There are so many Chinese learning resources out there – how do we choose? It’s important to know what you’re getting because it’s such an investment of time and money. The worst situation is to pay for something that’s not used.
We surveyed the families that use the Dim Sum Warriors Club for how they use their membership – so that you have a clear picture of what we are offering and if it’s something suitable for your kids.
How much does the Dim Sum Warriors Club cost?
The Dim Sum Warriors Club’s yearly membership is S$199 and it works out to about S$16.50 (US$11.90) a month—which is pretty much about the same price as:
- One paperback book; or
- 2 Ice Chocolate Black Tea with Earl Grey Jelly Frappuccinos at Starbucks; or
- 1 medium-sized plate of Hokkien Mee at my favorite Hokkien Mee stall at Geylang Lorong 29.
For S$199 a year or $16.50 a month, you get :
- 19 Livestreams/month or 228 Livestreams/ year with an expert cartoonist and Chinese teacher
- 100+ draw along videos. Updated weekly.
- 100+ quizzes, bilingual quizzes. Updated weekly.
- Hanyu Pinyin Vocabulary lists for all the all stories in the app.
- and, a mobile app with funny comics with Chinese and English reading aloud evaluation. Stories are updated regularly.
What can I get from the Dim Sum Warriors that I can’t already get with other Chinese learning resources?
Let’s take a look at a few categories of online Chinese learning resources.
One-on-one or one-to-small group Online Tutoring Classes
Many parents choose this option because good tutors do a great job of boosting kids’ knowledge of Singapore MOE curriculum. Vitamin M does a good job of making the Singapore Chinese curriculum fun and engaging for students. LingoAce is another provider of one-on-one tutoring for students wanting to master the Singapore MOE curriculum or the HSK curriculum. These classes tend to be in the range of S$15-S$21/ class or runs about S$120-$168/ month assuming 2 classes per week.
Unlike these more structured and MOE-syllabus aligned offerings, The Dim Sum Warriors Club offers live-streamed draw-along classes with a lot of everyday Chinese at a much lower price point. So, if you’re looking for syllabus-aligned classes, the Dim Sum Warriors is not a good match – look at Vitamin M and LingoAce instead. If you’re looking for a daily dose of everyday relatable Chinese, and your kids love to draw, then the Dim Sum Warriors Club offers something that you don’t get anywhere else. See how other families are using the Dim Sum Warriors Club to build a daily routine for bilingual children.
Leveled Reader Apps
One of the biggest issues for us as parents is finding suitable and engaging reading that are appropriate for our children’s levels of reading. And frankly, reading aloud to our kids can be quite tiring … if we have to repeat reading the stories many times.
Mandarin leveled readers with voice overs for the elementary years include: WaWaYaYa JoyReader Pro, costs about S$11.30/month and provides. iHuman Reading Package with an app priced at about S$46/year.
If you’re looking for a systematic way of getting your kids to learn basic words and characters at certain levels, these readers are suitable for you. These leveled reading solutions which are more focused on specific vocabulary rather than engaging stories. They are great for character-recognition as they repeat the targeted vocabulary. Because of this focus, most users will find that the sentences and stories get a little repetitive – they match the students’ linguistic level, but not cognitive levels or sense of humor. These leveled readers are great for learning Chinese characters.
The stories in the Dim Sum Warriors mobile app, included in the Dim Sum Warriors Club, are focused on being entertaining for kids and matching their cognitive level and sense of humor. The goal is to get kids reading for pleasure. The Dim Sum Warriors stories are stories that kids would seek out on their own because they find the stories funny.
The key difference is that for most leveled readers, the starting point is the vocabulary and the stories are created around word lists. For the Dim Sum Warriors stories, the starting point is ideas that kids find relatable and funny, and stories are created around those ideas. In fact, the stories are created by international award-winning writers. The Dim Sum Warriors stories rely on funny illustrations, hilarious stories, and translanguaging support to provide scaffolding for learners to understand content in Chinese that matches their cognitive level and sense of humor.
5 Ways Real Members are Using the Dim Sum Warriors Club
To really answer the question of whether the Dim Sum Warriors Club is worth it or a match for your needs, it’s best to hear from current members to see how they have been using the membership. They don’t all use ALL the resources (in fact, most feel like there are actually too many resources!)
Here are examples of how families are using Dim Sum Warriors in their own words. You can choose the parts of the membership that makes sense to you:
#1 We use the Dim Sum Warriors Club to build a routine for daily Chinese input
The emphasis on drawing and the visual approach to learning is highly unique to Dim Sum Warriors.
“We love the LIVE sessions because my boys feel a personal connection during those sessions. It’s become a routine for us: 4 nights at 8.30pm is Chengyu time, and 3 Saturdays a month, it’s the more structured Jam sessions.
When we are at home, we get ready a little ahead of time, so the boys set up their drawing supplies and their notebooks. They have one just for Chengyu that is filling up fast. We project from our computer to our TV so the image is large and the kids are drawing along.
Making it a routine means that the kids would get excited that it’s Chengyu time or it’s Jam time. They build familiarity with the daily chengyu and the everyday language that they are hearing through the Chengyu and Jam sessions.
So my recommendations are to (1) have a set notebook for drawing (2) make it a routine and the kids will feel quite accomplished when they have collected all their drawings and writing over time.
One night we had to go to the emergency room and the boys actually wanted to keep to their 8.30pm commitment and they watched the broadcast on a mobile phone and drew in their iPad!” — Jocelyn, Educational Researcher and Former Classroom Teacher, Mom of Jude, 9 and Joshua, 6
#2 We use the Dim Sum Warriors Club livestream Comic Jam draw-along to get the whole family learning together
Many families join in the live-stream as family so they can learn together and actually have educational bonding time:
“My daughter’s cousins came over and they were all participating in the Jam.” — Ching Ching, Mom of Lorelle, 10
“All three kids in our family participate at the same time.” — Tom, Grandad of 3 Grandchildren aged 9, 7, 5
“I didn’t know I could draw and I found myself drawing along too!” — Swee Pei, Homeschooling Mom of Lenny, 17; Linus, 12; Lara, 10; and Luther, 7
“Drawing together is actually quite a nice time for bonding.” — Valerie, Mom of Gabby, 7
“Grandma would participate too and chat about the Mandarin terms that are mentioned.” — Jocelyn, Educational Researcher and Former Classroom Teacher, Mom of Jude, 9 and Joshua, 6
#3 We use the Members-Only resources to draw and learn at our own pace
“We aren’t always able to attend the Livestream sessions but we catch up with the sessions through the Jam archive online.
We set a time every week to catch up. My son quite enjoys drawing along, and I know that when he’s on Dim Sum Warriors, I don’t have to worry because it’s educational screen time.
He especially likes the review videos because he can pause at any time to finish up a part of what he’s working on, and if I have to be busy on something, I can leave him on it for a while.” — Jacqueline, Former Pre-School Teacher and Mom of a 12 Yr-Old Daughter and 7 yr-Old Son
#4 We read the stories in the app to increase reading for pleasure in Chinese and English. It actually works for different levels of learners.
“My kids like recording and listening to themselves reading the lines.”
“My daughter finds the stories hilarious.” — Swee Pei, Homeschooling Mom of Lenny, 17; Linus, 12; Lara, 10; and Luther, 7
“You’d be surprised at how kids connect with these short stories, even those who may not enjoy Chinese language. Sometimes mine ask to read the same story multiple times in a row…. My older daughter is taking her PSLE and she’s not so confident of her read aloud, and so she actually practices with the Voice Practice function in the App. My son who is 7, enjoys that too and they challenge each other to see who can get three hearts.” — Jacqueline, Former Pre-School Teacher and Mom of a 12 Yr-Old Daughter and 7 yr-Old Son
“My older son reads the stories more in Chinese because he finds it fun, and the other reads it more in English.” — Jocelyn, Educational Researcher and Former Classroom Teacher, Mom of Jude, 9 and Joshua, 6
“It’s all too hard for my daughter, but I’ve seen how she switches languages, and listens and repeats the sounds in Chinese, so it really gets her used to the sounds. And the thing is, she actually understands it because of the pictures, and because she can understand the English version.” — Valerie, Mom of Gabby, 7
#5 We use the Dim Sum Warriors Club as a safe creative space
“My daughter loves to draw and Dim Sum Warriors works for her because of her connection to drawing. Honestly, I didn’t think I could draw much, but I’m drawing along during the Club sessions too!” — Swee Pei, Homeschooling Mom of Lenny, 17; Linus, 12; Lara, 10; and Luther, 7
“During the CLUB jam sessions, my daughter is always curious about what it’s like to mash things together. She’s always thinking “What would be really funny to see? She enjoys the funny banter during the CLUB jam sessions. Dim Sum Warriors has given my daughter a channel to show off her creativity.”
“It’s a welcoming and supportive community and everyone is contributing. It’s a safe environment for her creative ideas. She gets the feedback on her ideas, and nobody says any harsh things. There’s no judgement.” — Shimin, Works in the Civil Service, Mom of ZZ, 10
# Bonus – you can use Dim Sum Warriors to extend the learning and the creating
“We used the Chengyu list in the Club Members resources. We printed out the list and then went to the Dim Sum Warriors Chengyu Dictionary and covered all the chengyu items. We talked about why Uncle Colin decided to draw that way and whether it was a good representation of the Chengyu. We found a few where the kids would have drawn the pictures differently” — Swee Pei, Homeschooling Mom of Lenny, 17; Linus, 12; Lara, 10; and Luther, 7
“Recently my son had to write and essay and was asked to put in many Chengyu. So we went to the Chengyu Dictionary and keyed in words in English for him to search. So for example, when he wanted to describe “angry”, he keyed that in and all the ‘angry’ chengyus came up. He did very well in that essay!” — Jocelyn, Educational Researcher and Former Classroom Teacher, Mom of Jude, 9 and Joshua, 6
“We read the stories together and so, whenever something comes up that connects to the stories, we extend the learning. So when we saw a hole in the road the other day, we connected to book #8 “There’s a Hole” and I got my son to imagine what would be in the hole. We have also extended the learning by using the characters created to create the stories and messages on his own.” — Jacqueline, Former Pre-School Teacher and Mom of a 12 Yr-Old Daughter and 7 yr-Old Son
“So because one session, we were drawing superheroes, the kids started creating their own superheroes. My son came up with the idea of Kiap Kiap man where his power is that he can pick up anything in tight corners or high up with his extendable Kiap Kiap arms.” — Swee Pei, Homeschooling Mom of Lenny, 17; Linus, 12; Lara, 10; and Luther, 7
So, who is the Dim Sum Warriors Club suitable for?
The kids who love the Dim Sum Warriors Club tend to:
Have a quirky sense of humor