Tanggu English Reading Room


The English Reading Room holds sessions for beginner, intermediate and advanced level English students.

We use literature, newspapers, film and tv series and podcasts to help you improve your English skills (spoken and written), and your knowledge of American, English and Australian culture and society, as well as the ways that Western culture understands China.

We work with small to medium size classes (up to 12 people) as this is the best (and most enjoyable) way to learn, and we also provide individual and small group tutorials for spoken and written English and culture, and for academic writing.

Our Literature reading

The books we read include and expand on the International Baccalaureate reading lists.

American books we use include Number the Stars,  by Lois Lowry;The Giver, by Lois Lowry; The Westing Game, by Ellen Rasking; Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; The Catcher in the RyeThe Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Sellout, by Paul Beatty; The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead; Beloved, by Toni Morrison, and The Handmaiden’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

American-Chinese and English-Chinese books we use include A Case of Two Cities, by Qiu Xiaolong, The Flowers of War, by Amy Tan, The Shanghai Girl, by Vivian Yang; A Concise Chinese-English Book for Lovers, by Xiaolu Guo.

English books we use include Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens; The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley; Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte; The Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhyss;  The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon; and Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad.

Australia books we use include Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo, by Tim Winton, Jasper Jones, by Craig SilveyBliss, by Peter Carey, Monkey Grip, by Helen Garner, Dirt Music, by Tim Winton, The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas; Jack Maggs, by Peter Carey, and  Black Rock, White City, by  A.S. Patric; An Isolated Incident, by Emily Maguire.

We also use other world literature including Norwegian Wood, Perfume, by Patric Susskind, The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink, Human Acts, by Han KanThings Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert; Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi.

Our multi-media viewing and reading 

As well as literature, we like to work with tv. and film. Currently, we have a sci-fi reading group using films like Star Wars and Star Trektv. series like West World and science fiction novels to develop our comprehension, speaking and writing skills.

Tutorials for English academic writing, and for beginners Chinese language

Matt also provides individually-tailored one-to-one tutorials for English for Academic Purposes.  The main textbook for the tutorials is John Langan’s College Writing Skills (9th edition). These tutorials are suitable for middle school, senior school and undergraduate students who need help with their essay writing.

Jean provides one-to-one and small group Chinese language tutorials online for foreigners. She has taught beginners Chinese to middle school students in Manchester, and currently, gives tutorials to students from the UK (online).

Current Affairs Podcasts for English Language and Cultural Learning

Matt and Jean provide regular podcasts on current affairs including politics, culture and the economy in the US, UK and China. We draw on high-quality newspapers like The New York Times, The South China Morning Post and The Guardian, and journals like The Atlantic Monthly. Our podcasts also include regular film, tv. and literature reviews.

Our mission

Our mission is to better prepare Chinese school and university students to attend and succeed at American, British and Australian high schools or Universities by providing them with a progressive and interactive, globally focused academic English curriculum.

We also support adult learners who wish to improve their English language and cultural knowledge and proficiency and beginner Chinese language learners.

Our team

Dr. Matt  Lu Merefield has a Ph.D. in cultural studies with 10+ years teaching and research experience in British universities, including with students from international backgrounds, as well as current English language teaching at the Tianjin Senior Citizen’s University.

Ms. Lu Jian has more than 3 years experience tutoring students in English and Chinese language in England and China and has led classes for younger children learning English using yoga.

Matt and Jian work together to bring you a British-Chinese learning experience.

Learn Language & Culture with Literature, Film, and TV