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Graded readers, by the numbers (characters/words, page count)

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fabiothebest

Thanks for posting a list of different graded chinese books series along with the number of characters and pages included in each book. I'm sure it can be useful for many people. I personally have "Wrong, wrong, wrong!" by Chinese Breeze but I didn't read it yet :( Maybe because I can't recognize many characters for now. Anyway I'm studying more seriously lately and I should definitely try to read it. After all, there aren't too many pages and characters repeat themselves. I bet the cd will be very useful as well.

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Demonic_Duck

Useful post. Might be helpful if you also list how they handle pinyin and English.

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character

Updated; hope that helps.  People should feel free to add their own info to this topic on these and other readers. 

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Tianjin42

Very useful thanks. Have a recommend. 

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Geiko

I bought a series of traditional Chinese readers called 中文讀本 (Forum topic). All of them include a CD-MP3.

 

1. Beginner Level:

  1. 你愛我嗎?愛莉在台灣的故事。31 pages
  2. 矮小的大人物-晏子。31 pages.
  3. 中國笑話。31 pages.

2. Intermediate Level:

  1. 西遊記。39 pages.

3. Advanced Level:

  1. 小結。55 pages.
  2. 成語故事。51 pages.

 

The books don't mention how many words/characters are used at each level, but leosmith (the one who started the topic about these series) made this guess: 

 

 

 

3 books at the beginner (300 to 500 character) level
1 book at the intermediate (500 to 1000 character) level
2 books at the advanced (1000 to 1500 character) level
Character levels are my best guess - I found no info on this, but I'm quite certain about the beginner level.
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character

Thanks everyone; I hope this thread helps people find readers which meet their needs.

 

 

The series uses Yale romanization, which is pretty easy to get used to, and bopomofo, which you should learn if you plan to spend any significant time in Taiwan.

 

@OneEye, the series sounds interesting.  Is the bopomofo/romanization separate from the characters, or intermingled?

 

@elina, may I ask how much reading material the Reading China series has per book?  I have a couple of books which seem to be based on the series (example) which only have about ~20 pages of reading material each, with the rest of the pages exercises and the like.

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Geiko

Oh, and there's also the Abridged Chinese Classic Series. They are from Sinolingua, and, just like in the Graded Chinese Readers, they include a template to hide pinyin above characters. All of them come with mp3

 

1. 家,巴金。2000 words, 150 pages.

2. 春,巴金。2000 words, 140 pages.

3. 秋,巴金。2000 words, 195 pages.

4. 围城,钱锺书。2000 words, 195 pages.

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OneEye
@OneEye, the series sounds interesting.  Is the bopomofo/romanization separate from the characters, or intermingled?

 

Separate, in the vocabulary list after the main text. New words are marked with a number, and I think names are underlined. In the first few volumes, there are also pattern drills and such.

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elina

 

@elina, may I ask how much reading material the Reading China series has per book?  I have a couple of books which seem to be based on the series (example) which only have about ~20 pages of reading material each, with the rest of the pages exercises and the like.

 

Regarding reading material, for example, in this book of Reading China: Bicycle Kingdom, every lesson has 2 pages, so 25 lessons have 50 pages totally. And every lesson has 2 other pages, such as language points, exercises, cultural tips, answer keys, etc.

 

So in one word, I think 中文天天读 series (10 books) have more content and books than the second one of 天天中文series (4 books), 中文天天读

http://www.studychineseculture.com/search.asp?keyword=%D6%D0%CE%C4%CC%EC%CC%EC%B6%C1&thetype=bookname&submit1=SEARCH

 

天天中文:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?search-alias=stripbooks&unfiltered=1&field-keywords=&field-author=MacMillan+Education&field-title=Tian+Tian+Zhong+Wen&field-isbn=&field-publisher=&node=&field-p_n_condition-type=&field-feature_browse-bin=&field-subject=&field-language=&field-dateop=During&field-datemod=&field-dateyear=&sort=relevanceexprank&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=33&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=15

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character

Thanks elina, personally I found the ones I got more like textbooks than readers, which is why I didn't include them in my list.

 

---

 

Having said that, this is kind of an odd recommendation, but if learning Traditional, some of the gentlest graded readers might be the DeFrancis "character texts" for the DeFrancis textbooks.  The character texts have a huge amount of reading material, and the separate textbooks provide pinyin and some English translations of representative sentences.

 

Character Text for Beginning Chinese, Traditional, 0 to 494 characters, 519 pages, handwritten

Character Text for Intermediate Chinese, Traditional, 494 to 1190 characters, 434 pages, handwritten

Character Text for Advanced Chinese, Traditional, 1384 characters, 712 pages, handwritten

Audio in iTunes Direct links to audio files

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character

 

I'm not sure how useful my analysis is, but I thought that it was kind of interesting, and shows that the series is quite well designed with so many words being common across multiple books.

 

It is interesting, but (esp. at the 300-character level) I'm not sure it shows good design as much as common words are common.  When I think of design WRT graded readers, I think of the DeFrancis readers and spaced repetition of characters and words.  If you have access to the text of a reader, presumably you could figure out where characters and words are used in the text.  If they are used at fairly regular intervals or perhaps in a pattern of less and less frequency, I think that could be considered well-designed.

 

Have you considered analyzing the Chinese Breeze books available on Kindle?

 

Another analysis I think people might find interesting would be total number of characters or pages of actual reading material (cutting out pictures, vocab lists, etc, etc) to price, getting some rough value for money metric.

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character

Abridged version of the Chinese trilogy "The Torrents: Family, Spring, Autumn" by Ba Jin. Three books, I assume in Simplified Chinese, each with an MP3, 2000 words.

Family 150 pages

Spring 142 pages

Autumn 196 pages

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character

An article reviewing some graded readers:

7 Superb Chinese Readers for Improving Your Chinese

Just skimming the article I find some points of disagreement, and the Chinese Breeze books are available for much less at places other than Amazon, but I figured even imperfect reviews of graded readers can be helpful.

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kikosun

wow this is a great resource, thanks everybody for compiling it! is there any particular series that people recommend that is better/more interesting than others? 

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character

 

wow this is a great resource, thanks everybody for compiling it! is there any particular series that people recommend that is better/more interesting than others?

It sort of depends on how many characters/words you know, and if you want Traditional or Simplified characters.

 

For beginning readers:

I'm a big fan of DeFrancis.  If you combine all the reading material in the textbooks with the readers, it's the gentlest path to reading I've seen.

 

The Chinese Breeze books at ~$6 each with MP3 in some online stores seem to provide good value for the money.

 

The Mandarin Companion Graded Readers are nicely produced, and there are some online support materials.

 

The Lady in the Painting is a good first book, with grammar and vocabulary sections, and a CD.

 

For more advanced readers, the Graded Chinese Reader series is well-liked.

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