Step by Step Early Chinese Readers are a series of booklets, published by Cheng & Tsui, which teach beginning students Mandarin Chinese in alignment with the Common Core Standards. Asianmommy received a free copy for review.
These Chinese language readers were designed by Brigham Young University's Chinese Flagship Center. The booklets come in Simplified or Traditional Chinese versions. Inside the front cover, you'll find the English translation of the booklet. On the inside pages, you'll find colorful illustrations with Chinese characters on each page. At the end of the booklet, you'll find a glossary with the individual Chinese words, the pinyin, and their meanings. There's a companion website with audio, flashcards, a word list, and a few pages of writing practice to help non-native Chinese speakers.
Level A is for Grades K-2 and teaches basic vocabulary words in themes including family, hygiene, nutrition, activity, plants, school, water, community, time, and math. There's one short sentence written in Chinese characters per page, 8 pages per booklet, with 33 booklets in total. You'll learn 8-12 new vocabulary words in each booklet, over 300 in all.
Level B is for Grades 2-3 and teaches family, hygiene, nutrition, activity, plants, geology, water, community, ecology, and math. There are 1 to 2 longer sentences per page, 8 pages per booklet, and 30 booklets in all. You can learn 12-16 new vocabulary words in each lesson, about 400 in all.
What I liked: These Level A Chinese readers start out very simply and teach useful, every day words. There's no pinyin on the pages themselves (only on the inside of the back cover), so the kids must remember the characters in order to read the booklets. They enjoy the challenge of it and are really excited about these books. I think this series is a great place to start to learn Chinese.
What could be improved: The Level B readers ramp up very quickly in difficulty, and I find myself having to go back to previous books frequently to remember how to pronounce the words. Luckily, there is a word list online which puts all of the new vocab words in one place for review, which is helpful for those of us who are not as proficient in Mandarin.