Although my 5-year-old daughter began to write English and Korean before age 3, we have been taking it slow and steady with Chinese writing. Chinese characters have several important rules for stroke order and balance which can be overwhelming for young learners. But my daughter has a solid foundation now; she can copy almost any word that she wants and write some from memory, too! Copywork has been her low-stress idea of practicing Chinese writing! This child-led approach has improved my daughter’s writing motivation, skills, and stamina!
Child-led Chinese writing practice
Since my daughter is only 5-years-old, we currently don’t have a strict writing schedule. Right now, a child-led approach works best, and she finds inspiration in copying song lyrics! Chinese music has been one of the most fun ways to learn the language, and she enjoys copying while singing her favorite songs.
Sometimes, she wants to write pages of new words. Other times, she’ll go for days or weeks without writing anything new, because she’s learning other things in life (eg, mastering the monkey bars, playing new piano songs). You’ve probably noticed the same with your kids – that their development and interest might come in waves. We experience that all the time, too! However, after seeing her learning patterns over the past few years, I trust that she will learn the necessary skills more efficiently if I can be flexible about encouraging self-motivation by acknowledging her interests.
Benefits of copywork
Copywork has been a common learning strategy for centuries. Copying down works of other writers allows the writer to connect with the piece without the pressure of generating new ideas. Instead, the writer can focus on each Chinese stroke and radical component, remembering Chinese characters, and creating healthy writing habits.
What works to copy
Currently, my daughter has chosen 讚美之泉 Stream of Praise Chinese Christian Music for her copywork. In addition to music, children can copy favorite stories!
Copywork on worksheets, mini-books, and greeting cards
Since my daughter loves to make greeting cards and little booklets for our family, we currently are not using writing grids. As she matures, I will encourage her to practice using traditional Chinese worksheets. Copywork can also be collected in personal journals and diaries.
Where to find printable Chinese lyrics
- CHALK Academy – printable Chinese song lyrics in simplified and traditional Chinese
- Spot of Sunshine – printable Chinese song lyrics in simplified and traditional Chinese