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Mandarin Companion Mini-Review: Engaging for Beginners

Mandarin Companion
Price: $6.84 and up
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Mandarin Companion was developed from one of the founder’s experiences in drastically improving his Chinese through extensive reading. Jared read 10 graded readers in 3 months and discovered that, after 2 years of trying to learn Chinese, he could finally hold a conversation with his colleagues.

Like Jared, through Mandarin Companion’s graded readers, learners can start to understand grammar in context and enjoy the process of reading. The books are written using 98% of the words you probably know, with new words gradually introduced as the story progresses. You should only find about one new character or word for every 40-50 characters you have read, and new words will include a footnote with definitions.

You will be sure to find engaging story plots with this series, as many of the books are based on the works of famous authors, such as Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle.

The readers come in three levels: The breakthrough level (150 unique characters), Level 1 (300 unique characters), and level 2 (450 unique characters). Those who want to go beyond the levels of these books can check out Pleco’s graded readers or The Chairman’s Bao for more extensive reading material.

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