Here’s some information that I think will help you get the most out of my posts over at the Monkey Blog, where you find many online Chinese reading exercises, handy Chinese learning resources, and other interesting recommendations.
Organization of reading practice posts
A significant part of the Monkey Blog is dedicated to practising your Chinese reading skills, one of the two main things that are emphasized by The Monkey Mandarin Method (the other is writing practice to develop your writing skills).
Being a significant topic, I figured I need a system of filing all the posts in the Monkey Blog in a logical and easy to find manner. So I’ve categorized (filed) all posts based on two criteria:
- According to difficulty level, that is, whether Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. This is the main category.
- According to genre or type of article. This is the sub-category, so for example, Aesop’s Fables and Idioms and Proverbs might be a sub-category of the three difficulty levels.
Besides the two categorizations, I have also tagged each story with the relevant tag. This is to make it easier for you if you are searching solely by genre whereas the categorizations help you search by difficulty level. That’s the reason why you may notice that within difficulty levels there may be overlapping genres, for example both Intermediate and Advanced levels contain the sub-category Idioms and Proverbs as many of the idioms I came across had varying difficulty levels.
In summary, between the categorizations and the tagging you can effectively and easily find what suits you best, either based on difficulty level or based on genre.
A note on the translations of the reading exercises
You may have noticed in many of the reading practice posts, I may use round (brackets) or square [brackets]. These are intended to provide additional clarification whenever I feel it may help. This is because of the difficulty sometimes in conveying the precise exact meaning when translating from Chinese to English. There are times where there is no exact equivalent English word which is why I sometimes use these brackets.
The round brackets mean I am giving you several synonyms or different English words that I feel best convey the meaning of the Chinese characters. The square brackets is me giving some context or the actual semantic meaning of a phrase.
For example, 加油 literally means to “add oil” but in the English sense it means to try your best and work hard. So in this case I may have put some brackets to give a further explanation whenever I feel it may help you understand something better.
If possible, use a desktop or laptop for most of your studies
One more thing, I recommend that whenever possible, try to do your reading exercises on a desktop or a laptop. This is so the layout of the website is such that you can see the Chinese text and the English translations side-by-side which I find makes things easier. However when viewed on mobile or tablet they may appear underneath one another. Of course, some people don’t mind this so it’s really up to your personal learning styles.
I personally use two monitors at home and at work. Often when I am doing my personal reading practice or doing a translation for a post, I will have the Chinese text on one monitor and work on the English translation on another monitor. Seeing them side-by-side really makes things easier. Note: if you only have one monitor there’s no need to go out and buy another one, you can just put the windows side-by-side.
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