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Chinese Biographies

2nd Edition
by Grace Wu

Why did Jeremy Lin's journey to the NBA inspire so many people? When did Ang Lee start to feel like a success in the film industry? How did Yao Ming get his drive to excel in basketball? What was Lang Lang's first exposure to classical piano music? Where did Vera Wang develop her business savvy? Where does Jay Chou find inspiration for his music? The fascinating Chinese Biographies series answers all these questions and more to inspire young learners while reinforcing their language learning. New epilogues in the 2nd Edition include updated personal and professional information for each pop culture icon. 

Designed for learners who have mastered 1000-1200 vocabulary words, each biography is available with or without pinyin annotation to accommodate different teaching and learning styles. Pre- and post-reading comprehension questions build reading fluency and encourage cultural comparisons. The Chinese Biographies companion website includes additional exercises to improve students’ grammar and vocabulary, as well as audio recordings, class handouts, vocabulary lists, and English translations. Chinese Biographies are ideal readers for both classroom instruction and independent learning.

  • Accessible language ideal for beginning and intermediate students
  • Epilogues with updated personal and professional information for each pop culture icon
  • Pre- and post-reading comprehension questions
  • Companion website with audio, vocabulary lists, and multimedia

"Learning how to read Chinese involves learning, literally, thousands of characters whose correspondence to sounds is not as neat as in western languages, i.e., it would be hard to "sound out" word that you haven't seen before in writing. Simplifying the task by providing simplified readers with phonetic transcriptions directly associated with the words is a very good and pedagogically valid step. Such readers are scarce in Chinese. Ms Wu used technology as an enabler to both create and share the material online, setting an excellent example."

— Dr. Eleni Miltsakaki, Institute of Research in Cognitive Science, University of Pennsylvania
About the Author(s)

Grace Wu is a Senior Lecturer in Foreign Language in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Chinese literacy and Chinese character teaching. Currently, Grace is the Chinese Reading and Writing Course coordinator at the Penn Chinese Language Program. Combining Grace's creativity and her 20-year experience in the field of Chinese language education, the Chinese Biographies series has been selected as the best grant project of 2012 for the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.