Greenfield Leveled Readers - What's the Difference Between the Series?
Greenfield (青田教育中心) is a Hong-Kong-based publisher of popular leveled reader sets. They produce and publish a lot of other educational resources, but are most well-known for their leveled readers.
They feature short 8-page "micro stories" that uses intentional repetition and relatable topics to help young readers build literacy skills in Chinese. These stories are organized into "levels", which increase in "difficulty".
Currently, Greenfield offers three different series of leveled readers:
- I Can Read 我自己會讀 series (available in both traditional & simplified Chinese)
- I Love Reading 我愛讀 series (available in both traditional & simplified Chinese)
- Magic Box 魔術盒 series (in traditional Chinese only)
The biggest question I often get is... what is the difference between the three series? Is one series harder than the other? Are they meant to be used sequentially?
Generally speaking... they're all fairly even in "range of difficulty" across their sets. There is some differences with the biggest sets hitting slightly higher difficulty, but they feel minor to me. It is more "different" vocab than "harder" vocab.
So if you already have I Can Read 我自己會讀 series (the most common one people already have), I don't think it's necessary to get another set unless your child really enjoys this 8-page format, and want different kinds of content to practice independent reading with.
Here's a quick breakdown of how the different sets compare:
👉 I Love Reading 我愛讀 series: This is the smallest set, with only 3 levels. It is more animal-centric, so if that's something that interests your kid, this may be a good option. It features the same animal every 3 books (so there's always a "trio" of books that feature the same animal).
That familiarity is nice for some kids. This set also comes with workbook and flashcards, if you like those.
👉 I Can Read 我自己會讀 series: This is the biggest set, with 8 levels total. This is the set that most people have, and is the one that is most written about in the Chinese blogosphere and social media groups. It’s probably the set with the highest "difficulty" simply because it has more books, but again, I feel like it's minor.
The stories in this set are generally more people-centric. So the protagonists are mostly children/people. In the "middle" levels (levels 2-5), it features a recurring cast of siblings, whom many kids grow to love.
This set also comes with workbooks and flashcards.
👉 Magic Box 魔術盒 series: This set is interesting because it was first an English reader, that was then translated into Chinese. So you’ll find the stories, themes, and even the illustrations, will feel more "western". One drawback to it being a translated set, is that I sometimes see Chinese characters that may not be as common in Chinese children’s book.
The set features stories across a wide range of topics, from vehicles to animals to plants, etc. This one doesn’t have workbooks or flashcards, so it’s cheaper per set, making it a good option for those who don’t care for workbooks and flashcards.
Every child is different, but for some reason, my 4yo kid really liked this set because of the topics (as of this writing anyway — kids are fickle 😛).
All three series have CDs with Cantonese and Mandarin audio.
How do these leveled readers compare with other popular readers like Sagebooks?
I don’t think any of the sets are designed to replace, or necessarily be used after with Sagebooks. They’re just… a different option.
Based on personal experience (and remember — every family is different!), I recommend trying to start Greenfield once your child knows about 200 characters (so approximately level 2 Sage).
I started using Greenfield again when we were in level 5 Sage, and kinda wish we started sooner. The main reason being, Greenfield booklets are actually stories (albeit very short simple ones), and they're coherent.
We’re doing Sage as well. But... while the sentences in Sage are generally grammatically correct, they're kinda incoherent across pages, making it not that interesting for the child.
As an adult, I used to think these Greenfield books were SO repetitive and boring, but I now realize how intentionally designed they were. There’s something about this short Greenfield booklet format that is very satisfying for a child to read because they use repetition to reinforce both vocabulary AND sentence structure (most people forget about this latter thing).
It's always such a confidence booster for my child to "finish a book".
All in all, these 8-page micro booklets have been a good tool in our family to transition into independent reading. You can see how we use these booklets in action in this Instagram Highlight.