All in-person classes are fully resumed while online classes are still available.


Chinese Characters Express


  • Course Name: Chinese Characters Express

  • Course Price: See below

  • Age Group: 12 years old or above

  • Class Date: Flexible

  • Class Time: Flexible

  • Class Size (Students): Private/Semi-Private/3-6 Small Group

  • Delivery Method: In-Person/Online

  • Language Level: Advanced


This course is designed for teenagers aged 12 years old or above and adults who possess strong Chinese conversational skills, but struggle with reading and writing Chinese characters.


The official "List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese" in China comprises a comprehensive 3,500 commonly used characters (including 1,000 less common ones). These characters form the foundation of modern Chinese language, covering over 99.48% of characters encountered in daily articles. Familiarity with 1,500-2,000 frequently used Chinese characters enables understanding of more than 90% of daily written content. Despite the apparent complexity of Chinese character structure, it embodies simplicity and order. Chinese characters consist of eight basic strokes, and the majority are composed of 150 components, with over 100 being the Single-Component characters most prevalent in daily life.


Referring to the current primary school Chinese textbook standards set by the National Education Department, the grade one curriculum comprises 440 characters, grade two has 740, grade three features 560, grade four includes 295, grade five encompasses 231, and grade six includes 173 words. The total count for common characters throughout grades one to six adds up to 2,439.

This series of textbooks is crafted in accordance with the principles and regulations governing the composition of Chinese characters. Initially, students delve into mastering radicals and commonly used single-component characters, referred to as the 'components' of Chinese characters. The learning journey begins by comprehending 300 frequently used Chinese character parts, breaking them down and reassembling them following the principles of character formation to cultivate associative literacy. Subsequently, the approach involves differentiation through three kinds of characters to enhance memory retention:

  • Characters consist of a semantic component that provides a clue to the meaning of the character and a phonetic component that gives an indication of its pronunciation (referred to as pictophonetic characters, phono-semantic characters, or semantic-phonetic characters).
  • Characters that have similar shapes or appearances, which can lead to confusion in reading or writing (similar characters).
  • Characters with the same pronunciation but often distinct meanings (homophones).

As students accumulate a certain number of characters, they engage in typing skill training, complemented by graded guided reading. This process aims to solidify and deepen their understanding of Chinese characters, ultimately culminating in the ability to read freely and master 1,500 Chinese characters


The course is structured across three levels, with each level encompassing 20 hours of instructional tasks. Initially, students gain insights into the structure and compositional rules of Chinese characters. The curriculum then integrates diverse literacy methods, enabling students to make inferences and rapidly expand their literacy skills. The ultimate objective is to empower students to master 1,200-1,500 commonly used Chinese characters, attaining proficiency in both typing and reading with ease.

Level One

This initial stage focuses on acquainting learners with the structure and composition rules of Chinese characters. Emphasis is placed on acquiring knowledge of commonly used strokes, individual characters, and radicals. Through permutations and combinations, students delve into the exploration of 200-400 commonly used Chinese characters, derived from common radicals. Examples include associations like wood radical(木)- fruit(果), woods(林), forest(森), machine(机), cup(杯), pine(松), and sample(样)

Level Two

Moving on to the second level, the curriculum introduces the concepts of pictophonetic characters and Chinese character parts. Utilizing the learned Chinese character parts, such as single-component characters and radicals, literacy is expanded through techniques like "adding parts, subtracting parts, changing parts." Notably, almost 90% of Chinese characters are pictophonetic characters, making the "component literacy method" particularly relevant to characters of this nature and those sharing similar components.

Level Three

The third level of instruction centers on comprehensive literacy, reading, and typing (writing). This stage is designed to assist students in solidifying and enhancing their understanding and application of Chinese characters within authentic language environments. Simultaneously, students are encouraged to leverage their knowledge of Chinese characters to "explain the text and interpret the characters." This approach aims to stimulate independent thinking, enabling them to draw inferences from examples and expand their literacy skills.


  • Locations:
    • • Online
    • • Offsite @ student’s facility
    • • Onsite @ Downtown: Suite 504, 25 Adelaide St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 3A1
    • • Onsite @ North York: Suite 410, 200 Consumers Rd, North York, ON M2J 4R4


  • A FREE placement assessment will be offered to all new students to ensure they will be placed in the right level.
  • TMS reserves the right to request a student to repeat a course if necessary.


  • Full payment (tuition & registration fees) must be paid before the class starts.
  • $25 administrative charge will apply to each non-sufficient funds cheque.


  • Refund or credit will not be given once the registered classes start.
  • For private and semi-private classes, 2 weeks written notice must be provided if the students request to temporarily suspend the class. Unused hours will be saved as school credit, which is valid for 2 years from the date of suspension and can be applied to any courses.
  • For small group classes, refund or credit will not be given once the registered class starts.


  • Students who registered for private classes may reschedule planned lessons with 24 hours written notice to the teacher or head office. Otherwise, regular fees will be charged.
  • Students registered for small group classes are unable to reschedule any planned lessons due to personal reasons. Prepaid hours will be deducted for missed class. A make-up class may be arranged with the instructor. However, students must pay the difference between the individual and group class.

*Toronto Mandarin School reserves the right of final explanations.


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