I am currently on a mission to teach sonshine Mandarin words. One of the 2 words i am teaching this week is '目' which i find quite difficult to explain to a child. So i came up with an ingenious plan- at least that's what I think.
I remember we learnt about 'Homophones': words that sound the same but spelled differently & have different meanings. This N knows very well.
Sonshine knows how to read the word '木'. So i took out the 2 word cards '木' and '目'. I told him i'll be showing him chinese homophones. I asked him to first read '木' and then i showed him the word '目' and told him that this word sounds exactly the same. I asked him if these words are spelled the same? To which he said, 'no'. But do they sound the same? He said 'yes'. And that was it.
The second time, i showed him the '目' card and ask him to read out for me. He read it out aloud without any hesitation. I knew my ingenious plan had worked! *WINK* of course, i didn't let him off without explaining the meaning to him (i'll share this another time).
The other word is '眉'. Unlike the word '目', this word can be explained by using a picture. But my challenge is getting sonshine to remember how it sounds. The first couple of times, sonshine couldn't remember how to pronounce the word though he knows the meaning. So, i ditched the card and stopped asking him to read out the word. I reiterated what the word meant and kept asking him, '你的眉毛在那里?'. Though he knows where to point, what word it is, i just kept repeating the question while emphasizing the word '眉'. The purpose was to let him hear the word as many times as possible. When i thought it has finally drilled into him, i whipped out the card and asked him read to me. No sweat. YIPPEEE!