Learn Reading and Writing Chinese with Teacher April

Learn how to read and write Chinese with free online video lessons, presented by Chinese teacher April Zhang. 

Starting with strokes and stroke orders, she will gradually publish a series of video lessons based on her Chinese Reading and Writing series, teaching you a total of 320 most frequently used Chinese characters and how to read and write Chinese texts using these characters.

These animated explainer videos feature a handwritten style which can be emulated with a pen or a pencil, and has a different look and feel from the printed fonts.

Free Online Video Lessons

Chinese Reading and Writing


Strokes and Stroke Orders

In this lesson, you will learn six basic strokes, basic stroke variations, basic stroke combinations, combination variations, and stroke order rules, all part of the preparation before you venture into the realm of reading and writing Chinese characters.

April also points out that the key factor in the success of learning Chinese reading and writing is to keep writing. So grab a pen or a pencil, start writing now. 

My First 15 Chinese Characters

Learn 15 the most frequently used characters in the Modern Standard Chinese and how to use these characters into meaningful words and expressions. These characters contextualise the strokes and stroke orders taught in the previous lesson, and enable students to understand how the stroke order rules are applied when writing Chinese characters.

The connection between pictures and Chinese characters is also discussed a bit. This lesson is part 2 of the preparation chapter in Chinese Reading and Writing 1.

32 Words and Expressions

Learn 32 words and expressions, and understand how combinations of old characters create new meanings.

In this lesson, April also points out some of the benefits of learning characters, and explains these online Chinese courses and the Chinese Reading and Writing books are best for people who have learned some Mandarin Chinese using pinyin but not yet done any Chinese characters and the reason why pinyin is not included in the books. 

This lesson finishes with a 2-minute challenge, a bit of extra practice, for you to check your learning result.

This is the final part of the preparation chapter in Chinese Reading and Writing 1.

Writing Numbers in Chinese (Part 1)

After a lengthy preparation of strokes, stroke orders, 15 Chinese characters and their combinations, we are finally starting lesson one in Chinese Reading and Writing 1. 

In this part 1, you’re going to learn how to write 14 Chinese characters, all related to numbers. You’ll learn reading and writing big numbers in Chinese at the next lesson.

Writing Numbers in Chinese (Part 2)

If you have ever wondered how to write “ten million” in Chinese, you will get your answer in this video lesson, where April shows how to read and write some pretty big numbers in Chinese.

This lesson also includes an end-of-chapter challenge, a bit of extra practice for you to read and write numbers in Chinese, on your own!

If you want to stay ahead of these video lessons, order the textbooks here.

Writing Days and Dates in Chinese (Part 1)

This lesson teaches 12 new Chinese characters which are used in expressing days and dates in Chinese. 

April explains that one Chinese character can carry more than one meanings, which are the potentialities a character can realise when it is combined with other Chinese characters or used in a sentence. She also points out the fact that there are two Chinese characters, 零 and 〇, for the number “0”. 

The Chinese character 两 is included in this lesson. For people who are wondering the differences between 二 and 两, read here.

Writing Days and Dates in Chinese (Part 2)

In this lesson, a list of 50 words and expressions are presented to express days and dates in Chinese. Some expressions, such as “today”, can be written in two slightly different words. April explains the difference is not its meaning, but whether it is used in spoken Chinese or written Chinese.

Writing Days and Dates in Chinese (Part 3)

In this lesson, the focus is on reading full Chinese sentences (finally)! 

Using English as an analogy, April explains the deconstruction process of reading Chinese texts, and points out the path of developing solid Chinese reading skills is to read more Chinese texts. (Duh. But many people don't get it.) 

As this lesson concludes Lesson 2 in Chinese Reading and Writing 1, it includes an end-of-chapter challenge. You have two minutes to complete the task.

Expressing Time in Chinese (Part 1)

How to write “five minutes to five” in Chinese? This lesson is going to prepare you for that!

In this part 1 of Expressing Time in Chinese, you’ll learn how to read and write ten new Chinese characters which are frequently used in forming time expressions. This lesson is part of the lesson three in Chinese Reading and Writing 1.

Expressing Time in Chinese (Part 2)

In part 2, you are going to learn 27 words and expressions, related to expressing time in Chinese. 

Also, one particular word “中午” is singled out. For lack of a better translation, 中午 is often translated into “noon, midday”. But you need to understand the exact meaning of 中午 in Chinese. 

Expressing Time in Chinese (Part 3)

In this part 3 of expressing time in Chinese, April explains two sentences to demonstrate the deconstruction process when reading Chinese. You are encouraged to read the rest of the exercise and then come back for the two minute challenge. 

Go to Work, Have a Lesson, Eat a Meal, and Read Books & Newspapers in Chinese (Part 1)

In this part one of Lesson 4 in Chinese Reading and Writing 1, you’re going to learn nine new Chinese characters, which help us build useful action words and expressions, such as “go to work”, “have a lesson”, “eat a meal”, and “read books & newspapers”.

If you want more video lessons, let us know!


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