Advantages of paper textbooks

While many textbook publishers are eager to replace paper books with digital ones, we are happy that the Chinese Reading and Writing series remains as paper textbooks, and we are more than happy that we can make these books better with a digital tool, Chinese Learning Pen.

Traditional paper textbooks have some great advantages we love so dearly.

First of all, paper textbooks are something that students can hold in their hands. The texture of the paper and the binding make paper books look different and feel different from a computer or a tablet. Flipping book pages will actually move the pages physically and how many pages have been studied can be perceived at a glance. All these are different from flipping book pages on a computer or reading a percentage bar somewhere on the screen. 

Secondly, paper textbooks offer students opportunities and flexibilities to jump from page to page at ease. This is very important for learning Chinese. Whether they want to have a quick reference to a character studied previously or take a quick look at the character stroke order chart at the end of the book, they can do so easily in a second. Students can also review ten pages in two minutes, or spend an hour on a single page. Whatever they do, the book page will not go dark on them. 

Thirdly, students can write down notes or leave a mark on paper textbooks. There are students who love to use different colours for their notes. And they can do so comfortably with paper textbooks. These notes and marks will become part of the textbooks, and are personal memories which can be very helpful for their Chinese study. 

Lastly, content of the textbooks is automatically well structured through physical paper. Students can grasp this structure instantly once they flip through a few pages. For example, each Chinese Reading and Writing book has five lessons and one review, and each lesson starts with ten new Chinese characters, which are followed by words and combinations, and so on. This content structure is important to constitute a good memory structure, which helps students recall and retain knowledge, and which can be further strengthened by personal notes and colourful marks. 

Learning Chinese is different from reading a novel. While a novel can be adequately adapted into an ebook, we’d like to think twice before doing the same thing to a Chinese textbook. Easy to flip around, easy to write notes on, and easy to grasp the content structure outweigh the paperless convenience. 

With the advent of Chinese Learning Pen, not only can we keep all these great advantages intact, but also add a neat sound feature to the ordinary looking book pages. That is one more reason for us to love the old fashioned paper textbooks! 


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April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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