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Chinese Biographies

2nd Edition
by Grace Wu
Description

Chinese Biographies chronicles the lives of pop culture icons with connections to the Chinese-speaking world. Learning about world-renowned personalities from fields such as sports, music, and fashion helps engage student interest, while reading practice will boost their confidence and enjoyment of the language.

Targeted at North American high school and college language learners, this award-winning series of readers focuses on international celebrities like Jay Chou, Lang Lang, Ang Lee, Yao Ming, Jeremy Lin, and Vera Wang to maintain a cultural context relevant to American students.

The second edition offers two equally helpful versions of the text: one version in Simplified Characters (without annotations) and one version in Simplified Characters with word-by-word pinyin annotations—giving students a better understanding of how Chinese characters come together. This flexibility allows teachers and students to choose what learning style best fits the class, the student, or even the day!

These engaging biographies are designed for students who have mastered 1000-1200 vocabulary words. Each chapter is preceded and followed by comprehension questions to facilitate dialogue between teachers and students. The Chinese Biographies Companion Website includes additional exercises to improve students’ grammar and vocabulary as well as providing access to mp3 audios, class handouts, and vocabulary lists.  Chinese Biographies are ideal readers for both classroom instruction and independent learning.

Online resources include:

  • Audio Downloads
  • Comprehension Exercises
  • Grammar Notes
  • English Translations
  • Sentence Pattern Exercises
  • Vocabulary Lists
Features
  • Accessible language, ideal for beginning and intermediate students
  • NEW “Where is he now?” section with the latest personal and professional information
  • Pre- and post-reading comprehension questions
  • For high school and college students with mastery of 1000-1200 vocabulary words
  • Free companion website with audio, vocabulary lists, and multimedia
Reviews

"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. It would be great if Ms Wu utilized a linguistic and conceptual model for controlling the readability level of the text. That would be especially useful not only for heritage speakers but also for speakers learning Chinese as a foreign language."

— 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.