Practical Chinese Reader


The Practical Chinese Reader is a comprehensive introductory Mandarin Chinese language textbook series for college courses or independent study. A beloved classic that has stood the test of time and proved its effectiveness, the Practical Chinese Reader series combines solid training in grammar and pronunciation with dialogues and exercises to give foreign students of Chinese a firm grounding in the language. Cultural notes and historical background provide additional insight into life in China. The series follows two students as they first study Chinese in their own country, and then go to China to participate in a foreign exchange program there.

The two-volume beginning level includes 50 lessons and introduces a vocabulary of 1,000 essential words. Volumes 3 and Volume 4 include 30 lessons covering some 2,000 words, while Volumes 5 and Volume 6 include 30 lessons covering approximately 3,000 words. Texts in Volumes 5 and Volume 6 are original essays and literary works in Chinese. (Please note that Volume 5 has been discontinued and is no longer available.)

Volumes 1 and Volume 2 are available in simplified or traditional characters; Volumes 3 through Volume 6 are available only in simplified characters. In both versions, pinyin is used throughout as a pronunciation guide.

Supplements and Multimedia

We also offer a wealth of supplementary materials designed to accompany the Practical Chinese Reader for additional practice in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

  • Patterns and Exercises workbooks for Volumes 1 and 2 offer additional clear explanations of grammar and sentence patterns, supplementary exercises for grammar and vocabulary practice, and creative activities that reinforce and build on the material taught in the Practical Chinese Reader. The exercises in this workbook provide the perfect practice setting to help students become comfortable with Chinese grammar, solidify their command of new vocabulary, and apply newly learned sentence patterns to a wide variety of real-life situations.
  • The Practical Chinese Reader Companion workbooks for Volumes 1 and 2 include a wealth of notes on grammar and usage, homework exercises, and useful appendices tailored to match the lessons in the Practical Chinese Reader. A variety of exercises allow students to practice, apply and extend newly learned language skills. The Companion books may also be used with the New Practical Chinese Reader. This companion series is divided into three volumes rather than two, to allow the greatest amount of flexibility and a better fit with an academic quarter schedule. (Please note that Companion C, Simplified Edition, has been discontinued and is no longer available.)
  • Character Exercise Books (Simplified) and the Writing Workbook (Traditional) offer a structured approach to practicing and retaining characters from the Practical Chinese Reader 1 and Practical Chinese Reader 2. In addition to ample writing practice, they also include an introduction to stroke order rules and the structure and components of characters, as well as intriguing and academically sound etymological information.
  • Vocabulary List Key: This handy reference includes a list of vocabulary items from Volumes 1 and 2 of the Practical Chinese Reader series, as well as answer keys to sentence completion and translation exercises. Available in simplified character edition only.
  • Audio cassette tape sets provide clear and understandable recordings of the dialogues from Practical Chinese Reader Volumes 1 through Volume 4. They are ideal for listening comprehension or pronunciation practice.
  • VHS cassettes: Video vignettes bring the dialogues from Practical Chinese Reader 1 and Practical Chinese Reader 2 to life. Available in individual and lab version; lab version includes site license for use in language labs.