The ELEMENTARY CHINESE READERS were originally published by Foreign Languages Press in 1980. In spite of the name, it is an introduction not only to the Chinese writing system, but also to Chinese grammar in general. The twenty-six chapters of the first volume will take the student from just saying "Hello, how are you?" to talking about his sightseeing activities as a tourist in China.
Technically the book has everything one needs for autodidactic learning. Each chapter presents new vocabulary and then gives a series of rigorous drills to ensure the information sinks into the student's head. There are also casettes available for the text, which mean that one is not depend on the abstract phonetic descriptions of Chinese sounds in the book. However, if you are planning to teach yourself Chinese from scratch, there are much friendlier books available, such as TEACH YOURSELF CHINESE or Routledge's COLLOQUIAL CHINESE. The ELEMENTARY CHINESE READERS are really meant for classroom use where instruction is given by a native speaker. Indeed, each grammatical point is accompanied by a Chinese explanation in Chinese characters, so that the instructor, who might not necessarily speak English, can make their alongside the students.