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Mandarin Companion Graded Reader: "The Secret Garden" 300 char level


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I want to share this exciting new series with all the Chinese learners out there. The Mandarin Companion series has been 1.5 years in the making and we've just released our first full length novel "The Secret Garden"《秘密花园》that uses only 291 unique elementary characters and about 400 words. This is the first of many levels to come and we have four more books which will be coming out over the next couple of months. They are currently available on ebook and plans are to have print editions early next year. 

 

For those of you new to graded readers, they are easy reading books designed to be used in the Extensive Reading approach to learning a second language. If you are new to Extensive Reading, it is one of the most effective ways to build fluency. However, the key is to read at a level of high comprehension. Reading at the appropriate level in Chinese will increase the speed of your character recognition, help you acquire vocabulary faster, allow you to naturally learn grammar, and train your brain to think in Chinese.

 

The book is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. I hope that these are helpful to you Chinese learners and we welcome your feedback and suggestions! 

 

Edit: It was suggested I should include a pic of the cover!

cover_secretgarden_260x350-225x300.jpg

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Ok, I've got three PDF review copies to give away. Let me know if you're interested (post here or drop me a pm / email) and I'll send them out to the three people I judge most likely to actually read the book and post about it. (I think I'm still waiting for reviews from a free textbook giveaway in 2007). 

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sinosplice

By the way, guys, I'm the co-founder of Mandarin Companion (Mind Spark Press). The first 5 books are done in cooperation with AllSet Learning (my company), and I'm overseeing the quality of the books as editor-in-chief.

 

I can say with confidence that this is good stuff!  I wish I had had material like this when I was 1-2 years into my Chinese studies...

 

I'll be posting more about this series on Sinosplice and AllSet Learning's blog later, but we're doing kind of a "soft launch" until we get a few more books out.

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realmayo
I think I'm still waiting for reviews from a free textbook giveaway in 2007

 

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

 

Have to plead guilty to this (but if I remember right, when my Chinese was finally good enough to read the book everyone else had already said everything there was to say)  :oops:

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This is good news, because this is probably THE area of Chinese learning materials that is most lacking.

That said, the series will succeed or fail based on how well it transitions from the elementary level (for which many readers exist) to intermediate and upper intermediate levels. It seems like there is a plan behind this series, so I'm hoping it succeeds.

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As far as I can see, it looks good! I'm a bit of an old fashioned guy though, and I'll wait for the printed edition.

How much text is it, is the length comparable to the Chinese Breeze books?

Do you have any plans to make audio recordings of the text available?

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How much text is it, is the length comparable to the Chinese Breeze books?

As far as I can see these are shorter then Chinese Breeze. According to amazon it has 9800 characters, the chinese breeze books I check seem to have 24000 - 36000 characters (level 1 at the lower end, level2 and 3 at the higher end).

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I have read a few Chinese Breeze and didn't find them that interesting. It was hard for me to keep going with them. I want to try this to see if it can hold my attention abit more.

I managed to read 4 breeze books which I know isn't a lot but that sample didn't make me that eager to read more. The best one was the first one I read about the two twins (错!错!错).

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As far as I can see these are shorter then Chinese Breeze. According to amazon it has 9800 characters, the chinese breeze books I check seem to have 24000 - 36000 characters (level 1 at the lower end, level2 and 3 at the higher end).

 

Actually, The Secret Garden is exactly 9,812 characters in length. At a comparable level one, the Chinese Breeze books range from from 7,621 characters 《我可以请你跳舞吗?》 to 9,057 characters 《向左向右》 in length. I hope that settles any questions in regards to length comparisons! We did our homework  :)

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pprendeville

Ive downloaded the sample copy on iBooks. Just a few things I think could be improved upon.

- having the key words at the bottom of the page like the Chinese Breeze series which would mean the user doesn't have to navigate away from the page as it is awkward getting back to it (if there was a back button on eBooks this would solve the problem).

- would be nice to see some sort of popup system where if you did t know a character you could hit it and a popup would appear (something like in the Decipher Chinese app), not sure this is possible though with iBooks

- more illustrations please, even just simple ones, the really add to the atmosphere (existing ones are great I think)

- again, going back to the Chinese Breeze series, questions at the end of the book to test the readers understanding or even at the end of each chapter

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Good points and most of the recommendations you have are already in place.

 

-After following a link in the iBooks reader, there is a little line of text at the bottom right that says "go to page [n]" were upon clicking it should take you back to where you were before. The Kindle and Nook have a similar feature. 

 

-Apple supports such enhanced book formats that you mention with popup definitions available. We haven't quite gotten there yet but we plan to!

 

-There are discussion questions at the end of the book. It's not included in the test version but the full version has all the content. 

 

I hope you enjoy the book!

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pprendeville

Cheers Rufus, hadn't seen the link at the bottom of the page. That's spot on. This is actually a better way of doing it as it has all the key words in one place s opposed to different pages. Good thinking.

One more question. When the full series is available will it be possible to buy in bulk at a discounted price?

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Another great question! You can expect to see all 5 of our books out by the end of this year. We plan to have them all out by the end of November. The second book will be out any day now. We're just polishing up the final details. 

 

I would love to offer a bundle package but I don't think that it will be able to happen until we offer print books. Stay tuned!

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