Chinese Literacy Development through Technology


Frank Lixing Tang, Zijie Hu


New York University



Often in teaching Chinese, teaching literacy means teaching the writing of characters and focus on stroke order.  While these skills are of course necessary, true literacy skills go far beyond simply writing characters. We must build students’ ability to read, write and understand meaningful materials and resources: stories, poems, articles, essays, websites, etc. as well as their “cultural literacy” of the Chinese-speaking world.


We can find meaningful activities in the ESL curriculum and even the English Language Arts curriculum by which our students learn reading and writing in their first language.

Adapting these teaching techniques (Jazz Chants, Read-Aloud, Shared reading, Story Telling, Digital Story Telling and more) provides a literacy-rich context in which students apply familiar strategies from their core classes to their learning of Chinese.


We will demonstrate how to use these techniques and others, and how to incorporate technology into our lessons to create even more motivation and more interesting products for students in this digital era. Given that Chinese writing system takes more time for native speakers of western languages to learn, technology can allow students to develop meaningful literacy skills jump ahead of language learning.


Some of the technologies we will discuss are as follows: Microsoft Photo Story 3, Webspiration, Comic Life and PowerPoint.