Elementary Chinese Reading Lesson - "You Can Read"

chinese reading lessonFirst of all, this reading lesson is targeting at Beginner to Elementary Chinese learners. Anyone else that are rated higher or lower are welcomed too.


Why it’s called “You Can Read”? Well, because it IS focused on preparing you to read Chinese. As a matter of fact, you will read a complete mini novel in the end. From a grammar point, a sentence pattern, a few new words to reading a 550 character mini novel.


This lesson resembles a rich dinner that you can take on a relaxing night. At least that’s my intention. :-) You'll get appetizer, entree and main course in the end. The only difference is, when you finish your "lesson dinner", you'll be full of Chinese language knowledge, instead of food. But not too heavy, I hope?


Anyway, let’s get started …


1. Appetizer:  A grammar point


First of all, let’s look at a magic character that you might love or hate:

It does have other crazy meaning and sound, but in this lesson we only care about one:




(used after a verb to mean The Present Progressive Tense of that verb: doing)


For example,

坐着 zuò zhe (sitting),

想着 xiǎng zhe (thinking),

爱着 ài zhe (loving)


Yes, you can place it after any verb you know that’ll make sense for Present Progressive Tense.


You’d better remember the three examples I just show, they’ll meet you again in the mini novel. :-)



2. Drink: A sentence pattern


Let’s start with our slogan for this lesson: The more you read, the better you get.


Switch it into Chinese:


你读得越多, 越好。

nǐ dú dé yuè duō yuè hǎo


Simple. The sentence pattern you need to learn and remember is 越…, 越…” yuè …,

yuè … (the more …, the more…).


Just fit in the normal sentence into the pattern mode, you’ll get what you want, like this:


你读得多, 好。 =>   越…, 越…  

=>  你读得越多, 越好。



3. Entree: A few new words


You do need to learn a few new words that can be categorized as “love” terminology

since the frequency they appear in a love story is usually high :


爱情 àiqíng (love)  

- the main ingredient of love


hèn (hate)

- when love turns to the opposite


分手 fēnshǒu (breakup)

- an ending of a relationship, for good or for bad


结束 jiéshù (done; over)

- when no one says “I love you” anymore


xiǎng (think; miss)

- occupied-brain syndrom while in love


kū (cry)

- the overflow of emotions when love is too much or too little


jiǔ (alcohol)

- Tylenol for love pains


电话 diànhuà (phone)

- the device to pass love messages, regardless of its quality


péi (accompany)

- a way to maintain love relationship



4. Main Course: Mini novel


Now you’re ready to move on to read a 550 character mini novel titled “Break Up” (with pinyin, English translation, vocab table and traditional Chinese version) in three consecutive posts:


JLC Mini Novel:  分手 Break Up


It is written for Beginner to Elementary level Chinese learners. All the knowledge points you learned in this post will be revisited by you in the novel. You might also learn a few new words too.


When you're done, please let me know whether you can understand the novel? Do you feel it’s too hard or too easy for your level? How long it takes you to finish the novel (three posts)? Anything you wanna share, feel free to leave your feedback.


Thank you and hope you enjoy your learning and reading!


This Chinese reading lesson was originally published on the Study More Chinese Blog

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Comment by Grace on March 10, 2013 at 2:21pm

Ine, thanks for your kind words. Glad you like it and find it helpful. Feedback from learners is very important for native speaker like me to understand what is the best way to present learning materials. I've just started a new Upper Beginner mystery story 失踪 (Missing), hope you like it too. :-)

Comment by Inemesit Williams on March 8, 2013 at 3:26pm
Grace, I found your short novel to be very helpful and noticed that you made updates to reflect suggestions from people who read the novel. I really like that there is now an option to read with characters only. 很好看!

Comment by Grace on October 16, 2012 at 1:01am

我还在继续写呢, 其实 for beginner 的最难写,因为你必须用最简单的词表达成年人的生活和感情。

It’s challenging, but is full of fun. I’ll keep you posted … thanks …

Top Member
Comment by Thomas Doherty on September 29, 2012 at 1:04am

To Grace    多謝 ( Mandarin - Duōxiè, Cantonese - Doe-jeh --- Many Thanks ) 

Comment by Grace on September 27, 2012 at 10:39am

To sikora,

Thanks for your encouragement on this idea!

I feel the same, there are too little reading material (especially for adult) for Elementary, even intermediate Chinese learners. I hope I can help to fill in the gap ...

To improve my approach in this area, I do need learner's feedback to keep it going.  :-)


Comment by Grace on September 27, 2012 at 10:29am

To Thomas,

我爱你。               Wǒ ài nǐ.                            I love you.  ( anyone, mother, father, country, etc )

  -> That's correct!

我爱情你。            Wǒ àiqíng nǐ.                      I love you.   ( implicitly means romantic love )

-> This is not correct.  爱情 is the noun form of "love", can't use it as a verb. As a noun, 爱情 = romantic love.  

我浪漫地爱你。      Wǒ làngmàn de ài nǐ.       I romantically love you.  ( explicit romantic love ) 

-> Grammarly correct. As for where you can practically use that sentence, I'm not sure. Maybe in poem or a love letter. But not oral.  :-)

Comment by sikora on September 27, 2012 at 9:45am

This is a fantastic idea Grace!  It's hard to find interesting stories online for the elementary adult learner.  I think you've really hit on something here.  Keep them coming!

Top Member
Comment by Thomas Doherty on September 27, 2012 at 8:44am

Is this the correct way to think of some of the different love words?

我爱你。               Wǒ ài nǐ.                            I love you.  ( anyone, mother, father, country, etc )

我爱情你。            Wǒ àiqíng nǐ.                      I love you.   ( implicitly means romantic love )

我浪漫地爱你。      Wǒ làngmàn de ài nǐ.       I romantically love you.  ( explicit romantic love ) 


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