Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Chinese reading challenge, April 2017

Chinese reading challengeReading is one of the most important skills when learning a language and one of the best ways to expand vocabulary and improve your 语感/語感, but many students go about it the wrong way.

The most common mistake is spending all reading time on intensive reading, meaning that you read relatively difficult texts and try to understand everything. Advancing in your main textbook is one example of this. The total amount of text you see in Chinese is extremely limited.

What you ought to do in addition to that and in much larger quantities is to read texts that are at or below your current level. You need breadth. You need diversity. You need to solidify and become more familiar with what you know (or sort of know). You need to read more to gain fluency. You need extensive reading!

Hacking Chinese extensive reading challenge, April 1st to April 30th

Hacking Chinese Challenges are about building language skills through daily practice and friendly competition. By focusing on one specific area of learning over a limited period of time, you will be able to learn more!

This how you sign up and join the challenge:

  1. Sign up (using your e-mail, Facebook or Twitter)
  2. View current and upcoming challenges on the front page
  3. Join the reading challenge
  4. Set a reasonable goal (30-60 minutes per day depending on your situation)
  5. Find suitable learning materials (see below)
  6. Report your progress on your computer or mobile device
  7. Check the graph to see if you’re on track to reaching your goal
  8. Check the leader board to see how you compare to others
  9. Share progress, tips and resources with fellow students

Please note: The challenge starts on April 1st, so even if you can join now, you won’t be able to report progress until then.

How should you read?

I’ve already written extensively about this; please check the following articles:

What should you read?

Start by looking here:

  1. The 10 best free reading resource collections for learning Chinese I wrote this article in connection with the previous challenge. It’s a collection of reading materials sorted by level.
  2. Hacking Chinese Resources The resource section of Hacking Chinese contains 85 resources tagged with “reading”. Many of them are resource collections where you can find hundreds or even thousands of texts.

If you have other resources that aren’t shared here already, please leave a comment or contact me in any other way. If you want an invite for Hacking Chinese Resources so you can post your resources directly, just let me know. Just to be on the safe side, here are the basic recommendations I offered last time, sorted by proficiency level:

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Your challenge: Setting a reasonable goal

Set a goal which is as high as possible without feeling unreachable. How much time do you normally spend on reading? For the duration of the challenge, I think it’s reasonable for part-time students to spend 30 minutes per day, which will mean roughly 15 hours over the entire challenge provided that you have no major events coming up that will take days away. Full-time students can aim for 20-25 hours or even more, depending on your needs.

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Preliminary challenge schedule for 2017

As mentioned before, I will change things a bit for the challenges in 2017. The biggest change is that there will be half as many challenges, running for one entire month each. The following is a preliminary schedule, based on the things I think most learners should spend more time doing:

  1. February – Listening
  2. April – Reading (the current challenge)
  3. June – Writing
  4. August – Listening
  5. October – Reading
  6. December – Speaking

 

Do you want more practical exercises, audio versions of articles and Chinese translations? Check out my Patreon page!

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