Active learning



 On each page of the book is given a character, its ancient forms and an explanation of the character's form[the layout of is explained in greater detail in the intro of the book]. The reader is urged to analyze the ancient forms, how they resemble the modern form, and how the form of the character evolved with time. Attempt to correlate the ideographic explanation given with the character's ancient forms as well as its present day form.

Try to develop an understanding of the character's form and of how it symbolizes its meaning before you move on to the next character. There is no need to "memorize" the character - once you seem familiar enough with the form to recognize it, you can move on the next character. An initial, quick read of the explanations of all the characters could speed up the learning process - as this would provide the reader an opportunity to see the components of the characters appear in different contexts, and thus naturally gain a familiarity with them.

Your depth of understanding of each character will improve only as you see them used in various contexts. Once you are familiar with around the first 100 characters, set yourself to reading texts in Chinese with a translation software. Initially, your comprehension of what you read might be limited, but this process is essential to internalize the vocabulary and quickly learn the language.

Wenlin is highly recommended for the purpose. The software has a mouse-over translation facility and one of the most extensive of Chinese - English dictionaries. 

When reading, choose material of the same type as you are likely to read once you have learned Chinese. Thus, the vocabulary you develop will be specific to your requirements.