Description of the series:
Reading China is a progressive, reader-friendly series of reading materials specially designed for non-native Chinese learners, which can be used in class or as extracurricular reading. The main features of Reading China are as follows: Graded-Reading Materials: Five progressive grades, each in several volumes, which are tailored for different levels of learners. Topics of China: An outlook of modern Chinese society is provided from various aspects of clothing, food, shelter and transportation, co-existence of traditional customs and modern life practices, language, culture, and economy, etc. Short and Simple Articles: Different forms of short articles written in simple and humorous language are appealing to read. Books with CD: Each volume is divided by book A and B. Each book comes with a CD and learners can read and listen to authentic Chinese at the same time.
It is common knowledge that reading is the primary input channel for adult learners of a foreign language. Extensive reading can ensure adequate language input and fast, efficient learning. Therefore, both language researchers and teachers emphasize large amount of reading in addition to classroom learning.
Reading China is a series of readers tailored to the diverse needs of learners at different levels of Chinese proficiency. The readers feature fun stories of present-day China, with introductions on Chinese history, culture and everyday life.
This series can be used as in-class or after-class reading materials because every book from the series is brief in content and has a small amount of exercises. There are altogether five levels in the series, each consisting of several volumes. Please refer to the table below for specific data:
Level Length of Texts (words) Vocabulary Number of Texts Prior Chinese Learning
1 100-150 500 25 3 months (160 credit hours)
2 150-300 1000 25 ½ year (320 credit hours)
3 300-550 2000 25 1 year (640 credit hours)
4 500-750 3500 20 2 years (1280 credit hours)
5 700-1200 5000 18 3 years (1920 credit hours)
Each book of the series includes the following modules:
1. Pre-reading – Lead-in. This part has one or two interesting warming-up questions, which function as an introduction to a new text. Teachers can develop their own class introductions on the basis of Lead-in.
2. Reading – Texts, Side Notes and Illustrations. Side Notes provide equivalents and explanations for new words and expressions to help learners better understand the text. This part also keeps the degree of difficulty of the texts within reasonable bounds so that learners can read them at a reasonable speed. Illustrations are another highlight of the series. They help learners take in at a glance the key sentences and main ideas of the texts.
3. After-reading – Language Points, Exercises and Cultural Tips. The Language Points part hammers home the meaning and usage of important words and expressions, or grammar points in one of the sentences from the text. Two follow-up example sentences, usually with words, expressions or linguistic contexts from previous texts, are given to help learners “gain new insights through review of old materials”. In Exercises, a small amount of choice questions, true or false questions and cloze tests, are designed to check learners’ comprehension of the texts without spoiling the fun of reading. In Cultural Tips, background information is provided as supplementary reading materials. (Some are related to the texts and some are just general information about Chinese culture, history and geography.)
Reading China stands out among similar readers because of the following features:
1. User-friendlyness: “Reading should be as easy as possible”, a principle consistently followed by the compilers, through strict control of the number of new words and expressions in each text, the Side Notes, the translations given in Language Points and Cultural Tips, illustrations and pictures.
2. Diversity and fun: The compilers have taken great pains in choosing interesting stories because “interest is the best teacher”. We also try to cater to foreign students’ reading preferences by analyzing their learning expectations on the basis of our teaching experience and surveys. Firstly, a wide range of topics is included to sustain the freshness of reading. The stories touch upon many aspects of Chinese life. In some cases, similarities and differences between Chinese and foreign cultures are compared and analyzed to give learners a realistic idea about contemporary China and improve their cross-cultural communication ability. Secondly, different writing genres and styles are selected, such as narrations, argumentations, letters, poems, mini-stories, etc. In this way, learners can fully appreciate the charm of the Chinese language.
3. Practicality: Many texts are closely related to foreign students’ life in China and contain practical information about studying, living, travelling and working in China.
4. Listening materials: CDs are provided for each book of the series. Integration of audio input through listening and visual input through reading will further improve learning results.