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Does Reading Help You Speak Chinese?

reading chinese to learn

The journey to reading Chinese can be both a delightful and a challenging one. But did you know that the way you approach learning Mandarin could influence how effectively you read in Chinese and engage with Chinese texts?

At Mandarin Blueprint, we consider learning to read Chinese as important as learning to speak it. It’s all about immersing yourself in the language using multiple inputs.

If you’d like to watch a video on the subject of whether reading Chinese can help you speak Chinese, we’ve added one right here!

Does READING help you SPEAK Chinese?

Related Reading: Why Learn Mandarin Chinese?

The game of understanding vs. the game of knowledge

When it comes to learning Chinese, many learners grapple between two different strategies: striving to understand (resulting in fluency) or striving for knowledge (knowing facts about the language).

Which camp do you fall into?

Imagine this: At a dinner party, explaining the unique Chinese sentence structure may get you a nod from your peers. But reading text out loud with native Chinese speakers? That’s sure to turn more heads! To truly learn to read Chinese, it’s vital to embrace a playful and curious attitude — much like children do. Adults, armed with experience and cognitive skills, can learn even faster than kids if they take the right approach.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Learning Chinese Online 

Reading to learn has been a universally accepted educational strategy for centuries. Delving deeper into the idea, consider how you can learn to read Chinese with ease. The secret lies in actively seeking out Chinese books and texts that cater to your interests and current language proficiency.

Don’t just limit yourself to textbooks. Broaden your horizons by exploring Chinese novels, poems, newspapers, recipes, and online articles. The more varied your reading material, the more you’ll encounter the richness of the Chinese language and culture.

Reading Chinese

This method not only enhances your reading comprehension but also bolsters your speaking abilities. By immersing yourself in different Chinese contexts, you’re equipping yourself with the vocabulary and phrases needed to converse effortlessly in real-life situations.

So, next time you pick up a book or an article in Chinese, remember that you’re not just reading; you’re journeying deeper into the world of learning Mandarin and paving your way to fluency.

Related Reading: Is Chinese Hard to Learn?

The essence of real fluency

Real fluency isn’t just about reciting memorized phrases; it’s about genuinely understanding the content. Contrary to popular belief, understanding is not the same as memorization. While schools have ingrained in us the need to memorize facts, language acquisition is a different ball game altogether.

When we truly grasp the nuances and patterns of a language, our brain automatically processes and extracts these patterns. Every individual has a sophisticated language module in their brain, enabling them to decipher linguistic structures. So, instead of cramming phrases, immerse yourself in patterns.

After all, this is the real essence behind grammar.

By actively engaging with Chinese books and other reading materials, learners can tune into these patterns and internalize them. When you make the conscious effort to learn how to read Chinese and interpret its varied contexts, you unlock the doors to genuine comprehension.

These contexts give life to the words, allowing readers to understand the emotions, expressions, and nuances that come with them. Learning to read Chinese is more than just recognizing Chinese characters. It’s about immersing yourself in a narrative, experiencing the story, and connecting with the culture.

It’s through these profound connections that we transition from mere memorization to authentic understanding and, ultimately, to true fluency. So, as you embark on your linguistic journey, remember to indulge in the wealth of Chinese literature and let the texts guide you to a deeper understanding of the Mandarin language.

Related Reading: 22 Good Chinese TV Shows to Learn Mandarin

The power of reading: Adult language learners’ ultimate hack

Have you ever wondered why adults seem to have an edge in learning Mandarin compared to children? It’s because adults have the gift of reading — a powerful hack that can speed up the learning process. Reading not only exposes us to patterns but also deepens our understanding.

Imagine a baby, bound by its immediate environment, relying solely on auditory inputs. Now contrast this with adults, who can manipulate their environment and draw from vast reservoirs of already acquired knowledge. By learning to read Chinese with ease, adults can double up the potential messages they absorb, ensuring they get more value from every reading session.


The world of Chinese books and literature is vast and diverse, offering a huge range of opportunities to immerse oneself in the rich tapestry of the language. From ancient classics to modern fiction, Chinese texts provide an invaluable resource for those aspiring to master Mandarin.

When you read in Chinese, you’re not just passively absorbing information; you’re actively engaging with the content, making connections, and deciphering meanings. This interaction goes beyond the typical classroom setting, allowing learners to see the language in its authentic context. It’s an experience that goes hand in hand with learning how to speak Mandarin.

The beauty of reading to learn is that it transforms language acquisition from a daunting task into a delightful journey. It’s the key to unlocking the subtleties and intricacies of the language, and when you learn how to read Chinese, you’re opening doors to deeper cultural connections and a more profound appreciation of its heritage. So, embrace the power of reading, delve into Chinese literature, and watch your proficiency soar.

Related Reading: Best Way to Learn Mandarin By Yourself: 15 Essential Tips

Reading for meaning vs. reading aloud

There’s often a debate between reading for meaning and reading aloud. While both approaches have their merits, reading for meaning allows you to internalize and understand the content better.

However, reading aloud also holds significance, especially when trying to perfect pronunciation and intonation. The goal is to ensure that when you’re having a conversation in Mandarin, the right words spring to mind effortlessly.

It’s essential to strike a balance between reading for meaning and reading aloud. Chinese texts serve as an invaluable tool in this journey, aiding learners in both comprehension and pronunciation.

When you focus on understanding, you’re diving into the nuances and cultural references that give depth to the language. This is where the essence of reading to learn truly shines, allowing you to immerse yourself in the story, the emotion, and the context.

On the other hand, reading aloud lets you practice the rhythm, tone, and melody of Mandarin, vital components for clear and natural communication.

By combining these two techniques, learners can ensure they’re not just recognizing characters but also articulating them correctly. As you delve deeper into your learning journey, remember to harness the power of Chinese books and texts, letting them guide you in both comprehension and vocalization, ensuring a holistic approach to mastering Mandarin.

Related Reading: Can You Learn Chinese In 5 Minutes?

The key to efficient learning: Avoid over-analysis

A common pitfall many learners face is over-analyzing every sentence they encounter. Every minute spent trying to dissect a complex phrase could have been spent absorbing multiple, simpler, and more understandable messages.

Remember, our goal is to understand a million messages. Every sentence doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s perfectly alright to move on if something doesn’t make sense initially. With time and exposure, comprehension will improve.

When you immerse yourself in varied reading materials, from novels to newspapers, you’re presented with a wide range of contexts and structures. By prioritizing understanding over perfection, you learn how to read Chinese in a more natural and intuitive manner.

jigsaw puzzle

It’s similar to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle: while some pieces might not fit immediately, with persistence and a broader view, the entire picture gradually becomes clear. The beauty of learning Mandarin this way is that you’re not bogged down by the intricacies of every single character or phrase.

Instead, you’re absorbing the language in chunks, which is more aligned with how our brains naturally process information. So, as you delve into Chinese books and literature, allow yourself to be swept up in the narrative, focusing on the overall message rather than getting lost in the details. This approach not only makes the learning process more enjoyable but also accelerates your journey to fluency.

Related Reading: Best Resources for Learning Chinese

Unlock the secrets to rapid Mandarin mastery

With the right strategies in place, you’ll find that you can learn to read Chinese with ease, enriching your interactions with Chinese texts and native speakers alike. The journey might seem daunting, but with a focus on comprehension over rote memorization, fluency is just around the corner. Embrace the process, and happy learning!

Why not join our free webclass and unveil the groundbreaking techniques that will have you speaking fluent Chinese faster than a full-time student, even if you’re just learning part-time? Bypass the conventional classrooms and textbooks with the Mandarin Blueprint Method, achieving Mandarin fluency 3-5 X faster. 

Don’t miss this transformative approach to language learning — embrace an easier, quicker, and more enjoyable path to Mandarin fluency.

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