As we all know, Chinese characters are an essential part of Chinese language. As the basic units of the language, Chinese characters are necessary to learn, even for kids at young age. There are several phases of Chinese character learning:
Phase 1: Recognizing the character shape and knowing its meaning
Phase 2: Understanding the tone and pronunciation of the character in context
Phase 3: Knowing how to write the characters by the right stroke order
For very young kids, it is enough to stay phase 1 and/or 2 until either the fine motor skills of the child is developed or the child has shown interest in “drawing” the characters. Gradually, tracing the strokes of the characters need to be introduced and the child learns how to write Chinese characters. (If you wonder way, read the article “Should Children Learn How to Write Chinese Characters“).
How to teach kids to write Chinese characters? Here are 7 tips:
TIP #1: EXPOSE CHILDREN TO CHINESE CHARACTERS
Children have to have a general impression of the characters before they attempt to write them. Any Chinese learning materials can help children being exposed to Chinese characters: books, labels, flash cards, posters… you name it. Themed-based Word walls are especially effective because the characters are categorized and are connected. Labels on different objects at home can also be useful since they help establish the link between the characters and the objects.
TIP #2: MODEL THE WRITING FOLLOWING THE RIGHT STROKE ORDER
Show the children how to write the characters and do it several times to ensure they understand. For example, you can write down the character slowly on the white board first asking the children to pay attention to the stroke orders. Then you can repeat writing the character. Ask a child to identify the orders and mark them on the strokes with a marker of different color. Finally ask a couple of children to the white board to write it while the rest of the class write together with them. In such a way, it is for sure that children learn how to write the character by heart.
As a rule of thumb, the stoke orders should be from top to the bottom, from left to the right and from outside to inside.
If you want to show the children an animated version of the character, you can use Animated stroke order for Chinese characters to show it.
As you can see, you can specify the colors, numbers of characters to be shown and the animation speed.
TIP #3: MAKE THE PRACTICE FUN
Writing Chinese characters can be boring sometimes. It is really up to the teachers and parents to make it fun for kids! Some ideas you can consider are listed below:
- Air writing |table writing
Ask the children to write in the air of on the table. This is especially effective when children are asked to follow the order when the teacher is modeling the writing on the white board.
- Sand writing
Younger children like this practice a lot. Use a small container with a layer of sand as the write pad for children to write on. They can use a finger or a stick rather than a pen. It is easy to erase and start over.
- Make the character with beans or ribbons
Show the character to the children and ask them to make the character with beans or ribbons. For young children, it is better to hand out a character template and ask them to glue the beans or ribbons on the line. The final product is quite much like a piece of art.
The ideas do not stop here. Share with us your ideas and let’s make the Chinese character writing practice more fun.
TIP #4: USE ONLINE DICTIONARIES AS TOOLS
There are quite some great online dictionaries which give the meaning of the character as well as the stroke orders. They can be used as an additional tool to reinforce the learning. Here are a couple of good ones for you to use:
TIP #5: MAKE EACH SESSION SHORT
Try to make each writing session short, 10-15 minutes each time is enough to practice 3-5 characters. For children, this amount is sufficient.
TIP #6: PRACTICE AND BE CONSISTENT
Language learning has to be consistent. Chinese character writing needs to be done regularly too. Practice makes perfect. And consistence brings success.
TIP #7: GIVE COMPLIMENT AND STOP COMPARING
As the educator, we are also cheerleaders. We should praise our children for each single step they make on the Chinese learning. Chinese character writing is not easy, it needs more attention, recognition and praise.
Sometimes it is easy to fall into traps like comparing a child to another, either on their writing qualities or on their memorization. Try to stop doing so. It is not fair to compare and it does not help motivate children to practice. If you have to compare, compare today’s writing to yesterday’s, maybe you can identify where the child did well and where he should improve. Believe me, this is much more constructive.
WHERE TO GET THE WRITING WORKSHEETS?
You can get our writing worksheets for free
If you need Chinese characters with the right stroke orders to practice Chinese writing, you may like
CHINESE4KIDS 100 CHINESE CHARACTER WRITING WORKBOOK
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