How to increase your Chinese reading speed?

Posted by Grace Feng on February 18, 2012

If you’re reading my Learn Chinese blog, you’re probably a Chinese learner, or just a curious visitor that love to know things about Chinese language. Whoever you are, did you ever experienced the frustration of reading Chinese articles in a snail’s speed? No matter how hard you tried, it seems that there are still endless new Chinese words and unfamiliar Chinese sentence patterns pop up and drag down your reading speed?

However, you can always drive those frustration away by using the right approach to read Chinese. Actually you can enjoy your Chinese reading from the very beginning. I’ll show you how.

Finding the right material to read

As a matter of fact, blindly picking any articles in Chinese to practice your reading might not help you to progress in a good pace. To strategically choose the articles that you can read with certain comfort and confidence would give you much more positive momentum. Especially to choose the articles that are about something you’re really interested in, something that you can build a connection with from your own life. In that case they’re much easier for you to understand and memorize. Memory can only be reinforced if you have a deep understanding and interest on the topic you’re reading.

Now you might ask how could I find out the right materials in Chinese that I should read based on my level and interest? Well, this exactly is the thing that I can help you with. If you consider yourself as a beginner or intermediate level Chinese learner, which I guess most of my readers are, you can always try something simple and short first. At the same time, they are not boring at all. Guess what? Why not try school kid’s articles! Maybe you’ve heard about the fierce competition pressure upon Chinese school age students, then you won’t be surprised on how many writing competitions are held in China locally or nationally everyday. From these millions of competitions, people choose the articles that excel to be published in magazines, newspapers and web sites etc. Therefore both students and teachers could use them as reference and inspiration for their own study. Kind of like the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” type of articles.

What does that benefit you, my dear Chinese learners? You can join millions of Chinese teachers and students to learn from those wonderful articles. If you say your Chinese level is only about an elementary school student, then go read students articles in Grade 1 or 2. If you’re much better than that, go for high school student’s articles. Don’t worry about the quality of the articles even if it’s written by a six year old. They are all proof read by their strict teacher many times before being published (ever heard of Chinese Tiger Mom in the American? There are even more Tiger teachers in China. :-) ) You can definitely reuse any phrase or expressions you’ve learned from those articles in your own writing or speaking. I’ve looked up a few good web sites for you to read on Chinese articles written by Chinese students:

If you have a specific topic that you’re yearning to read about, go ahead type your keyword (in Chinese) in www.google.com or www.baidu.com (main search engine for Chinese content). You can also check out good novels and articles on lots of Chinese web sites. However, many Chinese web sites nowadays are full of flying advertisement banners that might give you more headache than valuable information. The following two are good article resource web sites that look neat and clean on the home page.

If you’re tight on time, why not come to my blog and read all the articles that I collected for you together with articles I wrote by myself in aim to help my readers to practice and improve their Chinese language ability. Most Chinese articles on this blog are prepared with pinyin annotation, English translation, grammar highlight and audio recording – a 5 star package :-).

Repeat reading

Repeat reading might sound boring. But that’s one of the best methods to “secure” all you’ve just learned before you forget about them next week. It will save you big time in the long run. In the meantime, locking in the new knowledge fresh and clear will also help you to secure your learning base and accelerate your learning speed.

When you do repeat reading after you’ve comprehend the whole article, or even part of an article, try to read out loud if possible. This way you can hear how it sounds to you when you read it. Then listen to the audio recording of the article if any. If there’s no audio available for what you’ve read, which is probably true in most cases, you can paste the whole article or part of it into Google Translate. Click on the audio button, it will read out to you. However, as I mentioned in Lesson 7 Focus on Chinese sentence patterns first or Chinese vocabulary first? The audio clip in Google is composed of pre-recorded sound for single character or word, when they are put together by computer program it only sounds like a robot talking. It can help you with pronunciation of a single word, but can’t help you with accurate accent and tone of speaking for a whole sentence or paragraph. After all, robot is robot, human is human.

However, you will happily find lots of interesting reading materials on this blog. The stock is increasing day after day. They are indexed mainly under practice. Each of them is presented with audio clip that you can play, rewind or pause as you want. Each of them is carefully highlighted with grammar points and new words. You can look them up by simply clicking on highlighted words to see its meaning and usage in details in MDBG online dictionary in a new window. For the non-highlighted part, you can also benefit from MDBG by installing a MDBG reader on your computer. Therefore, you can look up new words conveniently by hovering your mouse over.

After all, read as much as you can. With persistence and right method you will read Chinese like a pro soon!

Let me know whether you think the recommendations in this article could really help you with your reading speed? Any thoughts are welcomed…

Talk to you soon, my dear friend!

Happy family day (Canada)!


Related posts:

A Chinese article that can make a stone cry – 永失我爱 (7)
A Chinese article that can make a stone cry – 永失我爱 (16)
A Short Chinese essay (translation from Yeats's poem) for Learn Mandarin practice


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4 Responses to “How to increase your Chinese reading speed?”

  1. nothing


    12-12-2013 3:33 pm

    Haha… Grace, I really like the idea of reading native students’ articles online. I just wish those websites could present the articles the way you do on your site. :-)

    Very good tips you gave here, thanks!



    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-12-2013 4:01 pm

      You’re welcome Megan. If the owners of those sites know there are Chinese learners reading their posts, they probably will take that into consideration. :-)



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