We frequently receive emails from our readers. A recent and inspiring story comes from Shang Zhu. Here is his story in her own words.
I’m a first generation Chinese immigrant to Canada. I came here pretty young and did all my education in the west. I attended Chinese classes on Saturdays in my teens but it did little to improve my Chinese reading skill. Due to my poor level, I was put in with the elementary level kids and felt somewhat ashamed. I ended up resenting my parents for forcing me to go and as result I didn’t put in a lot of effort to learning characters. I finished primary schooling practically illiterate in Chinese.
Between my teenage years and now, almost 20 years have passed. Finding the existence of graded readers was truly a blessing. Without exaggerating, the entire Mandarin Companion collection has helped me going from being almost illiterate to being able to read blogs on the net and chat in Chinese! Being able to read Chinese has always felt like an unattainable dream for me. Thanks to you guys, it’s no longer the case!
Looking back, I can see the main reasons my progress to Chinese literacy was slow.
- Less-effective learning strategies: I spent a lot of time reading short difficult texts with words that are not often encountered. Funny enough, I knew how to write most animals but yet could not read the most basic everyday words.
- Lack of age-appropriate material: Most material I could find at my level was for kids which was not interesting to me as a teenager or an adult.
- Lack of a strong need for the language: This is a hard one. However, I feel the strength of the Mandarin Companion series gives me a very interesting story-line that fuels the “need” to keep reading.
I read almost all the books available. I can’t wait to read more books! Ever since, it has been hard to find another graded reader that I have enjoyed reading as much. Thanks for all the great work! I’m amazed to see how suitable materials for learning Chinese as second language have bloomed! Also, ebook are great because of the integrated dictionary! Thanks so much and keep up the great work! 加油！
Shang Zhu, we created Mandarin Companion for people like you. We also know you are not alone. We feel honored to be part of your success story!
If you have a story you’d like to share, drop us a note. We can’t wait to hear from you!