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Chinese Readers' Series: Basic

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Open to: Grades 2-12

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math or verbal score required

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Chinese for Elementary Students, Basic, Part I, Chinese Language, Basic, Part I, or 0.5 year of Chinese

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 5 weeks (Fall Intersession, Spring Intersession, Summer Intersession)

Course Code: CRB1

Course Description


This short, engaging course will open a world of adventure, fun, and entertainment for students studying the Chinese language. Each lively story has an interesting plot that will encourage students to fully understand the story and learn useful Chinese phrases and idioms. The course is designed to enhance reading comprehension skills for basic Chinese readers. Students will practice and improve the four language skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking), which are all a part of the world language requirements to succeed in the use of Chinese at all levels.

Students will attend online lectures once a week via Zoom. The lectures are one-hour long and will be held in the evenings. Lectures are meant for students to better learn and to retain the new vocabulary, reading, and cultural material associated with each reading, and to also provide students with the opportunity to virtually interact with their instructor and/or peers. There will be two separate lectures for students in grades 2-6 and students in grades 7-12.

This course has synchronous virtual class meetings and students may also schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns. View the schedule for class meeting times. Meetings will be recorded for students who are unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Virtual classrooms, and student activities in the classroom, may be recorded and added to the course as an ongoing asset for all class students to review. Students may be invited to interact in CTY community spaces that include students and instructors and potentially specially invited guests that are not enrolled in their course. Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations. Student contributions (e.g., projects, forum posts, etc.) may remain in the course after the student completes the course. These artifacts may be preserved to showcase student work or to continue important conversations.

Materials Required

Students will need a headset with microphone. In addition, students will need the following online stories:

The web-based stories can be purchased through the Better Chinese website.

Although a Chinese-English dictionary is not required, it may be useful as a personal reference for the duration of this course.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Week 1

Making the Apple 不好意思
This is a cute story about three caterpillars entering into a competition where they judge which apple tastes the best.

Week 2

Buy a Dream 买梦
This is a story about a squirrel that wishes with her whole heart to have a dream but can not have one. She tries to buy dreams from other animals before finally having a wonderful dream of her own.

Week 3

The Cat and the Mouse 猫和老鼠
This story tells the origin of the animals representing the twelve year cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar. This story also provides an interesting explanation as to why cats hate mice.

Week 4

Dodo Duck Planet 嘟嘟鴨星球
This story is about a herd of ducks that are deceived by the illusion of modernization. They try to build skyscrapers on their planet, but in the end they realize beauty lies in nature.  

Week 5

The Pea Soldiers Go to Battle 豆豆兵去打仗
This is the story of pea soldiers who went to war and were changed by acts of kindness.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

Most course lectures may be viewed on mobile devices, but in some cases assignments and quizzes must be completed on a desktop or laptop computer.

If you elect to purchase the stories on CD-ROM, the CD-ROM is only compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8 and MAC OS 10.6 Snow Leopard or olderThe CD-ROM is not compatible on MAC Lion and above.


CTY Online Programs World Languages - Comments and Feedback from Students, Parents, and Teachers



“I enjoy the course very much. The individual attention during class makes it a very enjoyable hour, and the friendliness and relaxed atmosphere make class something to look forward to each week. I can’t wait to continue with the next level!”

"My son's foreign language instructor has had the challenging task of forging bonds with her students without being face-to-face with them in a classroom on a daily basis, while teaching them a language quite different from their native tongue. She has inspired our son with her enthusiasm, her expertise, and her extraordinary conscientiousness, kindness, tolerance, and patience. I have rarely had the pleasure and honor of being the parent of a student with a teacher who goes so far above and beyond."

"I really like this course, and I love the way the teacher teaches it. Her style of teaching makes it easier and more fun to participate."