Rainbow Dragon Modular Chinese Language Learning Program (That’s quite a mouthful! Which is why I will simply refer to it as Rainbow Dragon Levelled Readers for the rest of the post) 七色龙汉语分级阅读
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About the Books
Embarking on a wider Chinese reading journey with my three children after finishing the Sage Book Readers, we stumbled upon the Rainbow Dragon Levelled Readers on the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app. For some reason I still don’t quite understand, all three of them love it. To the extent that they will fight to read it for their bedtime stories. If I say only 2 books, they will ask for more. Once, Da Bao read 20 of the Rainbow Dragon levelled readers in one go!
For my family, I have used these readers primarily for my children’s independent reading, and have found it to be very effective. Hence, I am recommending this set of readers to you today for your Chinese teaching needs.
So, the Rainbow Dragon levelled readers have been developed to help children between ages 6 to 11 (Primary age) learn to read. Their target population are children who are picking up Chinese as a foreign language, and you can see that consideration within the books. There are different nationalities depicted in the readers, bringing a healthy level of diversity into them. There are also an entire series of books about Chinese culture which I was delighted to see. You can read more about it on the publisher FLTRP (Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press) website.
*Please note that this is a recommendation for the level 1 Rainbow Dragon levelled readers, they have level 2 and 3 available as well, which we have not read.
Why is it called Rainbow Dragon Levelled Readers?
It’s called the Rainbow Dragon Levelled readers, as the main characters are a family of seven dragons. Water dragon 水龙 is the baby in the family, and the source of comic relief in most of the books. Her older siblings are Flower Dragon 花龙, Fire Dragon 火龙, Sky Dragon 天龙 and Mountain Dragon 山龙. And along with Mummy Dragon and Daddy Dragon, we read about their life within very relatable, and common situations.
In each level, there will be at least 2 readers featuring the Rainbow Dragon family. The other readers will touch on the same topic, but are illustrated differently, which frankly, is great for generalisation of the concept and Chinese vocabulary.
This series of readers are conveniently organised into 15 different thematic categories, with 5 books in each category. I personally find the topics are very comprehensive for early readers. It’s basically covering all preschool to early Primary Chinese vocabulary.
The topics are as below:
- Family Members 家人
- Food 食物
- Parts of Body 身体
- Animals 动物
- Time 时间
- Nationalities 国籍
- School 学校
- Sports 运动
- Nature 自然
- Transportation 交通工具
- Clothes 服饰
- Furniture & Stationery 家具和文具
- Jobs 工作
- Community 社区
- Chinese Culture 中国文化
Do note that all the readers are in Simplified Chinese only, and pinyin.
The pictures shows two different readers in the Nature series. As you can see, there is only one sentence on each page, and the same sentence structure is repeated throughout that book. The same Chinese vocabulary is repeated throughout the five readers in that thematic series.
Essentially with the five readers in one theme, you are generalising the Chinese words you have learnt from one, and relating it to the others, and creating more connections, as you read the entire five books. I honestly find this very helpful in building Chinese vocabulary connection with my three children.
In addition, because the same sentence is repeated throughout the book, your child may find it easier to understand and learn basic Chinese sentence structure. I know mine did!
There is a review page at the end, which lists down the Chinese words, pinyin, and English definition. I use this as an assessment page, to check that my children have learnt to read the Chinese words by themselves.
*Top tip, you can get lots of free teaching resources to go along with the readers. Scroll down to Supplementary Teaching Ideas find the link!
If you have a reluctant reader, and have not had much success with other levelled readers because they are not as interesting, this set of leveled readers may be a good compromise. If your child is not interested in reading Chinese books at all, I suggest you try Ellabook to cultivate his/her interest first, before tackling their reading skills.
What I like about the books
I personally love the thematic organisation of the readers. It helps my children to generalise their Chinese vocabulary they had learnt in one book out of that set, to the others.
The readers themselves are simple and concise, colourfully engaging without being too distracting.
Best thing about it is, is just how much my children love them. They absolutely enjoy these little readers, especially the ones with the dragon characters, and will beg to read them all in one go!
Here is a quick video of my daughter Er Bao reading one of the Rainbow Dragon levelled readers on the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro App.
What I dislike about the books
Just one tiny issue. The length of the books are inconsistent, despite being on the same level. This meant that certain Chinese vocabulary is repeated more than the others, which sort of skews the reading advancement a little.
This gets a solid 5 star rating from us. My children love reading these readers, and that is half the battle won, isn’t it? One of the star is because of all the extra FREE teaching resources they offer on the website. Keep reading to Supplementary Teaching Ideas to find out more.
I highly recommended this set of readers for little budding Chinese learners starting from the age of 3. These readers are delightful to read, concise and simple. True. It isn’t as systematic as the Sage levelled readers, but what it does is give your child a broader range of books within the same theme.
Additionally, I find this set of levelled readers are best suited for lower primary children, as the stories and vocabulary taught are basically preschool/ primary level. I found them to be fairly similar to the Odonata Learn Sentence Structure series which, by the way, is also great for preschoolers learning Chinese.
Where to purchase
We read all these books on the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app for ONLY USD$10/AUD$14.50 per month, which by the way I highly recommend you get if you want to establish an independent reading habit with your children, but lack access and money(!!) to Chinese readers. (p.s. I have no affiliation with the company, it’s just too good a bargain not to share!)
Otherwise, you can also purchase physical copies of the readers at JD.com or Tmall. They sell the entire level 1 Rainbow Dragon Levelled readers, or individual thematic series. Available sellers are listed on the publishers website too.
Supplementary Teaching Ideas
Amazingly, there are tonnes of FREE Video and Learning Resources available on the FLTRP website!!
You will have to sign up as a member to access them. But get this, it is all FREE!! Awesome! I have watched video readings of the books, listened to audio readings, downloaded the books, flashcards, worksheets and activity ideas. It takes a bit of time to navigate the resource site as they are organised by thematic set, but it is so worth the effort.
For some reason, I couldn’t open the teacher assessment files on my Macbook, so depending on your OS, you might run into similar issues.
Complete Rainbow Dragon Levelled Readers List
- Family Members 家人 ISBN: 978-7-5135-9695-4
- Food 食物 ISBN: 978-7-5135-9720-3
- Parts of Body 身体 ISBN: 978-7-5135-9944-3
- Animals 动物 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0067-3
- Time 时间 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0219-6
- Nationalities 国籍 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0416-9
- School 学校 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0415-2
- Sports 运动 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0472-5
- Nature 自然 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0594-4
- Transportation 交通工具 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0570-8
- Clothes 服饰 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0758-0
- Furniture & Stationery 家具和文具 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0472-5
- Jobs 工作 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0931-7
- Community 社区 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0929-4
- Chinese Culture 中国文化 ISBN: 978-7-5213-0771-9
What Chinese levelled readers have you tried with your children at home? Do drop us a line and share your recommendations with us!