Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
Hedge

Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers

Recommended Posts

flameproof
just curious. Are you typing in the stories or using some sort of character recognition software? If your are typing, them in do you find any benefit to doing this in terms of improving your Chinese?

I type it in from the book (not the audio). I believe it has some benefit, at least for unknown characters that are repeated a lot. I can basically read >98% of the text. But I guess you can achieve the same by doing lots of reading.

Needless to say that you won't get the same benefits with a OCR scanner. One shortcut I do, I mail the text to a PRC friend for error correction, were she she just marks the errors without correcting them so I see where problems are.

They are sometimes unnoticed split second character changes (can happen with Xp) when hitting "Enter", sometimes logical errors depending on my level of concentration.

What I find very benefiting is a short daily read, rather then some marathon sessions once a week. To read one capital of the book will take a few Minutes, that once a day keeps the knowledge alive.

I also add unknown characters to my Pleco flascards (but look them up way to seldom).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

HarryCallahan

Can someone please confirm where these books can be bought in Beijing?

After seeing them plugged elsewhere I went to the foreign language bookstore in Wangfujing equipped with the series name Chinese Breeze, thinking it couldn't be so hard to find them. Well the two sales people were hopeless, one followed a script that involved pushing me around from this product to that as I'm telling her I know what I want and giving her the name, she even tried to sell me software, it was really quite awkward and I witnessed her give another customer the same treatment. Then another one with knowledge of the computer system wasn't able to search for the key words "chinese breeze" and didn't seem to understand concepts like series and publishers, he kept asking for the name and after being told it was a reader took me to the fiction section. I searched quite thoroughly myself and couldn't find anything with the name Chinese Breeze anywhere on it.

BTW I have purchased material there before and will continue to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flameproof
Can someone please confirm where these books can be bought in Beijing?

I bought some in exactly that Foreign Bookshop on WFJ. Giving them an English title is hopeless since I presume strongly that they are with the Chinese name in their system. Best is an ISDN number. So try again with ISDN and Chinese title...

They are on the ground floor. When you get in right hand side.

PS: I also bought some in Shenzhen Book City, and I saw them in the big shop (not the foreign one, but I guess they have them too) in Shanghai, Fuzhou Lu.

In the very worst case, buy them online.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCallahan

That was quick, thanks. I pretty sure I know where they should have been, it's not hard to find the readers and associated study resources, but couldn't find.

Also I have this URL posted previously,

http://www.studychineseculture.com/book.asp?id=4863

this can at least get me individual book details. They might have a physical shop to

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HedgePig

Hello atitarev

Re: Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers

I am using Graded Chinese Reader 1: Selected, Abridged Chinese Contemporary Short Stories+MP3 and Graded Chinese Reader 2: Selected, Abridged Chinese Contemporary Short Stories+MP3

Apart from MP3 (slow but natural), all the texts are also supplied with pinyin.

Are they similar to Chinese Breeze (汉语风) Graded Readers?

I've read four of the Chinese Breeze storied (two at level 1 and two at level 2) and have recently made my way through the first story in Graded Chinese Reader 1. Based on this vast experience, here are my comments:

(1) Chinese Breeze doesn't have any pinyin (except for the new words.) It also marks the new words clearly in the text and not just at the first occurrence

(2) Chinese Breeze uses the new vocabulary repeatedly so you get more exposure to the new words.

(3) Like Graded Chinese Reader, there is no English translation. (I find this to be a weakness as even if I understand the general sense of what I've read, I'm fairly sure that I am not translating the Chinese perfectly all the time. I'd like to have a reference to check my understanding.)

(4) The Chinese Breeze mp3's have two reading speeds.

Overall, though they are quite similar and I've liked both. However, the Chinese Breeze stories are definitely simpler. If you're finding Graded Chinese Reader 1 is at your level, then Chinese Breeze will be easy.

My biggest gripe with the Graded Chinese Reader is that I find the pinyin is extremely intrusive as it is in the same size font as the Chinese. It is also printed directly above each character which makes it difficult to avoid. Furthermore this means that the spacing of the Chinese characters is uneven (to allow for the longer pinyin words) while the pinyin spacing is fine. And - I haven't finished complaining! - having the pinyin above the characters means that the space between lines is large, so one's eye doesn't run as easily from one line to the next. I've repeatedly found myself being impressed with my ability to read a sentence and then realise that it's the pinyin I've just read! I really struggle to block it out. My own pet theory is that native Chinese readers probably do not realise quite how easily attracted a Westerner's eye (or at least this Westerner's eye!) is to something clearly familiar. Therefore the pinyin doesn't jump out nearly as much to a Chinese reader and Chinese textbook authors don't realise the extent of this problem. Sorry. You didn't ask for all of that.

Despite my complaints, I'll continue with the Graded Chinese Reader as I liked the first story very much and I've learned a lot of new words. And I will grudgingly admit that having the pinyin does help speed you up when you get stuck. Just don't put it there right in front of my face, please!

Your grouchily and grumpily

HedgePig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HedgePig

I haven't finished yet (but I promise nothing more about pinyin)....

Thanks querido and flameproof. Do you find that typing out the book is basically a way of getting to know the characters? Or does it also help with getting a better feel for sentence construction and grammar? This is what I feel I need most help with as I already am putting new words into a flashcard program.

HedgePig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
atitarev

I had this idea of typing out texts before, which I stopped doing. I typed in 2 textbooks, at least. One required a full conversion from pinyin to hanzi, which I did well, verified with Chinese people.

Hello HedgePig. Your comments are interesting, of course, you can complain, if you don't like something. Yes, true, it's sometimes hard to avoid reading pinyin but because I am also reading other Chinese texts with hanzi only, I don't mind having some relief, especially if there are many new words. :)

The stories in Graded Chinese Reader are quite interesting. I took with the first story in volume 2 (very long). The rest of the stories are not too long. Still need to read them.

Edited by roddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

Ahem. If people are typing in the texts for their own purposes, fine. But no offers or solicitations of those texts on the board, thanks, unless someone wants to email me and convince me it isn't a copyright issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flameproof
Do you find that typing out the book is basically a way of getting to know the characters? Or does it also help with getting a better feel for sentence construction and grammar?

For me it's just for getting used to single characters. When I type I usually don't much idea of what I type, I need to read the story for that, without typing.

HedgePig

My comments are:

1. I specially like that the book as no Pinyin, which I find counterproductive when learning characters.

2. That a few words have translation with pinyin at the bottom of the page is fine and not distracting

3. What words are chosen for translation is a bit strange. 门 has a translation, 红楼 has not (in 错错错).

4. The MP3 quality is ok, but could be better. For 我一定找到她 one chapter is read by male, the next by a female, which I find a little disturbing.

Anyway, I have waited long time for something like that and for a publisher from China it's already very good and more or less exactly what I hoped for.

PS: my curiosity is home many unique characters are used in the 6 level 1 books. I guess near 600.... I will let you know one day.

PPS: Uploading the typed in stories is a very good suggestion, but the learn effect is so much better if you type them yourself and you will thank me for that one day.

DOH! I meant to say of course chapter....

Edited by flameproof

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gato
one capital is read by male, the next by a female,

Un capítulo ;-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HedgePig

Hello flameproof. Thanks for your reply. I was hoping that typing out a passage might help cement sentence patterns in my head, however I suspect that I'll also find that I'm concentrating on the individual characters. I might try writing by hand after listening to the audio - that should at least help test whether I know the character.

Regards

HedgePig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HarryCallahan

The Wangfujing Foreign LBS was all out, they do stock them but had sold out and the publisher also had no stock. They're waiting for more to print.

But, the Chinese bookstore in Wangfujing did have some, I got 3 of the 300 variety. I don't think they had all of them, I think 4 of the 300s and 2 500s. BTW you go upstairs to the (I think) 3rd floor and the Chinese for Foreigners section is on the right.

Must be selling like hot cakes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HedgePig

There are at least three books at the 500 word level now out. This evening I wandered down to purchase some cheesey comestibles and stopped by a local bookshop. They had the the "Green Phoenix" which I promptly purchased.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shadowdh

I managed to get two of the 500 series as a friend went across a few weeks ago... (Secrets of a computer co and our geese have gone) and he said that they were harder to find than hens teeth...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flameproof
I was hoping that typing out a passage might help cement sentence patterns in my head, however I suspect that I'll also find that I'm concentrating on the individual characters.

Just try it, maybe it works for you. But for me it's like can't see the forest coz of the trees.

The Wangfujing Foreign LBS was all out

Sorry, I guess it's my fault telling everybody how good they are. If you are in China you can always try those online places, http://www.studychineseculture.com , Amazon etc. For Amazon etc. your Chinese may be not up to the task, then just ask a friend to help. The locals are very supportive if you want to learn Chinese. And it's cheaper then the shop too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
querido

I received two more volumes of level 2: "Green Phoenix" and "If I didn't have you". This makes four volumes.

In the back are listed two more at level 2: "Mother and Son" and "After the Accident". So, since level 1 also had six volumes, I'm guessing that those will complete level 2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flameproof
I received two more volumes of level 2: "Green Phoenix" and "If I didn't have you". This makes four volumes.

In the back are listed two more at level 2: "Mother and Son" and "After the Accident". So, since level 1 also had six volumes, I'm guessing that those will complete level 2.

That is really great! If they continue with that speed they could probably finish all levels before 2030

(OK, in all fairness, after level 1 + 2 there are probably a number of other books you could read by now)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eya323

I'm interested in how others use these books to learn.

When I use the Chinese Breeze series, I follow a pattern to help retain the vocabulary. First, I read the book--usually I spend about 30 minutes or so reading each night before bed. All new words (which are few and far between with this series), I make into flashcards (character on one side and pinyin and English translation on the other, as ell as the word used in an example sentence from the book. Now that I've discovered Anki (thanks to this forum), I am putting all the new words into a Chines Breeze deck using my old flashcards. After I have finished the book, I spend a Saturday afternoon listening to each chapter first in slow mode and then in fast mode. I follow along with the book the entire time. I let that sink in and then I follow along with the audio one more time. When I am feeling ambitious, I read aloud with the slow speed audio.

Others have mentioned that they type the books. I get bored with the stories a little too fast to spend the time typing or handwriting the entire books, but I can understand how that might help some retain the new vocabulary and grammatical structures.

How do others use these books to learn? Has anyone studied the vocabulary by making practice tests or quizzes? Has anyone used these books in a classroom setting? If so, how were the books used in class? Any other ideas for additional learning benefit?

BTW, for $6 a pop--CD included--these books are definitely worth it for the beginner or intermediate student. They provide a good review of vocabulary that most classes teach and help boost reading confidence. The audio has helped me sound a bit more "natural" when reading aloud. If you are trying to review old vocabulary or increase your reading speed and comprehension, I definitely recommend them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
edelweis

Right now I am learning with other books, and I am using Chinese Breeze for practice only.

In a first phase, I am using one 300-word book "A" for reading practice and one 300-word book "B" for listening practice (slow speed track). I don't worry about getting every detail or learning the "new" vocab. I only made a list of the non-explained vocab to make sure I can read the books without a dictionary.

In a 2nd phase I will probably read "A" again, checking my pronunciation with the tape, learning the "new" vocab if I have not assimilated it yet, and striving to understand the structure of the phrase etc. instead of just a general meaning. And I will probably read book "B" also and listen to the "normal speed" track.

But I don't want to read book "B" right now because I want to improve my listening skills with it... even if I don't get every detail. If I read the book now, I won't know whether I understood or remembered the story. So every day I listen to 1 or 2 old chapters (often understand new details then) and 1 or 2 new chapters, sometimes several times if I feel I really understood nothing at all. But I don't usually stop/rewind after every sentence, because in "real life" you don't rewind people.

I might also use another 300-words book "C" for listening practice, starting directly with the "normal speed" track... but perhaps later. I might start reading 500-word books before my listening skills have improved enough to listen to a brand new 300-word book at normal speed.

Edited by edelweis
Adding details for clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×