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Title:How to improve Chinese Reading and Writing abilities

Topic Poster
Gina 11-08-05 12:56
1.      Practice writing a lot.
When you learn, write each character at least ten times every day until you can remember it. Quiz yourself periodically to test your memory and to find which characters you need more practice on. As you write, think of the sound and meaning of the character, or say it out loud. Check out the East Asian Orthography wiki book for more help with Chinese writing. Learn the right stroke order initially and write carefully, looking at the printed character each time before copying.
2.      Keep your knowledge both on paper and in mind.
An effective strategy is to keep a dedicated Chinese folder and a good stockpile of loose-leaf paper. To practice effectively, compile every Chinese character in the Wiki book lesson in pen and memorize ten at a time. With every set, with the exception of the first, copy down the set before and ensure you know the English translation, Pinyin notation, and proper pronunciation. By practicing daily with paper at your elbow and a pencil in your hand, the characters will be firmly committed to memory. Another important step later on, after having finished several sets of ten characters, is to write each set of ten on the current practice sheet, along with translation and Pinyin. Doing so will ensure that you do not simply move on to the next set without learning the sets before.
3.      Look for radicals.
Radicals are components of Chinese characters that you will see repeated over and over again. Learning the meaning of radicals will help you to see the connections between similar categories of words. Many characters are comprised of radical-phonetic pairings, where the radical is the 'root' that hints at the meaning of the word, while another part of the character hints at the sound of the word. Learning to spot radicals is also useful as they are used when looking up unfamiliar words in Chinese dictionaries.
4.      Buy a dictionary.
Useful for looking up new words or just browsing. Get a beginner's dictionary so that you can have a larger font, usage examples and Pinyin pronunciation, all of which are sometimes missing in comprehensive dictionaries. Get a second dictionary later on if you can't find every word you need. A good choice that provides many example sentences and phrases would be The Starter Oxford Chinese Dictionary (sorry, simplified version only).