HanZi 800 is an educational app based on a specially developed, story-centric pedagogy designed around 800 core Chinese characters that helps kids aged 6-10 accelerate and improve their Chinese literacy through animated storytelling, practices and quiz games.
After completing all 40 lessons, a child who started the programme with basic level of Chinese literacy (preschool or Primary 1) can expect to achieve up to 90% Primary 4 level Chinese literacy.
In their 6 years of primary school Chinese education, students in Singapore are required to learn between 1,500 to 2,000 characters.
Studies have shown that 500 of the most frequently used Chinese characters cover approximately 80% of general, daily reading materials i.e. newspapers, magazines etc. If a person can master 1,000 characters, he would have achieved 92% general reading competency.
In our research, we considered up to 1,000 of the most commonly used Chinese characters in China, and concluded that many characters in this group would not be very applicable for daily use in the Singapore context. Some degree of calibration is required in order to design a curriculum that focuses on Chinese characters that would allow a local child’s general literacy and reading competency to hit the 80-90% mark.
As a result, we developed a programme consisting of 40 lessons, designed around 800 carefully selected core Chinese characters, that uses storytelling, practices and quizes to help the user master the required characters and the thousands of common terms and phrases derived
How It Works
Each lesson introduces around 20 core Chinese characters through a new story, and each story gradually incorporates the characters that have been introduced in the previous lessons. The result is a series of original stories that increase in difficulty level as the user progresses in the programme and learns more characters, which are reinforced through practices and quiz games. There is also a built-in feature to track the progress of learning.
All the content are presented using rich and vivid animation, illustrations, characters and music, and are intended to be fun, humourous and engaging such that learning naturally becomes a by-product.
It is entirely possible for a child aged 5 or 6 to be able to comfortably read at Primary 3 level or higher once he or she successfully completes the programme. Conversely, if a Primary 3 student’s level of Chinese is languishing at Primary 1, HanZi 800 will help him/her catch up quickly and regain confidence in the language.
What's In Each Module
Each of the 40 modules contain:
Read-along story (about 20 core characters are introduced)
Animated story (introduction of some new core characters that will come in later modules)
The Quiz game at the end of each lessons tests how well the user has learned the 20 characters introduced. Depending on how well the user performs, up to 5 stars are awarded, and a corresponding percentage score is shown. The user can then go to the main page and see the average score that he or she has obtained up to that lesson. The average score is a cumulative average of all the scores for prior lessons completed.
By the end of the 40 lessons, the average score gives a strong indication of how much the user has learned and absorbed.
Around 20 core characters are introduced in each story, which is the first part of every lesson.
Highlighted characters and phrases within each story brings up a Chinese-English glossary to aid learning.
A practice to test the character recognition and comprehension attained from the read-along story.
A second, longer story that incorporates characters that have been covered and introduces some that will appear in later lessons, but not part of the curriculum for the current lesson.
A multiple choice, Q&A game at the end of each lesson that tests the level of learning and comprehension attained for the current lesson.
Scoring for Each Lesson
Scoring based on performance in the quiz game. Depending on how well the user performs, up to 5 stars are awarded, and a corresponding percentage score is shown.
A cumulative average of all the scores for prior lessons completed is viewable at any time. By the end of the 40 lessons, this average score gives a strong indication of how much the user has learned and absorbed.
As the user goes through the 40-lesson programme, the difficulty level noticeably increases, as newer, more complex characters and phrases are introduced. But because stories are, to a large extent, written using characters that have been learned, there is familiarity that couples with the new material. Naturally, stories also become gradually more interesting and vivid.
Up to 3 User Accounts
Supports up to 3 individual users who can log into their respective account within the app, hence catering to families with more than one child i.e. no need to have one iPad per child.
The first 5 lessons are downloadable for free.
Subsequent lessons are currently priced at S$5.98 per block of 5 lessons (through in-app purchase).
Hence, the entire programme (40 lessons) will cost a total S$42.
*Prices are subject to change in the future.
“汉字 800” 介绍