ZB Schools is a reading platform created by Lian He Zao Bao （联合早报）for pupils in primary and secondary school. They have many great articles and videos with features to help pupils understand the articles and learn new vocabulary.
Here are some recommended pages.
The articles in 生活故事 are quite similar to those that we can see in comprehension. As Chinese teachers, it is also our duty to impart moral values to pupils, which is why comprehension passages often involve a story to teach pupils about love, respect, perseverance etc. You can find many articles related to moral values over here. Read with your children and get them to think about what the story is trying to tell us.
Ink 创作- 小作家
These model compositions are written by primary school pupils across Singapore. Pupils can read and learn from the model compositions here. To make learning effective, pupils can keep an exercise book in hand and jot down the expressions/ phrases which they are able to learn so they may refer to the book when they write their own compositions. When reading, also take note of the plot. Certain story lines can be used for multiple titled compositions (命题作文), so pupils can write something similar when they are doing 命题作文.
Ink 创作- 小记者
These news reports are written by pupils, documenting some of the activities they have participated in. These includes VIA (Values in Action), overseas immersion programme etc. Pupils can read up on other people’s experiences and what they have learnt from these activities. It helps pupils to answer oral questions like “你认为学校可以安排什么活动让同学们学习________？”
This is also labelled as NiE (News in Education). Zaobao has specially selected these news articles which they feel can help pupils in oral. However, the topics selected are more for secondary pupils but there is no harm reading up to keep abreast of happenings in Singapore.
What we really like about ZB Schools
All of the articles have 3 important features to help pupils to understand the content, even the weaker ones.
Some pupils do not know how to differentiate the vocabulary in a sentence. For example, in this sentence “巴士来了，大家争先恐后地挤上去。” “争先恐后” is a vocabulary made up of 4 words, but some pupils are not aware and may think that “家争先恐” or “先恐后地” is the vocabulary.
The 自动分词 function on the website eradicates this problem and helps pupils to see which words are put together to form a vocabulary. If they need to check on a particular vocabulary, they can click on it and its pin yin and English meaning will pop up.
This function reads the articles aloud. Like karaoke, the paragraph being read will be highlighted in blue. You can stop anytime by clicking on a blank space. You can also select the paragraph you want to be read.
This function will add han yu pin yin to all the words in the article.
Overall, we are very impressed and greatly touched by the efforts that Zao Bao has put in to make reading Chinese articles easier for pupils. The best way to improve is to read and learn. However, do note that some articles and videos are only available via subscription.