Chinese Characters I - Your First 300 Characters!

All about the Chinese Characters I Course: how it's designed, what it covers, which study tools it includes, and more.
Written by Tanner
Updated 1 month ago

The Yoyo Difference & How We'll Teach You Chinese Characters

Chinese characters are notoriously difficult to learn - and especially so for us non-native learners. In fact, you've probably thought to yourself, "How can I possibly learn these things? There are just so many characters - and they're so... complicated!", right? Not to mention, most Courses out there really don't do much to help with the problem. Or worse yet, you may have heard something along the lines of "You don't really need to learn Characters" - which let us tell now, is simply not true. (And besides, they're AWESOME! And one of the best parts of learning Chinese - so you really don't want to miss out!)But... we have good news! 🎉 Here at Yoyo Chinese, we teach Chinese characters differently.😊 We've specially designed our Chinese Character Courses with your specific challenges in mind and we're more than confident that with our Courses, you WILL learn Chinese characters. But don't trust us! Listen to few of ours our actual students before hearing more details: We have more but we'll stop there! Below are more details on exactly how we do things differently:

1. 🧠 Focus on Frequency - Your Very First 300 Characters

  • A big problem with many of the other Courses you'll find online is that they're actually made for native Chinese speakers. Instead of teaching you just the characters that you, an adult non-native speaker, NEED to communicate - they focus on the ALL Chinese characters as a whole. For Chinese schoolchildren who can already speak Chinese and have years of time to practice, this works. But for you? Not so much.
  • Our Chinese Characters Course hones in on the most frequently occurring 300 characters used in modern Chinese today - meaning you'll ONLY be learning characters you can actually use - and not wasting your (very valuable and limited!) mental real estate on characters you don't. So, not only are these characters the most practical - them being practical actually makes them easier to learn because you'll be using your newly-learned characters sooner and really making sure you're reinforcing what you learn from day one!

2. 👩‍🏫 A Few Characters at a Time & Ample Review

  • Another big problem is Courses or materials that overload you with WAY too many characters at a time. It's hard enough needing to memorize so much about each character (meanings, pinyin and pronunciation, stroke order, etc.) - let alone trying to do the same thing for dozens of characters per lesson.
  • Instead, each lesson in our Chinese Character I Course focuses on only 3 specific Chinese characters as a group and each Unit of 5 lessons comes with a summary review lesson for all 15 characters learned in the Unit. This helps ensure you don't get ahead of yourself and are able to spend the time you need on each character.

3. 🖼️ Use Images & Insights to Help You Memorize

  • Not only that, but we also provide interesting and memorable visual & mental aids to help you memorize Chinese characters more effectively. Without the kind of reinforcement that a native speaker gets, students like us really benefit from creating mnemonics that you can associate with each character in your memory.
  • While it's a common misunderstanding that every Chinese character represents a visual image of the word it communicates, this is not a problem. We make sure that even the characters with seemingly no possible image associated with them get the 'insight & images' treatment so each one won't just fade away after you learn them.

4. ⌨️ Skip Writing For Now & Focus on TYPING!

  • Lastly - and this is a big one - rather than asking you to spend all that time it takes to learn how to actually write out Chinese characters, stroke-by-stroke, we focus on teaching only to recognize and pronounce Chinese characters so you get to typing them... right away!
  • These days, even native speakers don't often write Chinese characters, and so why should you make that your focus as a learner? Writing characters is a ton of fun and each lesson includes stroke order and practice sheets so you can learn and practice writing - but instead of forcing you to learn to write, it's an optional component of the Course.
  • Instead, the primary focus of our Chinese Character Courses is teach you how to read, recognize, and reproduce - aka type - every single character in the Course. Each Quiz will help reinforce all of the above skills and yup - even have you typing in Chinese yourself from the very first Quiz! (Read this handy article to learn how you can set up a Chinese keyboard on any of your devices!)

Overall Course Structure

Our Chinese Characters I course is perfect for students that have a basic foundation in conversational Chinese, or those who have learned characters before but are looking for a refresher, and are looking to begin mastering Chinese characters! If you’re just starting out learning Chinese, we highly recommend first finishing our Beginner Conversational Chinese course, so that you have a strong foundation in Chinese pinyin, tones, and Chinese language basics, before beginning this course. The Character I course is more focused on learning to read and write Chinese characters, so it’s best to have a solid foundation in pinyin and tones at the bare minimum before starting this course. The Characters I course consists of 6 levels, with a total of 134 lessons across 24 units, and can be finished in as little as 6 months! In this course, you’ll learn the 300 most common Chinese characters that make up over 60% of written Chinese! You’ll not only learn to read and write these 300 Chinese characters, but you’ll also learn the meaning behind each character and see how these characters can combine with one another to form new words, using a building block approach. You'll even learn some example sentences so you can see how to put the characters and words you learn to use!

We also pair the individual Chinese characters with great visual or written mnemonics, to help you remember each character with ease.

After taking this course, you’ll truly understand how logical Chinese characters and words are, and how easy it is to learn to read and write them! In Levels 1-5 of the course, you’ll learn new Chinese characters, words and example sentences, while in Level 6, you’ll have a comprehensive review of all of the characters you’ve learned throughout the course. During this course, you’ll:

  • Master how to read and write the 300 most common Chinese characters
  • Understand the meaning behind each character
  • Be able to recognize each character in different Chinese fonts
  • Learn new words and phrases through combining two or more characters together
  • Learn sentences in Chinese using the characters you have mastered
  • Understand 60% of all written Chinese

… and more! By the end of this course, you will have gained a basic foundation in Chinese characters, and will be able to read and write characters at a beginner level. After completing this course, your level should be around HSK Level 1 or 2. For more information on the HSK, check out this article.

Learning Materials Included in the Course

The Chinese Characters I course includes a variety of study tools, including:

  • Lesson Videos teaching key language concepts
  • Lecture Notes PDFs for every lesson detailing the lesson content, including bonus material such as mini quizzes, character writing practice exercises, and more
  • Quiz Worksheet PDFs with additional quiz material to test your retention of the material
  • Interactive Language Flashcards with normal and slow speed audio, to master what was covered in the lesson
  • Interactive 10-Question Quizzes with diverse question types, to thoroughly test your retention of what was covered in each lesson
  • Study Schedule PDF to give you more structure when self-studying
  • Course Index PDF to find lessons for certain Chinese characters in the course

Lesson-based tools resources be found on the individual lesson pages, and any downloadable resources can be found on our Download Center.

As always, if you have any additional questions about the course, feel free to message us using the chat widget and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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