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

markpete

finding suitable graded readers

Recommended Posts

markpete

Hi, all.  I use graded readers (Chinese Breeze, etc.) a lot to improve my reading skills, and sometimes have trouble finding ones that are at my level and actually fun to read.  I got curious and decided to compare some.  Results here: http://www.hskreaders.com/compare_readers.html

 

Along with looking at word and character counts, I also put together a listing of features that the different series have.  I hope this can be useful to folks who are looking for more books to read.

 

(But mostly I wanted to confirm my suspicion that books labeled “800 words level” were written by a bunch of liars. 😉)

 

Cheers,

   Mark

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1

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.

jinbu

I looked at your series comparison list but for your information, the Rainbow Bridge pleco books does have mp3 audio files. (That’s a big plus if also want to practice your listening skills)

Sure these books introduce a lot of difficult names, but that’s because these books are about Chinese culture. If you wan’t to understand the Chinese culture I think these are really worth reading.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Geiko

These books have pinyin above the Chinese characters, which I find distracting. The paper versions come with a card to be used for covering the pinyin, which is a nice option, even if slightly unwieldy. The Kindle versions are images of the print pages, so there’s no way to cover the pinyin. With the Pleco versions, there’s no such issue (characters only, tap to look them up).

 

This particular piece of information is really useful to me! I like Sinolingua's graded readers, but that grid to cover the pinyin was a bit impractical, and not having anything at all to hide the pinyin in the ebook was even worse. But if the Pleco version has no pinyin, that will be perfect! Thank you so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PerpetualChange
21 hours ago, markpete said:

I've never studied alongside the HSK curriculum, but I did buy graded readers based on what I considered to be an approximation of my level for awhile. 

The zone you mentioned in this post (HSK4-5) is about where I started to get frustrated with my graded readers. I was reading the Sino-Lingua readers, and it felt like they weren't getting much harder, because by that point you know the foundations and there's no good way to cram so much specialized vocab into a short story on a basis that would have enough repetitions to stick. Also, the graded readers were starting to give me a false sense of security, where I was starting to believe that my Chinese was almost perfect because I was understanding these 300 page collections almost effortlessly. Then one day I tried to read non-HSK version of a story in one of the Sino-Lingua readers and was shocked by how hard it was. I put Graded Readers down for good, and haven't looked back since.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Polyhistor

I'm not a fan of graded readers. I would always recommend trying to find children's reading material if possible. Graded readers often have very stunted syntax and vocabulary to make it readable for the novice, but which doesn't really reflect the way the language is actually used and, I believe, may end up painting a false impression in some minds. 

 

However, I did use quite a few when I was starting, reading most of those available on Pleco. They are certainly to be preferred over flashcards, providing some small level of context and nuance, but they should be used briefly until you're able to move on to native material. Children's books can be bought online, but it may take some searching. I still haven't learned much about the children's book industry, other than 曹文轩,墨多多 and a few others. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

"I'm not a fan of graded readers. I would always recommend trying to find children's reading material if possible. Graded readers often have very stunted syntax and vocabulary to make it readable for the novice, but which doesn't really reflect the way the language is actually used and, I believe, may end up painting a false impression in some minds. "

 

Wow, i could not disagree more. Childrens books are written with native speaker children in mind. I think the vocab, grammar and topics in a graded reader are WAY more useful to me. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Polyhistor
40 minutes ago, suMMit said:

books are written with native speaker children in mind

Exactly. Which is why they should be aspired to. They are not as easy, but that's the point. They represent a much more real version of the language, rather than the simplified version presented at a specific low level. You can learn a lot from them, but it requires that you give your subconscious over to observing and growing a bond with each character and grammatical pattern.

 

Of course, if you're at a low level, then certainly pick up the basics from graded readers so that you can then move on to the real stuff, but don't make the mistake of assuming that what's in a basic graded reader is anything but a very pale imitation of the greatness to be found in native literature. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

I guess it all depends on what your after. living in china and still being fairly low level, im not after flowery language. I want things i can use. I dont feel like im going to get much use from reading Little Red Riding Hood in chinese. The Chinese breeze books have been very helpful though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
markpete
On 9/7/2020 at 11:52 PM, jinbu said:

I looked at your series comparison list but for your information, the Rainbow Bridge pleco books does have mp3 audio files.

@jinbu, thanks for pointing this out.  What an oversight!  I have used some of those mp3s.  For some reason the downloads take a long time (hours) for me, but the quality of the recordings is high.  Anyway, I've corrected that on the series comparison page. 

 

@PolyhistorI agree that readers for learners have their shortcomings, and probably add less value the more advanced you get. I try out native materials from time to time, but it's always too much of a slog (e.g. up to an hour per page) because there's so much vocabulary I don't have yet.  And I do want to practice extensive reading (ideally with interesting stories) without waiting until I have a vocabulary of 10,000. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aiwangli

Ive been using The Chairman's Bad for the last 5 months. It has graded news from HSK1- HSK6+  Also comes with comprehensions questions as well as an integrated dictionary, and MP3 audio files. Only downside is it is like 10 dollars a month. But i spend more than that on coffee a month so for me its worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...