Best Chinese Language Learning Resources

Whether you’re in the intermediate and advanced levels of language learning or if you’re just starting to learn Chinese, we all share the same goal of becoming more fluent in Mandarin. And I’m sure you can agree with me that it’s not the easiest language to learn!

Over the last decade of learning Chinese, I’ve been introduced to a number of great resources that I’d like to share with you here. Before I do that, though, I need to make one thing very clear: learning Chinese (or any language for that matter) does not require spending lots of money.

The key to unlocking massive improvements in your Chinese language skills is motivation. And thankfully that’s free.

The key to effective Chinese language learning is motivation.

The resources I’m listing here for you will not take the place of motivation. What they will do is facilitate the Chinese language learning process, in some ways making you more effective and often a faster student. This, in turn, continues to motivate you to keep going.

I’ve personally used each of these resources and will provide a bit of commentary on my experience. The links here are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost I will be compensated if you decide to use one of these services, but as a Chinese language learner myself, I promise you’ll enjoy them.

Best of all, I’ve even managed to negotiate a discounts on some of these Chinese language resources for you. Enjoy and happy learning!

Essential Chinese Learning Resources

1. Outlier Dictionary – Character Recognition

If you haven’t heard of the Pleco dictionary before, stop what you’re doing and download it now on your smartphone. It’s free.

The Outlier dictionary for Pleco

What makes Pleco so powerful, though, is the awesome add-ons you can download. My favorite is the new Outlier Dictionary that was recently released. The dictionary is focused on showing learners how Chinese characters work as a system rather than as a bunch of disconnected single characters to be individually mastered.

This dictionary is not only great for learning the backstories of individual Chinese characters and you are more likely to recollect specific words in conversation and how to write the character down after learning it in this app. For a better understanding of how it works, check-out my review of the Outlier dictionary.

DISCOUNT: Get 10% off using code BREEZE10

Visit the Outlier Website

2. ChinesePod – Improve Listening

ChinesePod is a great resource for Chinese learners

Learning Chinese starts with listening. Listening is a key to speaking like a local.

This is why I love ChinesePod. With ChinesePod you can listen and experience Chinese with over 3,500 entertaining and practical audio & video podcasts – many of which are geared towards beginning learners.

The best thing is you can try the program for free to see if it fits your learning style. Personally, I signed up for their annual plan years ago and enjoy using the app on my phone while I’m on a bus.

DISCOUNT! Get 25% off using the code LEARN MANDARIN

Try ChinesePod Free

3. The Chairman’s Bao – Reading Chinese

Try the Chairman's Bao as a good graded reader for Mandarin Chinese learning.

Learning to read Chinese is probably the most daunting aspect of the language. Fortunately, there are amazing resources like “graded readers” that can get you reading and comprehending passages much faster.

The Chairman’s Bao is the best among the graded readers and features new articles every day specific to your level.

You can see screenshots in my article about learning to read Chinese, but honestly, it’s best to just try it yourself. They offer a free trial that’s worth giving a shot.

DISCOUNT! Get 20% off when using the code CBTCB20

Try Chairman’s Bao Free Trial

4. Du Chinese – Reading Chinese

Du Chinese

Similar to Chairman’s Bao, Du Chinese offers a state of the art graded reader app that helps you learn effectively from anywhere.  New lessons are also added continuously for all levels and feature complete sentence translations for added comprehension.

An additional notable feature is that the app offers pinyin written above each character making it useful for proper pronunciation while reading aloud. Similar to Chairman’s Bao, they offer a free trial so you can test both apps and see which one works best for you.

DISCOUNT! Get 10% off using the code CHINESEBREEZE.

Visit the Du Chinese Website

Language Resouces | Learn to Speak Chinese

1. eChineseLearning – Online Tutoring

Try eChineseLearning for online Chinese tutoring

eChineseLearning offers live one-on-one instruction in Chinese from teachers in China.

This is an excellent way to accelerate your Chinese learning, especially if you don’t live in China right now. This is a great resource for Chinese language learners and best of all, they’ve even offered a free introductory class to anybody who uses my affiliate link.

Through individual classes, teachers are able to set the pace and focus on the specific needs of each learner. Plus you get plenty of opportunities to speak in this manner.

BONUS: Get one free tutoring lesson using the link below!

Try eChinese Learning Free

2. TutorMandarin – Online Tutoring

Tutor Mandarin logo

TutorMandarin provides 1-on-1 online classes with native Chinese speakers who have degrees in Chinese language education. It’s your own, qualified language tutor!

Language levels are based on the HSK and the curriculum is largely based on your individual needs. In addition to premium language instruction, their interactive mobile whiteboard technology makes classes engaging and effective.

BONUS! Click below to sign up for one FREE Lesson!

Try Tutor Mandarin Free

Language Resources | Learn to Read Chinese

1. Skritter – Learn to Read/Write Chinese!

Use the Skritter app to learn to write Chinese characters

Skritter is one of my favorite tools to help me learn to write Chinese because it turns the learning process into a fun game.

Skritter is an app you download on your phone or tablet that helps you learn to write and remember Chinese characters. You choose the characters or vocabulary list you want to study (they have hundreds to choose from).

The app is designed to take care of spaced-repetition technology, which means that you can learn new characters and through timed repetition, remember them with close to 95% accuracy!

SKRITTER DISCOUNT! Get 50% off your first 6 months using the code CB50

Try Skritter Free for a Week

2. Mandarin Companion Graded Reader Series

The Mandarin Companion graded reader series for Chinese

The Mandarin Companion graded reader series is fantastic for beginning to intermediate learners improving your reading! The series features simple and entertaining stories that are accompanied by fun illustrations.

The stories come in different reading levels where each level limits the number of different characters used. The series is constantly expanding and they’re even starting to produce an audio version of the books.

Literacy is a big deal when it comes to language fluency, and the Mandarin Companion books are hands down my favorite graded readers.

 Find Mandarin Companion on Amazon

Final Thoughts | Chinese Language Resources

Not all of these Chinese language resources will be right for you. The key is to give them a try to see if they help boost your motivation to learn the language.

Do you think there are other language learning tools that should be on this list? Contact me to let me know.

I wish you the best of luck in your Mandarin learning journey!