Read Chinese is a program designed for the novice, intermediate, and advanced readers of Chinese. It is a collection of a variety of relevant reading materials for these three levels of learners. Although it was originally developed to meet the needs of high school students, higher education students and individual learners who wish to review and practice their reading ability in Chinese will also find it useful. The reading materials reflect the national standards established for Chinese by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). This is particularly useful for students who are prospective teachers of Chinese. The reading materials are presented in both traditional and simplified characters to reach a wider audience.
Type of Material:
Reference material & tutorial
The materials may be used for independent study or for individual/group practice in the classroom or as homework assignments.
Windows 2000/XP with Internet Explorer 6/7 or Firefox 3, or Mac OS X with Firefox 3. Windows Media Player or compatible audio player.
MingLiu or Arial Unicode for traditional Chinese characters; MS Song, SimSun, or Arial Unicode for simplified Chinese characters.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The goal of this learning object is to provide students and users who are inexperienced readers of Chinese with opportunities to read short examples of Chinese writing covering a variety of interesting topics. The stories, articles, notes, learning activities, etc. are engaging and conducive to learning. While reading, learners also increase their knowledge of the Chinese language, culture, history, and society.
Target Student Population:
Novice to advanced readers of Chinese
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Learners need to be able to recognize some basic Chinese characters to benefit from this learning object. Familiarity with the pinyin phonetic transcription of Chinese is also very helpful.
The strength of this learning object lies in the systemization of the reading materials by level/category, i.e., “novice,” “intermediate,” and “cultural,” with the last category for advanced readers. Reading materials for each level are collected into a list of annotated links. This is especially helpful for a multi-level class with students at different levels of reading proficiency. Each reading material is a self-contained module with the following pages: Overview, The Source Text for Learning, various activities, etc. to reinforce learning and assess reading skills (learning outcome). Overall, there is a clear purpose of helping learners to improve their reading skills.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The reading materials are valuable resources ready to be integrated into classroom teaching. They can be used for activities at different reading levels or for individual or group assignments. Independent learners can use the materials as an online tutorial. Users receive immediate online feedback on correct and incorrect answers. The accompanying pinyin, English translations, audios, and hints to correct answers make these reading materials particularly effective for self-study.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The home page consists of clear instructions with links to various pages such as Guide for Learners and System Requirements. Additionally, the former consists of links to the following sections: Overview, Objectives, Goals, Getting Started, What’s in a Lesson, The Chinese Language, Learning Suggestions, etc.
The following are some minor technical issues that could be fixed easily. All the links in the Guide for Learners page connect to an identical separate page if the user right-clicks the links to display text in a new tab or new window. However, there is no problem if the user left-clicks the links. Each link takes the reader to the correct text displayed on the same page. The Chinese characters in The Chinese Language section are quite small in size, especially for a novice learner who needs to see the different strokes in each character or to distinguish between two characters that look alike. The English text is also quite small and in grey color, which is challenging to read.
Other Issues and Comments:
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