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New Practical Chinese Reader, Vol. 1 (English and Chinese Edition) DVD-ROM – January 1, 2005
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However, instructions (I assume for the teacher to help him/her to deliver the Textbook) are in Chinese. I personally think this should also be given in English, especially to help those students who want to learn Chinese on their own or do not have access to a native Chinese speaking teacher or a teacher whose main language is not Chinese. This, I find is the only disadvantage of the Instructor's Manual.
The new PCR's have kept the good points of the earlier readers and have improved upon them significantly. These improvements are the format, the quality of the dialogues, the references at the end of the book, and a first-rate 4-skills pedagogical approach. The authors of this book really do expect you to learn to speak, read, and write Chinese.
As a home study tool for a first time learner, the books are not great because they depend on having a university level instructor or advanced high school teacher to get you through the difficult parts. One of the earlier reviewers here noted this problem as the book suddenly morphs from pinyin to kanji. The workbooks are also superfluous and not useful. The CD's are a complete ripoff. There is a plethora of audio material available for free on the Internet.
Home learners should check out some of the excellent videocam Chinese lessons offered on the Internet, most of which come with their own textbooks, which are cheaper than PCR.[...] Their textbook was comparable to PCR in quality.
Bottom line: excellent textbook, shoddy ancillary materials, great for structured classroom, poor for home learning.
I have studied Chinese off and on for a few years, using many different texts, but I keep forgetting when I don't continue studying, so I am using the book as review. I chose it on the recommendation of my teacher. This text is good for me, but it is also good for total beginners. In fact, my teacher chose it for herself because it works with students of many different levels.
The writing aspect is particularly good, and quite different from other texts I have used. Characters are introduced right away, and the components of the characters are emphasized. It's like teaching the 'alphabet' of parts that are used to construct characters, and the logic of it. One point to make is that the characters used are primarily in simplified form as used in mainland China, although the traditional forms are usually given too.