The Practical Chinese Readers are a venerable collection of textbooks with a long history.
From Wikipedia: "Practical Chinese Reader is a series of Chinese language teaching books developed to teach non-Chinese speakers to speak Chinese. The reader follows the antics of Palanka and Gubo through various stages. Practical Chinese Reader is administered by the Chinese Department of Culture and most students of Mandarin in a classroom setting probably have contact with the book. The course consists of a Chinese reader, character workbook, and grammar workbook. It was first published in 1981 by Beijing Language and Culture University Press".
These books are available in English, Spanish, French and German editions. I first became acquainted with them through their German versions during a university course I took a long time ago. Since then, I have collected the six readers in English and managed to track down the corresponding audio tapes. I hear there's a grammar workbook, but have never seen it.
If you were to work systematically through them, you should end up with a very decent reading level. Books 1 and 2 roughly cover HSK level A, with a vocabulary of just over 1200 words.
Books 3 and 4 cover have a vocabulary of 2000 words, and books 5 and 6 require 3000 words to work through.
They're now a bit dated, but for a long time were maybe the only textbooks which covered such a broad scope of levels. Though a New Practical Chinese Reader has come out, presumeably with more up to date material, the older books have the advantage that there is quite a bit of material online designed for them.
I thought it might be interesting to try to cobble together a list of chinesepod lessons which cover the content of different chapters of these textbooks, and am hoping someone else has them and will join in. There must be links and materials out there which I haven't found yet.
I'll start with the first chapters and see if there's any interest. If after a while it seems like I'm the only one here I may stop, but I'm hoping a few hands will help out and after a while we should have put together a very complete curriculum where Chinesepod and PCR complement each other nicely.
I'm also hoping a few extra pair of eyes will help find the odd typo in the books.
So, pull up a chair and join in!
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