Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Are these graded readers any good?


Recommended Posts

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.

I couldn't get into the link. However Chinese Breeze are good books. Not the most dynamic stories, but for Graded Readers, very good. 

They are also graded quite well and contain no Pinyin. 

If outside of China, Mandarin Companion are the best to buy by far. Well graded, no pinyin, well written and very engaging stories. 

I hope this helps. 


  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree with @antony -- Cut my teeth on Chinese Breeze and Mandarin Companion. Why go with some sort of odd-ball, off-brand nonsense? Stick with the winners. I guess my advice would be different if someone is offering to give you those (the ones to which you linked.)


"Make the procurement process easy" is advice number two. Don't want to get delayed, diverted and derailed by a "resource hunt." If you have something handy, use it. Start now. Don't let finding the ideal materials be an excuse to procrastinate. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • New Members

Following the link, this looks to be the Rainbow Bridge series, which is decent. The stories in the lower levels of the series are a bit awkward due to the limited word list. However, I read the Level 3 and 4 books in that series and quite liked them. I believe the books are published by Sinolingua and the catalogue is here:




That website should also have the mp3 files for the audio of the books.


I second antony's comment. The Mandarin Companion books are definitely the best graded readers to read first.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really like the ranbow bridge stories.
I am currently at the lowest level.
I bought the rainbow bridge starter bundle for Pleco, but I think there is no difference to the paper versions.
What is in it:
One story per book.
All stories are written in (simplified) hanzi with no pinyin. 
Every story comes with a translation, some exercises and the solutions to the exercises.
The stories I have read so far are old chinese myths and fairy tales.
What I like:
They are "real" stories. No stiffly choreographed dialogs of real life situations. No toddlers books. But stories with a story line and a plot. Some even have a funny punch line.
They are short stories that can be read in less than one hour, so it is almost impossible not to proudly succeed.
What I do not like:
Maybe as @syzygymentioned the language is a bit awkward. I am not advanced enough to judge that. But sometimes it feels really a bit too "simplified".
What I really do not like:
These short stories are spread over many many pages mixed with many many images.
A more compressed layout with more than one sentence per page would give a better overview.
And all the images with googly eyed cute kids and animals.  They are torture.
At least they motivate me to study hard to reach asap a higher level where there are no more googly eyed pets.
In short:
I enjoy the stories and would buy them again.

  • Like 3
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I value the Chinese Breeze books. But like a lot of others, they don't provide translations. So I'm often left wondering if I'm figuring out the exact translation of many sentences. Pasting the text into Google translate (et al) can be useful, but also gets some pretty misleading responses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I initially had a really hard time finding graded readers beyond Mandarin Companion (I live in the USA). Mandarin Companion is really great, but especially at the time I was learning to read, there weren't many different Mandarin Companion books in publication, and they didn't go to a very high vocabulary level (500 characters max).


I ended up going through this site: https://www.purpleculture.net/reading-materials-c-1_101/


I made a couple of large purchases (that's more cost-effective, because the shipping costs are rather high), and everything I ordered arrived in the mail in good condition. One time, I contacted customer service, and they were wonderfully responsive, with good English. Ultimately, I amassed a collection of about 40 graded readers from about 4 different graded reader series. They all have their pros and cons, but I liked them all.

Link to comment
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.

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...