Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reading Comprehension- Learning Chinese

 ***Important!! Remember that we are having a reading comprehension quiz on Saturday. If you will not be in class on Saturday, you MUST email me by Friday night to let me know so that I can send you the quiz to take at home.***

OK, everyone, let's crank up our brains for some heavy-duty reading comprehension practice! The other day in class, we discussed how to find the main idea and supporting details of a written text. We talked about the fact that the main idea of a text is the topic (or more simply: what is the text about?). The, we went on to discuss and (hopefully) understand that supporting details are extra pieces of information that help explain the main idea.

Your Task:

1.) Read the article, "Learning Chinese", that is included at the end of this blog post.

2.) You will receive some strips of paper with sentences on them. With a partner,  look at your sentence strips and try to identify which strip has the main idea in the article, and which strips have three supporting details to help explain it. There may be more than three supporting details, but you only need to find three. Try to put the strips of paper in order, with the main  idea first, and the supporting details coming after it. At the end of the activity, you should only have FOUR strips of paper in front of you.

Here is the article:

Learning Chinese

Jingjing Wu greets her American students as they enter the room. "Ni hao [nin how]," she says. In Mandarin Chinese, ni hao means "hello." For the next hour, Chinese is all that the children will hear. They are learning the language through songs, games and talking. "They pick it up really fast," Wu says. "Kids remember so much."

The students go to Lomond Elementary School, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Each week, all students in grades 1 through 5 in this school district have a one-hour Chinese class. "We're trying to generate great interest in the language," school official James J. Paces told TFK.

Other U.S. schools are too. Ten years ago, about 300 schools had Chinese programs. Today, about 1,600 schools teach Chinese. "China is becoming a real powerhouse nation," says Nancy C. Rhodes, a language expert. "It makes sense that we have young people who not only know the language, but understand the culture."

One-fifth of the world's people live in China. Its products, including clothes, toys and electronics, are sold around the world. More people speak Chinese than any other language.

Starting Young

Yinghua (yeeng-hwa) Academy is a K–8 Chinese immersion school in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Instead of studying only the language itself, students learn all of their subjects in Chinese. They don't start to use English in class until they are in the second grade.

"When you're younger, it's easier to learn a different language," says fifth grader Zoë Lindberg. She has been studying Chinese since kindergarten. Experts say that it's best to start language instruction early.

Opening Doors 

"If you know how to speak Mandarin Chinese, you open a huge door for yourself," says Yinghua's academic director, Luyi Lien.

In Shaker Heights, Paces agrees. "It's really important that all children receive this instruction," he says. "We'd like to do even more."

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