Learning Chinese characters takes a lot of discipline. One must learn around two thousand to three thousand characters in order to be considered literate. This task seems formidable for beginners. However with some organization and determination, it is a level that can be achieved.
One part of my character learning process is keeping a log of my progress. This log contains a running list of all the Chinese characters I have learned thus far.
As you can see, it’s a simple concept. As you learn new characters in your textbook, or in class, enter the character and it’s pinyin into the log.
This log serves two purposes. The first purpose is to serve as a reference tool. By keeping a running log of characters, you can periodically review your Chinese vocabulary and test yourself on what you’ve learned. It’s a way of “knowing that you know” what you’ve learned.
The second purpose is to serve as an encouragement for future learning. The character logs that I use (the one you can download below) have two columns with twelve characters per line. This week, for example, I have filled up four lines on my character log. That means that this week I am 48 characters closer to literacy. Over time as you log 100, 200, 500 characters, this encouragement only becomes stronger.
In order for this log to succeed, it’s important that you actually review it periodically and practice writing each character to guarantee you’re grasp of it.
Check out the log below! 好好学习！