This post is sponsored by Curio
When I was younger, I went to Chinese school. I spent 8 years of Friday nights during my elementary and middle school years trying to learn how to speak, read, and write in Cantonese. My parents rarely spoke Cantonese at home and Cantonese books and resources weren’t readily available so I never really retained what I was taught in class. I wish Curio had been available to my parents to help me learn Chinese when I was young.
About Curio Bilingual Books Boxes
Curio believes good stories matter. Their subscription book club for little bilingual kids focuses on inspiring curiosity, empathy, and culture through great stories from around the world.
Curio boxes feature personalized content in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, or Simplified Chinese for kids aged 0-10+. Every quarter, subscribers receive a package that’s tailored to the age of their child. The box contains 3-4 award-winning picture books, reading guides, and YouTube audio read-alongs.
Hera Li, Founder and CEO of Curio, found enjoyable screen-free foreign language immersion was hard to find. Books were too simple and rarely went beyond “The dog barked at the cat.” She founded Curio to bridge the gap. Curio puts award-winning children’s literature from global publishers in the hands of families in the United States who want their kids to learn Chinese or Spanish.
Curio boxes embrace beautiful languages, stories, and customs that come from your own heritage and those around you. Curio helps kids learn Chinese and Spanish by working with a team of bilingual educators who meticulously curate and create personalized content that’s just right for your child. This results in a beautiful collection of personalized learning materials tailored to your child’s interests to foster bilingualism.
How Curio Books and Resources Help Kids Learn Chinese
To get a sense of how Curio helps kids learn Chinese, Hera sent me a customized box featuring books in Simplified and Traditional Chinese for kids ages 4-6 and 7-10. I love how personalized the box felt before I even opened it.
The bright yellow speech bubble sticker affixed to the outside featured Chinese characters and my name. This would be a delight for any child who would instantly know the box was for them!
Inside I found a cheery yellow card with information about the company, darling graphics, and a personalized note from Hera.
My box contained three different books. I had asked to see examples of their Simplified and Traditional Chinese books and accompanying reading guides. Note: Subscribers choose from either Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, or Spanish as well as an age group that matches their child.
The reading guides feature a thumbnail photo of each book’s cover which is helpful for knowing which guide goes with each book.
The book I received for ages 4-6 featured a lion holding a rabbit by the ears. The reading guide didn’t have the title of the book in English under the Chinese characters but the Curio website told me the book was called Lion vs. Rabbit.
Even though my very limited Chinese prevented me from reading the title and characters inside the book, the overview on the right side of the reading guide provided a wonderful summary.
From the overview, I learned the book was about a lion and rabbit and a challenge issued by the King of the Jungle to the little rabbit. The overview contained themes found in the book such as bullying, how brains can be important than brawn, and the importance of always working together. Having a summary of the book is helpful to engage your child in conversations about what they’re reading to encourage their bilingualism, even if you’re talking about the book in English.
The follow-up questions on the right-hand side of the reading guide serve as comprehension questions. Not only do they contain the questions, but they also include the answers for non-reading Chinese caregivers. The variety of questions are well suited to the 4-6 age group.
Some follow-up questions are easier, others are harder. This allows families to choose which ones are most age appropriate. An example of an easier question for younger ages involves finding real life examples of objects that are big like the lion or small like the rabbit. An older child would be better able to answer the geography question that involves pointing out the origins of the animals who competed against the lion on a map.
The upper right corner of the reading guide contains a glossary with 6 vocabulary words. I appreciate that the written Chinese characters are accompanied by a phonetic pronunciation and the written word in English.
While not suggested by Curio, I think a great activity for any child learning Chinese would be to search through the book and count to see how many times they can find each of the words from the glossary in the text. Kids ages 4-6 could choose a word, open the book, and search for the character as they re-read the book to reinforce vocabulary. As children become more familiar with the text, they’ll be able to pick out characters more quickly. This is a sign of growing understanding and fluency.
The lion rabbit book also came with a reading guide in Chinese whereas Little Neighbor, the Traditional Chinese book I received for ages 7-10, did not. Perhaps this was just a mistake because Little Neighbor came with two copies of the reading guide in English. Fortunately, Curio makes resources available for all the books in their boxes through the Learning Resources Library on their website.
The Learning Resources Library also features audio read-alongs for each of the books that come in the boxes.
Little Neighbor’s reading guide also featured an overview of the book, 6 vocabulary words in the glossary, and 4 follow-up questions.
I appreciate how the Little Neighbor questions focused on being helpful, inclusive, and helping others feel better. These are fundamental soft skills that are important to building character education in kids of all ages.
There are also fun extras like stickers and coloring pages featuring the Curio cat, rabbit, unicorn, and bear found on other branded items in the box. Besides being fun, the coloring pages are a great way for young kids to practice fine motor skills. Tracing hello in Spanish or the Chinese characters reinforces emerging writing skills, especially for ages 4-6.
The stickers I received included positive sayings in Spanish and English with each of the 4 Curio animals. I love that families whose kids receive the Chinese box also get materials in Spanish to foster knowledge of other languages and encourage global citizenship from a young age.
Curio Summary & Subscription Information
Just launched in May, Curio is a welcome addition to the myriad subscription boxes that exist for kids. The thoughtful curation of books and resources are perfect for families who are encouraging their children to learn Chinese or Spanish but may not speak the language fluently themselves. The gorgeous picture books encourage a love of reading in a different language. Reading guides encourages caregivers to have conversations with their kids about what they’re reading to encourage a love of reading in a different language.
The free audio read-alongs on Curio’s YouTube channel are helpful for kids to follow along with as they read and help children with pronunciation.
Curio has 3 different age-appropriate subscription boxes available to help kids learn Chinese or Spanish:
- Bud Box for ages 0-3 focuses on phonics and build recognition of syllables, words, and sounds
- Sprout Box for ages 4-6 feature chronological stories with poetic and more complex concepts
- Bloom Box for ages 7-10 include imaginative stories with thought provoking lessons
The subscription price of $54.95/box is well worth it for the high-quality books that are difficult to find elsewhere and the educational supporting resources that encourage bilingualism. Get 20% off of your first box when you sign up for their email list on their website.
Curio boxes can be purchased from their website for your child or as a gift. Boxes ship every 90 days and subscriptions can be cancelled and changed at any time.
Huge thanks to Curio for sending me a box of assorted books in Traditional and Simplified Chinese to facilitate this sponsored post.