Practice your reading with Chinese Readers!

I have lucked upon these wonderful books, P3 Chinese Readers (what a memorable name! LOL!), edited by Yin Dalu, put out by PPP Company, Hong Kong (the Professional Publishing People).

P3 Chinese Readers

P3 Chinese Readers

I find it hard to find simple, engaging material to practice reading Chinese characters that is not overwhelming (ie the average picturebook in chinese, even with pinyin, can mean a week of looking up vocab) and that is not part of some very involved, structured textbook. Ie painfully educational.

Chinese Reader: inside book

Chinese Reader Green open book

You know, there is a reason why in Grade One and Two, they have those Leveled Readers that your kids bring home: very short simple storybooks that reinforce learning and give a sense of accomplishment. Well, now you can get just such a thing in Chinese. These Readers are glossy little books: about 8 inches square, 13 pages including the inside back cover. They all have bright flat colors with clear classy photographs, and often the addition of drawn characters that interact with the photo settings and objects.

Chinese Reader Orange

Sample Chinese Reader Orange

Each “story” is only written in large clear simplified characters, and end on page 10. Page 11 is a page by page listing of the text in characters, pinyin and English. Handy to keep your thumb here. Unlike having English and pinyin on the page with the characters, you can’t get lazy and just not read the actual wenzi, BUT you can quickly and easily consult a forgotten word or pronunciation. Page 12 is either a quick quiz on vocab or a grammar note, like “yi, er, san” are used for counting, but “yi ge, liang ge, san ge” are used when enumerating something. Page 13 (inside back cover) has key vocab in character, pinyin and English.

Reader Orange spread

Pang/shou: Reader Orange

Text by page #

Bu Tong! Text by page #

Very clear, simple, and handy to practice your character pronunciation and understanding.

Inside Back Cover: Orange

Inside back cover: Orange Reader

There are six levels of difficulty: Orange Readers mostly have one or two words per page, and perhaps a phrase or short sentence at start or end. Extremely basic adjectives, nouns, verbs, numerals, colors and animals are introduced.

Chinese Readers Blue

Blue Chinese Readers

Blue Readers build on Orange level one, with a phrase or multi-character word per page, and some semblance of a tale. Family members, farm animals, clothing, body parts within proper basic sentences.

Chinese Reader Blue spread

Blue Reader inside spread

Green Readers are level three, and introduce longer sentences and a wider vocabulary. Weather, hobbies, telling time…

Level Four is Purple Readers. They have sentences with more complexity: describing people, making comparisons, using adverbs, talking about living in, going to, taking transportation.

Blue Reader text by page #

Blue Reader text by page #

Brown Readers have longer sentences still, introducing concepts like “not only y… but x as well”, giving directions, explaining “why” you like something etc. Seasons of China, travelling, getting around Beijing, wanting to buy something, what do you want to be when you grow up…

Finally the Red Readers are mostly simplified versions of Chinese tales: Hua Mulan, Zhong Kui Kills the Ghost, Pangu Separates Sky and Earth.

Blue Reader inside back cover

Blue Reader inside back cover

Personally I can mostly read Orange and Blue with no trouble, Green has a few words I don’t know, Purple has sentence structures I am aware of (“this is x-er than that”) but not proficient at using, Brown is challenging, and Red we haven’t bought any of yet.

Chinese Reader Green inside spread

Chinese Reader Green inside spread

These stapled glossy softcovers are sold individually, but I prefer to get them in sets of six. Each level has two sets of six, giving you a whopping 72 individual books to practice with . They are very reasonably priced, about $12 per set of six.

Green Reader text page by page

Green Reader text page by page

You could get them at Amazon.ca until I ordered two sets and several individual copies (to make up my $39 for free shipping, of course!)… they never did send me the individual books. They sent me the two sets and immediately set all these books to “not available” on their site. Sigh. It was too good to be true.

Green Reader inside back cover

Green Reader inside back cover

They ARE available on Amazon.com, but lately I have discovered that Barnes& Noble has more competitive shipping prices to Canada, and they were delivered quite quickly. (hint, look at the P3 link in the first paragraph for a proper list of the books in each set)

So, if you are looking for a kid or adult friendly way to practice your basic character reading skills, I recommend these. My son, who says “no read Chinese mommy”, actually

Chinese Reader Purple

Chinese Reader Purple

REQUESTS these books. Of course the fact that they are simple so I don’t stumble and hesitate, and quick to read, with colorful funny illustrations and stories, starring my son’s fave “Xiao Long” dragon does help a lot.

Purple Reader inside spread

Purple Reader inside spread

Purple Reader text by page #

Purple Reader text by page #

Purple Reader inside back cover

Purple Reader inside back cover

Brown Reader sample cover

Brown Reader sample cover

Brown Reader inside spread

Brown Reader inside spread

Brown Reader text by page #

Brown Reader text by page #

Brown Reader inside back cover

Brown Reader inside back cover

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16 responses to “Practice your reading with Chinese Readers!

  1. We love these books, too! I, too, like the fact that the pinyin is in the back, so you are “forced” to learn the characters.

    I believe that childbook.com will be carrying these, soon. I emailed the owner and told him about them. He said that he thought he’d be ordering some. I’ll keep you posted.

  2. We love these books, too! I really like the fact that there’s no pinyin on the page…makes us learn the characters. I emailed Ray at ChildBook.com and it looks like they’ll be carrying these, soon.

    • Thanks! Yes, I have been emailing Ray about them, encouraged him to send off for a sample and giving my opinion. I’m really glad he ordered them. I still have another 5 sets or so to go to complete the collection! It’ll be awhile til I outgrow the brown and red ones especially! We’re mostly at the blue-green level now! Thanks for dropping by and commenting! (sorry, your comment was caught in the spam folder til now!)

      > From: “comment-reply@wordpress.com” > Reply-To:

  3. Great site. Good luck. Can’t believe that a little guy can learn all three… we’re teaching our son just two… my wife is nervous that he’ll get confused…

    • LOL! Probably a majority of children (and adults) the world over learn more than one language. And certainly he is having no problem learning all three (to the extent that learning opportunities are available… I have no illusions as to the minimal fluency he will have in Chinese with a lack of a native speaker in his daily life) and certainly he is not the slightest bit confused… he will often say something is “xxx in Chinese, and YYY in French and ZZZ in English, mommy” to me. Ie if he says thankyou to me, and I don’t reply “you’re welcome” he’ll say “say you’re welcome, mommy. That’s in English. Mei guanxi in Chinese. Say “bienvenue” in French mommy, I said “thankyou” LOL! And yes, this since before he turned four.

      I am reading that Trilingual book (most recent post I think) now, and the parents said their children did the same thing. And indeed will insist on one language or another from a particular person or occasion. My son could point at either Chinese or English text in bilingual books from the age of 2.5 and say “no read Chinese mommy, read English” and point to the correct language. He will also sort out books he wants me to read or not to read, according to language: “not this French book mommy, the Chinese one” etc…

      You should do some reading on bilingualism and the myths surrounding it (and multilingualism). In fact right now there is a post on bilingualism at http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/09/22/raising-bilingual-kids/ that you might want to read with your wife. And best of luck with your kid! Much better to learn now than at twenty or 46, like me learning Chinese now!

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  4. I found them on http://www.bookdepository.co.uk (free shipping to most countries world wide) – and ordered one orange book to see what they were like. Fantastic. Unfortunately the book packs have sold out for the lower levels :(

    Thanks for including a few pics of the higher levels. They look fantastic!

  5. Thanks for the review on these. I just received these from Barnes and Noble and they look great. I know my daughter will like these very much.

  6. Pingback: 2010 in review | Big Boy and Xiao Chien

  7. The link to the publisher’s website has moved to here: http://www.primarymandarin.com/eng/materials/chinese-readers/5/

  8. I have been buying these from http://chinasprout.com/
    It is a bit more expensive than some other sites, but they were the only site I could find that actually has every book at each level (and ships to Canada). We have been enjoying them immensely. We plan on ordering the whole series eventually.

    • Hi Paul, thanks! Didn’t realize they have them now. They really are great aren’t they!

      You can get them now through PPP directly… http://shop.ppp.com.hk/category/book They have them “on sale” now for $25.99 per set of six… not inexpensive (I was getting them from Barnes & Noble, and amazon.ca for about $12 a set of six)… but they have all 24 of them at each level (that’s a whoppin investment!), and the shipping is reasonable: less expensive by far than chinasprout I think. They currently have the Max and Mei boxed sets of 4 “meet the astrological animals” on sale for a really reasonable price too. I think they charge $5 for two sets of 4 Max & Mei books plus cd, to Canada, for shipping. Everytime I order from chinasprout, the shipping costs almost as much as the items!

      Hmmm, I take that back… I was just going to see how much the Chinese Readers books were to Canada (vs the Max & Mei sets) and when I tried to check out it said from PPP that the Chinese Readers don’t ship to Canada. Very strange. I’ll go to the Max & Mei Facebook page and ask what is up… they are very quick to respond personally, and I recently ordered Mandarin in a Flash flashcards from them with no issue. (the same characters as the Chinese Readers books) http://shop.ppp.com.hk/category/game-cards

      Ooups. just looked them up at chinasprout and I see they are the same price there (though again, shipping from Asia is usually cheaper!… i WILL look into the ordering situation at PPP)

  9. OK, everyone, PPP has fixed their website so that the books will ship to Canada no problem: and it is a FLAT RATE shipping of $5US no matter what your order size! How great is that! (I think it is often $10- $20 to ship a set of $20 books from Chinasprout). Anyways, their customer service is great. You can go to : http://shop.ppp.com.hk/category/book to order the Chinese Readers seen here (there are now FOUR six book sets, ie 24 single books, per color level available). Happy shopping!

    • That’s great. When I saw that PPP wouldn’t ship to Canada I never even considered that it was just a bug. Thanks for looking into that. I’m going to save a ton on shipping compared to chinasprout.com. (I still think chinasprout.com is a great site, but $5 flat-rate shipping takes the cake!)
      Thanks!

  10. Great eh! Yup, Chinasprout has so many great things, like dvds, and those character building block sets that I am hankering after. But I thought that the PPP shipping might be a bug since I had ordered the Max and Mei dinosaur book and two sets of two packs of flashcards from them no problem… it would give me a shipping price for the max and mei and not the readers, which made no sense. I wondered if perhaps the Readers were shipped from the US, or they had an exclusive deal with Chinasprout or the UK or something… but nope, just a hic! :) All fixed now, thanks to them being so quick to answer via Facebook chat! :)

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