Readers only need to be familiar with 150 characters in order to enjoy their first Chinese novels!
If you know an older child (8+) or even an adult who is learning Chinese and wants to start to practice reading, this set is a must!
These books are the brainchild of Jared Turner and John Pasden, two Americans who both learned Chinese as adults and who learned the value of "extensive reading" first-hand.
Together, and with much editing help from native Chinese speakers, they created the incredible Mandarin Companion Graded Readers. To learn more about why graded readers are important, especially for older language learners, we recommend that you check out their post "Why Graded Readers?".
The breakthrough level is intended for Chinese learners who have obtained a low elementary or novice level of Chinese. The stories are written using a core set of 150 characters, a subset of the 300 characters used in Mandarin Companion Level 1. The vocabulary is limited to simple, everyday words. Any new characters outside of the 150 Breakthrough Level characters are exclusively borrowed from the Level 1 character set, meaning that with each new story, the reader is systematically building toward Level 1.
Each book contains lots of useful features for Mandarin learners, including:
- A page to introduce to the story's characters (this is important because even learners who know several hundred Chinese characters often struggle to differentiate proper nouns)
- Key words that the reader is not likely to know are added gradually over the course of the story accompanied by a numbered footnote, with Pinyin and an English definition provided at the bottom of the page.
- Key vocabulary which readers may not be familiar with (they even highlight where the vocabulary diverges from the most popular university textbooks and the HSK vocabulary lists)
- Discussion questions for each chapter
- A map to show the location where the story takes place (this is great for students to start becoming familiar with Chinese place names)
- A list of useful grammatical structures found in each chapter
Below is the list of titles included in this set:
- 《小明 》Xiao Ming, Boy Sherlock
- 《我的老师是火星人》My Teacher is a Martian
- 《花马》In Search of Hua Ma
- 《我们是朋友嘛？》Just Friends?
- 《周海生》The Misadventures of Zhou Haisheng