Reviews for Real Reads Chinese Classics

Don’t just take our word for it that the Real Reads Chinese Classics are a significant landmark in bringing Chinese culture to western readers. Here are some reviews by key teachers responsible for the promotion of the teaching of Chinese language and culture:

“Attractive and fast-paced”

“Christine Sun and Shirley Chiang have worked well as a team, producing attractive books and fast-paced stories. Besides the fact that the resources allow us to introduce more and more western children to China’s rich culture and literature, I like the way the stories are told. The books have been written in a gripping manner while still managing to keep the principal characteristics of the original Chinese stories. To help the reader set the scene colourful and appealing illustrations are included. These provide important cultural information for students with little knowledge of China’s culture, architecture, fashion and customs.

Each volume begins with a handy introduction to the stories’ key characters, and ends with a comprehensive section covering the history of the original Chinese story and author, key subplots that were left out as they were retold, other books to refer to for further information, and research as well as starting points for literacy lessons.

These, combined with the wonderful Schemes of Work from the Chinese Staffroom, enable teachers to maximise and energise their lessons to inspire students.

I really enjoyed reading the Real Reads Chinese Classics, as I haven’t managed to read all of the original classics.

It is a delight to share them with students. It’s wonderful to see the books, even now after so many years, still managing to inspire, and more importantly entertain, readers. I’m looking forward to sharing them even more with my classes in the future.

Gina Jamieson is the Mandarin teacher at Djanogly City Academy, one of England’s five original Confucius Classrooms, where Chinese is taught at all key stages.

“These Books Are A Delight”

These books are a delight, the stories well told, the illustrations lively and appealing and the 64-page format very accessible to young readers. What makes them really stand out from the crowd, however, are the imaginative and detailed schemes of work that accompany each book. Ideal for upper primary or lower secondary, they could be the basis of an entire term’s worth of exciting learning, from science to writing, from PSHE to mathematic, from art and design to geography and history.

Each scheme of work also includes Chinese language topics, graded for beginners, for those with a little language and for those gaining confidence. So, for example, the language work suggested for The Water Margin includes nicknames (which would bring in adjectives and basic greetings) for beginners; conjunctions (I am called this because … ) for those with some language; and, for more advanced, a look at the way that Chinese words combine to make different meanings.

With lots of web links to resources and free teaching tools, there is no need for the teacher, whether a specialist or not, to have to hunt around for information, video links or other ways of broadening the learning experience. Reading the ideas in the schemes of work makes you want to throw away your term’s planning and dive into one of these units.

The books themselves also have illustrated list of protagonists to help those confused by unfamiliar names, maps where necessary, brief introductions to the historical contexts, web links, and suggested topics for discussion or further thought.

Rereading these tales reminds you of why they have endured. Books like these will bring all those wonderful, complex characters like Dai Yu, Cao Cao, Wu Song, and, of course, Monkey, stepping out of the pages and into the imaginations of new generations of children.

Theresa Munford is Head of Mandarin at The Ashcombe School, a Language College in Dorking, England. She teaches Mandarin in innovative ways to primary and secondary students up to GCSE level.