s book while we were determining if Mandarin Immersion was right for us. I really do! If your family chooses any immersion program, BE PREPARED to answer invasive and sometimes assertive questions from your family, friends and co-workers whom may challenge your thinking on the topic. As an Immersion mom, A Parent’s Guide to Mandarin Immersion, has been the most useful parental resource I have found thus far. 

Elizabeth Weise, is a USA TODAY national correspondent based out of San Francisco, she also writes and has significant involvement with the “Mandarin Immersion Parents Council”. Have you read or referenced this book? What did you think? Please share your insight in the comment section below!

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