When starting out with learning Mandarin, it’s essential that you choose books with simple vocabulary and sentence structure. Because your grasp of Mandarin is not yet complete, it’s likely that there’s going to be many words you don’t know. If you’ve chosen the right book then you should have enough context clues to guess the meaning of words you haven’t seen before, and you’ll be learning as you.
Let’s check out some tips to help you find the right books for you.
1. Find A Book That Interests You
“Although you’re reading this book to learn a new language, if the content is something that interests you then you’ll quickly become demotivated,” recommends Richard Leak, ESL teacher at OXEssays and Eliteassignmenthelp. “If you wouldn’t read the book in English, you can’t expect yourself to read it in Mandarin!” Find a gripping story that makes you want to keep turning pages – a romance or a drama will capture your interest.
2. Reread Books That You Read In English
Rereading some of your favourite books in Mandarin is a great way to take your language skills to the next level. Because you’re already familiar with the plot you’ll have a head start understanding what’s taking place in the book. That means you can use context clues to figure out the vocabulary and you won’t be stumbling over what’s going on! Remember to choose something that’s simple enough, even though you’ve read it before.
3. Find Something To Challenge You
Picking a book that’s at your level in Mandarin will allow you to learn, but if you really want to take your language skills to the next level, don’t be afraid to choose a challenge. Try a book that’s slightly above the level you currently have in Mandarin – it’ll slow you down and you’ll trip up more often, but you’ll learn more in the process.
4. Vary Your Pace
There are many ways to benefit from reading books in Mandarin, and to exploit the full value of this learning technique you should vary the pace at which you read. “Challenging yourself to read paragraphs quickly will improve your overall comprehension, but Mandarin is all about learning the subtleties of the individual characters,” says Paul Butterworth, educator at Revieweal and Essay Services. “That means you’ll need to slow down from time to time.”
5. Take Notes And Check The Dictionary
One of the most significant steps you can take to improving your Mandarin through reading is to have a notebook that you update as you read. By pausing from time to time to record vocabulary you didn’t know or needed reminded of you’ll be reinforcing the memory for the future. And whilst deciphering the meaning of characters through the context of your book is valuable, it’s beneficial to look them up in a dictionary to ensure you have the right meaning.
Here are some simple Mandarin books to get you started!
“Cao Chong Weighing the Elephant”
(曹冲称象 Cáo Chōng Chèn Xiàng)
A simple folk story about the son of a warlord! There are many tales of Cao Chong’s escapades in Mandarin folklore, and in this tale he saves a village by putting to use his knowledge of physics. This is a good one for the scientists or analytically-minded.
“Legend of the Moon”
(嫦娥奔月 Cháng É Bèn Yuè)
This is a traditional tale that gets retold at the Mid-Autumn Festival, a fantastic event full of food and games where families come together. Reading the Legend of the Moon will connect you to Mandarin traditions.
“Little Grass’s Silver Hair”
(小草银银 Xiǎo Cǎo Yín Yín)
This book is great for building your vocabulary in Mandarin and there are lots of simple words that you’ll be able to grasp quickly. It tells the story of a blade of grass talking to the seasons, and the conversational style will improve your spoken Mandarin in no time.
Learning Mandarin can feel like a big challenge, but by reading easy Chinese books you’ll be improving your language skills whilst enjoying reading. By varying your reading pace and utilizing a dictionary on the side your skills will rapidly grow! Picking up a great Chinese book with a gripping story will encourage you to practice every day, you’ll be fluent in no time at all.