A while ago a friend of mine expressed the desire to learn Chinese and asked whether I could help. At the time I thought, ‘sure why not?’. Having learnt Chinese as my first language and having used it for the majority of my life, I figured I might be of help, and was all fired up and ready to put on my scholarly hat and assume the role of a teacher. Well, that didn’t come to pass. As it turns out, physical distance is an issue, and traveling regularly to attend (or teach) private lessons requires commitment, one that I wasn’t sure if either of us were ready to give.
Fortunately, an acceptable workaround was found. My friend had some basic skills in terms of listening and speaking Chinese, so I thought starting on reading skills would be essential in order to build a solid foundation for the eventual mastery of the language (one can hope after all 🙂 and who am I to stop someone from striving for their goal 😉 ). After some search, I was able to find the perfect learning material – well, almost – in the form of four workbooks designed for beginners: simple, straightforward, focused on understanding the words rather than mere memorization, and most importantly, came with English instructions. These workbooks are gold, it’s like the Kanabō to the Oni, the Genie to Aladdin, or the Firebolt to Quidditch player; with these in hand, teaching Chinese would be a breeze.