Post Sagebooks and "8-pagers"

Ever since my big kid completed Sage, I always wonder what’s next? While I don’t *love* Sage, it's great at being "open & go" which is so attractive for a busy parent! It’s set up to be used everyday, with the right amount of repetition to teach the first 500 characters. But when we finished, it wasn’t obvious what’s next

We ended up using 8-pagers, LOVED how confidence-building they were, and leaned hard into them (see our Greenfield highlight on Instagram!)

Once he can comfortably read those, the question came up again: What’s next? . most picture & bridge books were STILL out of his reading level

Enter Little Jumping Bean stories!

tbh I used to think LJB was too "preachy", and the themes/plots were uninspiring lolol

But, as I’ve learned from 8-pagers, the kinds of books for learning to read, and the kinds of books for a good story… are different 😝 They both have their place

On first read of LJB, it actually felt like a big jump from 8-pagers (much longer + many unfamiliar words/grammar). I almost put it away because it felt a little soul-crushing (reading shouldn't feel that way!)

Inspired by some research though on building fluency in English, I decided to try something new. Apparently it's helpful to hear a "fluent" reader read first, followed by repeated reading of the same text!

I dunno why it never occurred to me (It's clear I'm not a teacher by training 😅). My kid always read 8-pagers "sight unseen" and moved on to a diff book next day

Nowadays, we read the *same* LJB book for about a week:

  • 👉 Day 1: I read fully in colloquial Canto (it felt important that he got to enjoy the story first, and comprehend it, before we work on character recognition + written Chinese syntax)
  • 👉 Day 2: I read in written Chinese; this is the actual first read by a "fluent reader"
  • 👉 Day 3-4: We swap reading pages aloud
  • 👉 Day 5: He's read the entire book once by now. Depending on how fluent he was, I either move on to a diff book, or read this for 2 more days

This routine is working pretty well so far? It's SO much less tiring as he's not worried about comprehension AND character recognition, and he's also retaining things more

Technically this routine can work with any other book, so what makes Little Jumping Bean books special for us?

  1. The consistency in book length and format: Since we're working on reading stamina, the consistent length (24 pages) helps us know where we're at with that. The regular format means it's also one less "new thing" my child has to become familiar with, and one less thing to worry about (less cognitive load!)
  2. Recurring cast: Related to the above point around cognitive load, having the same cast of characters is another form of "familiarity" and one less thing to have to grapple with when it comes to comprehension
  3. Relatable stories: While the stories aren't particularly "inspiring", they're super relatable for young children. You'll see stories around first day of school, potty training, seeing the doctor, sibling rivalry, all of which are things they encounter at this stage of their lives.
  4. Clear readable text: The text is very clear, is large enough, and very readable (can't the same for all picture books, where text is sometimes set on the worst backgrounds 🙈)
  5. Reading pen compatible (with Cantonese audio!): I love that these books work with the Sunya reading pen. And it includes Cantonese audio in spoken form (great for comprehension) and written form (great for character recognition!) It means that my child can independently read (or practice reading) this even if there isn't a fluent speaker around :)

What about you? What do you use post Sage? ❤️

Bonus feature of the Little Jumping Bean books? It comes with a reading pen that reads the text in Cantonese (BOTH spoken and written form), and Mandarin!

An example of the child working through reading aloud a Little Jumping Bean book. If you watch til the end, you can see the moment he realized he can recognize a character he struggled a lot with in the past 🥰

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