About the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro App 学汉语学华文
Wawayaya JoyReader Pro is a very affordable and comprehensive Chinese levelled reader app. There are 12 levels in total, catering to all levels of primary aged readers. All these books on your tablet for a super cheap price of USD$9.99 per month! This is too good to be true! Or is it?
Basically, Wawayaya JoyReader Pro is a Chinese digital library chock full of levelled readers. There is a sister app Wawayaya Reader which offers a different Chinese reading experience (with animated books, audiobooks etc). This review is for the former as a Chinese levelled reader app for primary aged children.
Does it fulfil that requirement? Yes it actually does! And yes for USD$9.99 per month.
Digital access is via the app only, with the option of a monthly or yearly subscription. Alternatively, you can purchase selected Chinese reader series to try out too. Keep reading to find out the actual pricing.
This post was updated in 2022 to reflect the Chinese book addition to the collection. By this point, we have have been using this app for 1.5 years.
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Difference between Wawayaya JoyReader Pro and Wawayaya Reader
One key difference between the two Wawayaya apps is that JoyReader Pro is clearly categorised by reading level. Love it! I, for one, do not have spare time to be selecting books for three children, who are at different reading level.
Design of app
Books within the Wawaywaya JoyReader Pro app is organised visually into the different reading levels. As you can see on the picture above, recommended books for each level is displayed clearly and neatly. In addition, you can also select books based on publishers, or search for a specific title.
The app is super easy to use. Books are clearly displayed, and the voices for “Read-to-me” narration is pleasing. The Chinese accent is fairly neutral. Not only do you get different voices for different people, but also the Chinese characters are highlighted along with the narration. This is useful for younger children who may need help following the text. See video below for a quick look into one of their readers.
*Top tip: go to the “Library” section to access all the readers for that level. On the homepage, you will see the different levelled readers displayed by reading grade. Clicking on those buttons will only display a small selection! There are many more readers in every level when you go through the “Library” section. Here is a nifty installation walkthrough.
Chinese Books Selection
Books in the selection are mainly from Chinese publishing houses in China and (surprise surprise!) my hometown of Singapore. At the time of writing, there are over 3000+ books in the app!
Some of the popular reader series it has are:
- Sinolingua Reading Tree Starter for preschoolers
- Big Apple Chinese Readers
- Rainbow Dragon
- Flying in Chinese
- Sinolingua My First Chinese Storybooks
- Odonata Readers
I’m afraid there are no popular cartoon affiliated picture books. In that case, I would suggest you try out Kada Books or Ellabook (Read our review of it) instead.
My honest opinion is this. Wawayaya JoyReader Pro has a great and varied selection of Chinese readers, up till the age of about 9 or Level H on this app. Unfortunately, from that point on, the selection becomes fairly boring, and repetitive. For your more advanced reader, I suggest you look for graphic novels, short novels (think translated classics such as Narnia, Harry Potter, Thirteen treehouse series), or classic Chinese tales Journey to the West etc.
Here’s a visual snapshot of the type of levelled readers available for all the 12 levels.
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade A
Grade A books are super simple, one sentence books. Think Bob Books in full colour. We liked the following series:
- Cool Panda
- Sinolingua Reading Tree Starter
- Flying with Chinese
- Odonata Readers
Some of the grade A books should really be in grade B, and vice versa. I suggest you start with the Chinese reader series I have listed above. The readers are not organised as well as I would like to. Some level C books should be at A, and some level A books should be at B or C. It take some trial and error to find the right ones. If you start with the titles above, you have enough to go on for a while.
I have a special section here for the Odonata Readers which I absolutely recommend. If you don’t want to read it on the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app, you should buy the physical copies of it from the official publisher website or bookstores in Singapore such as Popular, Kinokuniya or Mahayuyi.
Shipping was too expensive for us, so we ended up with the digital option. It was only added to the Wawayaya Joyreader Pro collection in 2022!
Even thought it’s labelled as Chinese readers for preschoolers, it is suitable for preschoolers and primary aged children. The entire series target 1200 Chinese characters and span 5 series which area colour coded for your convenience.
What I like about the series is there is no pinyin! The only pinyin aid is when new Chinese vocabulary words are introduced.
My youngest (4YO) is already on Level 3 (blue series) and my oldest (7YO) is on Level 4 (pink series).
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade B
Grade A, B and C books are not the most organised, as I pointed out previously. We have enjoyed the Rainbow Dragon graded readers, which comes in a thematic set. The children liked and readily identified the dragon characters with themselves. Scroll down to watch my daughter Er Bao read one of the readers independently!
I suggest these following series
- Rainbow Dragon
- Chinese Step by Step
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade C
A fairly big jump on reading difficulty from Grade B books to Grade C books. As you can see from the Little Mermaid picture book, your child will be expected to read in paragraphs.
Thankfully the topics get more interesting. In particular, I would like to point out the Children Financial Quotient series, which teaches children about finances and money. Another good solid series to get into is the Rainbow Little Readers series.
My daughter loves the fairytales, and they are available in both Chinese and English options. Funnily enough, I think it helps her Chinese when she listens to both versions.
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade D
Pinyin aid starts to disappearing from this grade on. You can find books about Chinese idioms, and classic tales.
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade E
Three letters: 西游记.
In grade E, your child will start to read this simplified version of the classic Chinese tale of “Journey to the West”. My son who is 7, absolutely loves the Monkey King 孙悟空, so even though he can’t read this by himself, I read to him the mischievous antics of the amazing Monkey King.
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade F
Starting from grade F, you can find comic books. LeLe Brainwave is a good one. And if you have dinosaur lovers in the house, they have a Dinosaur is Coming series which is really cool!
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade G
Grade G is when the reading gets a lot tougher. These are proper stories with longer paragraphs.
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade H
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade I
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade J
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade K
Books from Wawayaya JoyReader Pro Grade L
Chinese Language Options for Books
Only Simplified Chinese levelled readers are offered in the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app. Depending on the level, they may come with pinyin aid too. Some of the books are also bilingual.
The leveled readers may be presented in Simplified Chinese, or Simplified Chinese and English, depending on the original format of the book. You will find more Chinese books with pinyin for the easier reading levels. As your child advances to the higher reading level, the books tend to be only in Simplified Chinese.
Furthermore, you have the option of turning off the pinyin, and the English translation. Below is a simple visual guide to help you use the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app’s language features.
What's good about Wawayaya JoyReader Pro App?
The best thing about this app is that there are some truly clever features in this app which will be very helpful for non-native Chinese parents. As per the pictures shown above, you can record and test your child’s reading accuracy, turn on and off the pinyin, as well as English translation.
- Books can be read out loud
- Sentences can be shown with or without pinyin
- You can choose to display the English translation.
- The recording function will grade your reading of each sentence
- When you tap on the Chinese words and phrases, the dictionary definition appears, and you have the option of English or Chinese definition. It also shows the traditional Chinese etymological basis for that word.
- When you tap on a singular word, it will display the written stroke with number order.
- App instructions can be displayed in English
In this video below, I think you can appreciate the cleverness of the little Chinese learning features within the app. Clicking on any one Chinese word will bring up a few nifty learning tools. First, an English dictionary, second a Chinese dictionary, and third, a numbered stroke demonstration for each Chinese character, tracing its etymological origins. Honestly, this app is really well designed with its linguistic depth of the Chinese characters. 100% appeals to the nerd-teacher-mum in me!
What's not so good about Wawayaya JoyReader Pro App?
The initial starting readers offered can be quite boring, as the graphics aren’t as interesting or pretty. (Think the immensely popular reader series Sage Books HK. If you have never heard of them. What?! Read about it here to see what you have been missing out ). The readers does get more engaging when your child progresses to the more advanced stages. Although I have to say that the book selection are not the most interesting of topics, or popular readers which I will personally purchase. I guess you have to compromise on a few things to get optimal reading results!
Much left to be desired for the advanced readers, which tends to be classic Tang poetry, classic Chinese tales, and it is repeated amongst the level. Boring… At this point, you’ll be better off buying Chinese chapter books (which won’t cost as much as the early readers!)
I wish that the app had the option of creating different reader profiles for my children, and assign books to them which is what I love about Get Epic books (FYI they have Chinese books too).
Some users have said they had problems with downloading the books, and can’t access them unless their devices are connected to wifi. I have used this on my iphone and it has worked fine.
The million dollar question! Will the Wawayaya JoyReader Pro app help my child to learn how to read Chinese?
Just as you would with a picture book or an actual levelled reader in any language, you should sit with your children as they read to listen and correct them when they make a mistake. If you do this, then yes this app will help your child to read Chinese.
However, if you are going to have your child read the books by themselves on the app. Then, chances are they will just click on the “Read to me” button and be passively engaged in the stories. They may pick up some new Chinese vocabulary, and recognise some new Chinese words through incidental learning. To truly learn how to read Chinese words, Sorry mummies and daddies, I’m afraid you still have to put in the time and effort to make this work!
So in a nutshell, Wawayaya JoyReader Pro is a wonderfully organised Chinese levelled reader app that can provide you with adequate Chinese reading materials to help you teach your children to read Chinese. It will not teach your children for you.
Watch the video below of Er Bao who at 4.5 years old is reading independently a Rainbow Dragon Graded Reader (Level B).
Personally, I feel that the clever Chinese learning features alone are worth the app. Because I’m a real geek about words and their origins. Well, and not to mention the 3000 readers you get with a super cheap USD$9.99 subscription. It is hard to beat that price for Chinese levelled readers conveniently on your fingertips!
Hence, if you are looking for a systematic and organised Chinese reader app, Wawayaya JoyReader Pro is currently your best option. WuKong Books 悟空阅读 is your other option, but the sheer volume of books in Wawayaya JoyReader Pro trumps WuKong Books 悟空阅读 offerings easily. Besides, Wawayaya JoyReader Pro does a really neat job of making the learning easy with its super user friendly interface, given how organised the readers are. Even if you are a non-native Chinese speaker, you will be able to use the app, and check your child’s pronunciation with the recording function.
Where to download
Subscription is required to access all the reading materials. The first 3 days are free.
Pricing as follows:
- One month’s access (SVIP) USD$9.99/AUD$15.49
- One year’s access (SVIP) USD$99.90/AUD$154.99
Additionally, you have the option of purchasing access to selected reader series for USD$0.99/AUD$1.49.
Happy reading fellow mummies, daddies, teachers and homeschoolers!
At Mandarin Homeschool, we are constantly trying out Chinese learning apps and books to review and share with you. My three young children are my stringent testers whose honest opinions and responses are recorded here.
To read our app reviews: Mandarin Homeschool app reviews
To read our book reviews: Mandarin Homeschool book reviews
Where to buy Chinese books in Australia will give you a comprehensive list of bookstores locally and abroad for both Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese books.