Chinese for Tomorrow

A New Five-Skilled Approach
by Wayne He, Dela Jiao, Qiuxia Shao, Christopher M. Livaccari

Typing Chinese involves entering pinyin, the romanized sounds for Chinese syllables, and then selecting the correct character. Learning accurate pinyin is crucial to speaking Chinese well, and in Chinese for Tomorrow, pinyin keyboarding forms the basis of a new learning method that lets learners use the language in a practical and engaging way very early on in their studies. The authors’ extensive field testing at New York University and elsewhere indicates that students using the Computer Chinese method learn Chinese characters more quickly, have better retention, and write more effective compositions than students learning by traditional methods. The Computer Chinese method is additionally useful for students who will take the new AP Chinese test, which requires computer interaction.

Chinese for Tomorrow treats computer input and handwriting instruction as complementary modes. Computer input forms an integral part of the first year of study (Volume 1), while handwriting is introduced more gradually and is more intensive in the second year (Volume 2). Textbooks are available in traditional or simplified character editions, and grammar books contain both traditional and simplified characters on facing pages.

In total, this course is projected to cover two years of study through a textbook with practice exercises, a companion grammar book, and online supplements. Each textbook and its companion Grammar Book are designed to cover one year of study at the high school or college level, when used together as part of a comprehensive course covering listening, speaking, reading, writing, and computer input. Within the textbook, concise explanations of language points help students grasp and use the language immediately as they encounter new words and phrases. The grammar book uses detailed explanations to help students gain a deeper knowledge and analytical understanding of the grammatical, phonological, and pragmatic systems of the language. This two-pronged approach to language learning frees students to focus on the most natural, relevant and interesting language in the textbook, while providing a structured, step-by-step program for mastering grammar in the grammar book.

About the Chinese for Tomorrow Series

Chinese for Tomorrow is a two-year Mandarin language series that integrates computer input of Chinese as both a fifth language skill and a practical tool to make the process of learning Chinese more efficient, effective, and rewarding. The complete Chinese for Tomorrow course includes a student textbook with practice exercises, a companion grammar book, a teacher’s manual, and online supplements for each year of study. The series includes two volumes—one volume for each year of study. Volume 1 and Volume 2 are now available.


The Chinese for Tomorrow course covers two years of study with two volumes. Each volume includes a Student Textbook, Companion Grammar Book, Teacher’s Manual, and online supplements.

  • The first year of the course focuses on computer input, while handwriting is introduced gradually with firmer emphasis in the second and third years.
  • Volume 2, the second year of the course, introduces character writing by hand at a more rapid pace and students are challenged to contextualize larger amounts of new vocabulary, complex grammar patterns, and in-depth cultural material.
  • A separate Companion Grammar Book offers systematic explanations of the basic grammatical principles of Mandarin Chinese.
  • A “Chinese Customs and Culture” section in each textbook lesson covers contemporary society, the arts, literature, travel, Chinese customs, and more.
  • Textbooks feature accelerated vocabulary sequencing, so students can quickly build their vocabulary.
  • Textbooks are available in simplified or traditional characters. Grammar books contain both simplified and traditional characters and teacher's books are in simplified characters only.

We are using Chinese For Tomorrow for the heritage learners and they are making amazing progress. The computerized teaching and learning method has proven very efficient. . .

— Yu Feng, Professor of Chinese, Brandeis University