The first step to reading Chinese faster is to calculate your reading speed. How? It’s pretty simple. Time yourself while reading a few documents. Count the characters. Calculate your words/minute.
If you want to improve your reading speed, calculate your reading speed first. Then try to do more reading. As you get more comfortable, your reading speed will increase (even without using speed-reading techniques). Then 1-2 months later, re-calculate your reading speed. Once you’ve done that, you can start planning on how to increase your reading speed.
Why does it take so long to read Chinese?
One of the most common complaints I hear from people who are learning to read Chinese is that they read extremely slowly. Reading Chinese is slow for a variety of reasons:
- Too many unknown words
- Unfamiliar grammatical patterns
- Inefficient reading methods
Which of these problems are affecting you? What’s making you a slow Chinese reader? Let me know in the comments. I’ll go into ways to improve your reading speed in the coming weeks.
Actions you can take
- Calculate your reading speed.
- 1-2 months later, re-calculate your reading speed
What I did last week
Last week was an odd week that included the Chinese New Year, my birthday and me getting sick (twice!). But despite, or maybe because of the oddness, I did a good job. I think I made up for my failure to be the perfect language student last week.
UPDATE: I did 3 flash card sets last week. It’s been a long time since I actively tried to acquire new vocabulary, so it feels weird, but good.
- Watch more TV.
Update: I did watch more TV. In my opinion, watching TV is one of the best ways to learn a language. It’s fun, and it gives you exposure to the language. Sara has a great goal for Chinese listening that includes watching TV. BTW, did anyone not see Wang Fei’s awful performanceduring the CCTV Chinese New Year gala?
- Read more articles on Caixin.
Update: I kind of forgot about this one. I did end up only reading news from Caixin (and other Chinese sources), but I did it by accident. Because of the holiday, I spent less time reading English news sources. Instead I watched TV, played cards (够级), and went places. Not sure if I deserve credit on this one.
The Plan for next week
- Study my flashcards on 4 separate days next week.
- Read at least 5 articles on Caixin.
- Start using Weibo.
- Continue looking for audio sources that I can use to practice listening.
Figuring out your reading level and speed is the first step to better reading skills.