Good Day!

I have an interesting conundrum - I can speak Chinese just fine (in fact I just took an HSK placement exam at the local Confucius Centre and was ranked at 4 for listening and speaking). I however, cannot write (or type if you will) nor can I read past (approx. HSK 2). I would rather learn simplified characters as the people I converse with use those (mainland-Chinese). Any advice? Some background, my wife is Chinese (but due to time constraints and work schedules can't teach me), I lived in China for 18 months, I have only be actively trying to learn Mandarin for about 3 years now, and we speak daily in the home.


EDIT: I have tried learning how to read by using Duolingo which seeing as I can listen (and understand) it has helped a little by learning by association. I also took a class in 2012 as an elective in Uni, but the teacher wasn't great (just checked she has a whooping 1.9 on RateMyProf) and I struggled to understand her let alone a totally foreign language. I understand pinyin just fine, but want to be able to learn the characters.

So my question is -given the above information. Does any one have any resources they would recommend to me to help me learn to read.

  • 1
    Please visit LanguageLearning StackExchange.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 26, 2019 at 20:48
  • I have posted it there as well, I figured seeing as this is a Chinese Lanuage site - and I have seen other people writing about differences in characters and grammatical usages this question wouldn't be off the mark.
    – J Crosby
    Jun 26, 2019 at 21:34
  • 1
    But I don't know what your question is Jun 27, 2019 at 0:49
  • In reverse, I can read and write Engilsh. But can't speak it.
    – Zhang
    Jun 27, 2019 at 4:25
  • Look up how "heritage speakers" or "heritage learners" learn.
    – Michaelyus
    Jun 27, 2019 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


A quick way to learn characters is grinding flashcards in the spaced repetition app Anki – there are plenty of existing HSK vocab sets that other users have made. You can also check out Remembering Simplified Hanzi by James Heisig and Timothy Richardson to help with making mnemonics.

For reading, I like Du Chinese and Decipher Chinese (now dead), which provide interesting articles with integrated word segmentation and a mobile-friendly pop-up dictionary. Du Chinese also has sentence-level translation, which is great when you can't quite figure out how the sentence works. You can filter articles by difficulty to something you're comfortable with. You may be interested in graded readers in general. There are some paid graded readers in Pleco Dictionary.

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