Categories
Beginner

Dear Diary: Mama Please Believe Me

And now a break from all the intermediate and advanced exercises I’ve been posting lately. This one is a straightforward beginner Chinese diary-style essay about a student whose mother is displeased with his (or her, it’s never clarified) homework.

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: The Two Lazybones

This is probably the longest text I’ve ever posted. The first few sentences are much more intermediate as we learn new vocabulary words and set up the story, but after that the reading is mostly a dialogue which is very smooth and fairly simple, so press through the first paragraph or two if you can.

Categories
Advanced

Martial Arts Mastery: Put Yourself at a Disadvantage

In this essay you’ll learn to read Chinese martial arts words – well, a few, anyway – but it’s not really the vocabulary that places this in the “advanced” category. It’s more that most of the text is full of wax-on, wax-off Karate Kid statements, as the martial arts master talks about how putting oneself […]

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 鹬蚌相争 – When two parties fight and a third party benefits

This is the backstory behind the Chinese idiom 鹬蚌相争 yù bàng xiāng zhēng, which translates to “The Sandpiper and the Clam Fight Each Other”, and means “Two parties fight and a third party benefits.”

Categories
Beginner

The Little Bird with No Head

I apologize for not posting a month or so, I’ve been in the process of – ta da – moving back to China, so life’s been exciting but busy. On the upside, looks like I’ll have some interesting new posts from here. But today, in place of something interesting, we’ve got a slightly insipid story […]

Categories
Advanced

News: Malaysia Unveils Special Taxis for Women Only to Warm Welcome

This news story covers a new government initiative to help protect women from sexual harassment by providing special women-only taxis in the capital city Kuala Lumpur.

Categories
Beginner

Little Dog Wears Shoes

A short, sweet, very simple read about a boy, his dog, and a new pair of shoes.

Categories
Advanced

Love Our China: A Patriotic Speech

Welp, you can’t get more forcefully patriotic than this. This transcript of a student’s classroom speech reads like a political call-to-action and includes rousing images of bloody soldiers, strong Chinese athletes and Chinese workers throwing off the yoke of imperialist might. This might be upper intermediate level reading, but I’m classifying it as advanced, as […]

Categories
Intermediate

Essay: My Family’s Dragon Boat Festival

While we’re busy prepping for our holiday season, I figured I’d post something about a Chinese holiday. This is a culturally-rich and comfortably intermediate essay describing how one family celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duān wǔ jié. If you’re curious what the typical Chinese household does on this late-spring holiday (held on the fifth […]

Categories
Beginner

Essay: Happy Me!

A short, easy (very) beginner read about a child going ice-skating. The word “ice skating” appears about a bazillion times in the space of these few sentences, so, after reading this, you may expect to recognize the word for the rest of your natural life.

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 一暴十寒 – Temporary diligence followed by laziness

This short tale addresses the background story behind the Chinese idiom 一暴十寒, which literally translates to “One day of sun, ten days of frost”, and which means “to bust butt for a little while and then get lazy”, or “to only work for a short time and then fail”. The story below really applies to […]

Categories
Beginner

Essay: My Toy Bears

A quick child’s essay about two toy bears – a present from mom.

Categories
Beginner

Essay: Watermelon

A young child’s thoughts and description of watermelon, their favorite fruit.

Categories
Beginner

Essay: Setting Off Fireworks

A short first-person essay about a kid lighting firecrackers with his parents. I went back and forth on whether to classify this as “beginner” or “intermediate”. It’s easier than most of my intermediate stuff, but it’s got a tighter density of higher-level words than my beginner stuff. But it’s only a few sentences long. I […]

Categories
Beginner

Essay: I Did Something for Mom

A sweet essay about a young child doing something nice for her mother.

Categories
Intermediate

How to Make Friends

Just in case you were wondering, below is a short intermediate essay on How to Make Friends.

Categories
Intermediate

Folk tales of real people: Bao Gong Interrogates A Rock

This is definitely my favorite find so far, as it falls solidly within my favorite Chinese story genre with my favorite Chinese archetype: the clever government official who catches a crook.

Categories
Beginner

Father and Son Don’t Get Along

Another super-simple and very short children’s joke.

Categories
Beginner

Joke: The Desert

This is a very short beginner children’s joke.

Categories
Beginner

Children’s Stories: The Little Elephant that Wanted to Fly

A story about a young elephant who learns a valuable life lesson.