New Practical Chinese Reader
Through the six volumes of this series, the authors reinforce language structure and function, integrating lessons with dialogues and cultural information. Students will follow the lives of nine main characters, initially learning basic sentence patterns through reading their dialogues, and then advancing to more complex material.
The New Practical Chinese Reader does not have as flashy of a textbook design as the Integrated Chinese textbook series. However, it is significantly cheaper and has several other advantages — including having been published by the Beijing Language and Culture University Press. Unlike in the Integrated Chinese textbook series, the focus on character writing extends beyond what is contained in the dialogues. Before attacking more complex characters, you will learn the fundamental rules of Chinese characters and break down character components. There is also a 34-page introduction to pronunciation with drills to reinforce your understanding throughout the early chapters. For the beginner levels, you will notice tone marks indicated above each character so you can get accustomed to proper tone use.
Overall, the New Practical Chinese Reader has a stronger focus on writing and pronunciation than Integrated Chinese, but the grammar explanations may not be as strong. Luckily, Chinese Grammar Wiki can be used to supplement your understanding if you do end up using this textbook.