This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
12 FREE Manee books online…
When you get over your fear of Thai script and start learning to read, the Manee books (sometimes spelt Maanii) are often recommended. Long discontinued, the Manee books were written back in the late ’70’s by รัชนี ศรีไพรวรรณ (Ratchanee Sripaiwan) with a team from the Thai Ministry of Education. And while Thais over 30 benefited directly from Manee, if the subject of learning to read Thai comes up most any Thai will fondly mention the books.
“SEAsite: Maanii lessons were designed and written to use as a reading primer for beginners of the Thai Language. The stories depict the lives of a young girl named Maanii, her parents, elder brother, relatives, friends, and their pets…
Because these lessons are “authentic” – written by Thais for educating Thai kids, the aim of the books is two-fold: to teach literacy in Thai and to inculcate traditional Thai cultural values, i.e., a Thai identity: obedience to elders, respect for authority, politeness in speech, dress and social behavior, and basic Buddhist teachings such as generosity and gratitude.
As time passes and Thailand evolves into a more inclusive, multi-cultural society, these traditional values will evolve and expand as well. As such, “Maanii” preserves a picture of the idealized past.”
If you are looking for a good resource to learn Thai online, check out Learn Thai from a White Guy. Upon entering your email, you'll get five free lessons to help you start learning to read Thai.
This week I was totally chuffed to find all 12 Manee books on Thailand’s National Digital Library Network. If you have the time, poke around the other interesting information on that site. Yeah… time…
You can download all 12 Manee books from Dropbox here: Thai Language Textbook 1978 Curriculum: Grades 1-6, books 1 & 2.
However, you should note that some words on Manee books are already outdated. If learning new words is your goal, check out these free sources.
More Manee/Maanii around the Internet…
No longer used in government schools in Thailand, over the past couple of years courses created from the first two Manee books have been appearing around the Internet.
Learningthai.com (offline for now) has 22 lessons with sound, a vocabulary list, flashcards, tests and more tests at Learn to Read Thai with Manee and Friends. They also have Aorn and Ae digitized.
The largest collection of Manee lessons are at SEAsite. They’ve created 40 lessons from Maanii Book I and 2 , with a Maanii as an adult version as well. There are 22 lessons for Book I and 18 for Book 2. All come with sound, flashcards, readers with sound and word frequency lists.
The site is dreadful to use but it’s a megga fine resource, so fingers crossed they can locate a generous volunteer to help update the materials.
So there you go. Manee, and even more Maanii.