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Little Reader Chinese Review

Disclosure: I’ve been asked to write a review on BrillKids Little Reader Chinese. This is my honest opinion on the curriculum.

Little Reader Chinese

Some time back I wrote a review about Little Reader. Today, I will be writing about Little Reader Chinese…

Little Reader Chinese runs on the same award-winning software program that runs Little Reader. By purchasing the Chinese curriculum, you can get up to 12 months worth of lessons cover 334 categories containing 3576 words, 2768 images, 5232 pronunciation files, 1138 picture audio and sound effects, and over 520 video clips. Just like Little Reader, Little Reader Chinese lessons comes with 3 professionally recorded voices, 3-5 quality images, 2-4 picture audio (word commentaries or sound effects), videos to better illustrate certain categories, such as animals and action words, and stories.

Little Reader Chinese is recorded in Mandarin and is available in traditional and simplified Chinese. Children will learn the pronunciation and written characters for a variety of words, sentences, and short stories. The lessons also includes a phonics component which teaches them how to read pinyin and to differentiate between the four tones.

At the end of this review, I will let you know how you can get a chance to win the Little Reader Chinese Curriculum for free. (Note: You will need to have the Little Reader software in order to use the Little Reader Chinese Curriculum).

Why We Chose Little Reader Chinese

I’ve always wanted my sons to learn Chinese. The problem is that I speak a very limited handful of words (with very poor pronunciation at that) and I can’t read or write Chinese. Although there are lots of Chinese flash cards available for sale, I couldn’t use those because I can’t read pinyin either.

My parents mistakenly believed that if they tried to teach my brother and I more than one language, we would get confused. They always assumed we could pick it up once we were older. Unfortunately, that never happened. Well, since then my brother’s fared better after spending a year working in Taiwan and then later in Beijing. Now that his wife also speaks Mandarin, he has all the opportunity to hone his Chinese speaking skills. I, on the other hand, have progressed no further beyond “Ni hao” and “xia xia”.

So Little Reader Chinese was my hope to bring Mandarin to my sons…

Our Experience with Little Reader Chinese

Strangely, despite the success we had with Little Reader, I can’t say the same for Little Reader Chinese. The problem wasn’t the program itself, but the language, ironically.

By the time I got my hot little hands on Little Reader Chinese, Aristotle was nearly three years old. Although he was past the age of being a citizen of the world and long past the first year of being a linguistic genius, I figured it was still worth a shot since I had the program. Unfortunately, he would have none of it. He resisted lessons and would cover his ears when I tried to offer him lessons.

It wasn’t just with Little Reader Chinese. I noticed it in Heguru class, too. Whenever the sensei read out the Chinese flash cards, he would cover his ears and refused to listen. Why didn’t he want to learn Chinese? I’m afraid I haven’t figured it out yet.

I figured that if I couldn’t get Aristotle to learn willingly, he might develop an interest if he saw Hercules learning the language. We did pretty well with Hercules initially. I would show him Little Reader Chinese lessons alongside his Little Reader and Little Math lessons. After a while, I noticed he was getting restless particularly during the Little Reader Chinese lessons. I thought perhaps the sessions were too long, but no matter how I arranged it, it was clear that he wasn’t as interested in his Little Reader Chinese lessons as he was in Little Reader or Little Math (his all time favourite). Eventually, indifference shifted to disinterest and he would wriggle out of my arms and move to another part of the room the moment the Chinese lessons began. He would only come back to me if I changed the lessons to Little Reader English or Little Math.

It was clear that both of my boys seem to have a negative reaction to Chinese. Although there are times when I wondered if it was Aristotle’s negative reaction towards the language that rubbed off on Hercules through one of those unspoken connection that siblings have with each other. I know it was Aristotle’s love for books that helped his brother catch on to the wonder of reading so it isn’t so hard to imagine that negativities rub off, too.

Do You Need to Know Chinese to Use Little Reader Chinese?

Obviously you don’t but I do think it helps if you do because you can reinforce what your child is learning throughout the day if you can speak Mandarin. That said, there are BrillKid members who have had better success than I have had in teaching their children Chinese without having any Chinese background themselves.

What Do I Think of Little Reader Chinese

We love Little Reader and we had a lot of success with it. I was hopeful to have the same results with Little Reader Chinese but it would appear that my lack of success is not due to any failing of the program but rather some intrinsic opposition from my sons towards the language itself. I am still hopely to teach them Mandarin in time to come and will be using Little Reader Chinese to supplement our lessons when they are older and better able to understand the value of understanding a second language. I believe that Little Reader Chinese can offer non-speaking parents the opportunity to teach their children Mandarin. It is an excellent resource for all parents (Mandarin-speaking and non-Mandarin-speaking alike) for teaching children to read and speak Mandarin.

Visit the BrillKids online shop and get the 10% off the Little Reader Chinese Curriculum by using this coupon code: BKAFF36716. This coupon code also applies to any other purchase of BrillKids products online.


NB: If you do not own the BrillKids Little Reader software, you will need to purchase it to use the Little Reader Chinese curriculum. 


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

14 thoughts on “Little Reader Chinese Review

  1. Hi Shen Li,

    I’ve already done all the above previously and would love a chance to win the Little Reader Chinese. And love your honest commentary on the success (or lack of it) with your kids.



  2. Hi Shen Li,

    I have done all the about before and wish i could win the Little Reader Chinese to teach my boy. I’ve been following your forum since long time ago… it’s so informative especially on the right brain education.

    Thanks a lot.


  3. Hi Shen, I also would like try. In order to cultivate a love for the Chinese language, I enrol Ben in Bao Bei. I saw the teachers were nice, friendly, patience and always smiling. That does not mean that they are always “yes” to the children but when they discipline, they are also firm as I have seen them in action as well. And they have games, etc…so far, Ben do love the language. The only problem is that since Bao Bei is flash card, he learns in words and hence, does not learn in context and unable to form sentences. Hub and I dont speak Mandarin. I guess at the end of the day, parents influence is still the BIGGEST.


  4. Hi Shen-Li,

    I’ve done all the steps above. Would love to get the Little Reader Chinese. I’ve been waiting for some time to be able to exchange my points from puchasing Little Reader and Little Math for Little Reader Chinese but Brillkids doesn’t have that coupon available yet. I myself studied Mandarin for 9 months in Beijing. This would be a great companion to teach my 3 sons, the eldest of which has been taking Mandarin lesson for the past 4 months. I’ve looked at other Chinese softwares based on your blog but I think this would be a great start to learning Mandarin.

    Thanks bunch.


  5. Hi SL,

    already a subscriber of your newsletter! thanks for all the insights. Would LOVE to have this program for my boys!



  6. Hi,
    Can your child learn a language you don’t speak, if they don’t have any interactions in that language?
    For your children’s reactions, I think it is quite common. For example, in bilingual homes like mine, the kids tend reject the minority language (the language that they don’t speak at school) quite strongly. It does not mean they don’t understand it but they often refuse to speak it. That’s the main issue I have with sharing my knowledge of languages with my daughter, it is that children are attracted to languages to communicate and they will therefore be attracted to the language which allows them to communicate more effectively (in my case in Australia,English).


    1. Thanks everyone for the support and entering the giveaway. I wish you all the best of luck.

      Abby – Without interaction in the second language, it is difficult for them to learn it, I agree. I have hope that they could because some mothers have been successful. If they have friends at school that can speak, hopefully, they can encourage it. Otherwise, the hope is that they familiarise with the language and retain some knowledge of it when they are older and able to focus on learning it as a second language.

      The best is if I were to learn the language myself and perhaps it will be good for me to dust off my brain and give it some exercise. I was reading recently that as we grow older, our brains slow down because it lacks the intense learning phases we went through in our youth. Learning a new language is one activity that can help exercise our “aging” brains and keep them sharp. If brain training is important for our children, it is even more important as we grow older and exercise our brains less. According to Michael Merzenich, doing all the activities we normally do like reading, and our day to day activities are insufficient because these are learned tasks that we have mastered. It is the difficult and new activities that we have yet to master that truly exercise our brains.


  7. Hi Shenli,

    Guess you are not alone.

    V could read most of the Chinese books I taught, ( because I exerted some guilding force in it, so she could read almost 800 words by now from the books), but I notice she isnt reading it willingly except some Chinese comic books on historian great men and story on ancient Chinese titled ” SUN WU KUNG” and those were all she read, and she isn’t showing any initiative at all to want to learn this language further on her own or to learn beyond the books I mentioned, on which I think it should be easier to her if she really wants to pick up this language.

    Worse still, this morning I was just ” struggling” to teach her basic maths concepts, its pronunciations and its meanings in Chinese such as ” the sum of” ” divide” ” plus” “minus” ” unit” ” ten” “hundreds”….Imagine my plight of having to start from scratch to translate the Maths work book in Chinese when she has already passed that phases of learning such basic Maths concepts in English long long time ago………Desirous to know if she could cope with her works in Chinese School in near future.

    MUST I let her study in Chinese School to learn Chinese when I have also heard many parents said to me she would let go this language if she were to go to any International School. SO……

    So, should I sign up to Little Reader Chinese Program ? I think, yes.


  8. Hi Shenli
    I hv done 1,2,3 of the above. Hubby n I don’t know Chinese but we do hope dat our gal be exposed to another language. hope this program would b able to help. Thanks!


  9. Hi Shen Li

    I would like to have the chance to win Little Reader Chinese. I have subscribed to your newsletter and also done 2 & 3. Just want to say I love reading your blog – it also saves me a lot of time doing all the research myself!! Thank you.


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