Character Alive

A Tangible Reading and Writing System for Chinese Children At-risk for Dyslexia


  • Character Alive is a tangible system designed to improve early Chinese literacy acquisition for Mandarin-speaking children at-risk for dyslexia by enabling high-level interaction. Character Alive uses the multisensory training method to teach children the reading and writing of Chinese characters and words. The core design features of our system are dynamic color cues, 2D radical cards and handwriting cards with tactile cues, and multimedia content such as character animations. Character Alive was built on our previous work on designing tangible and augmented reality reading and writing systems for children at-risk for dyslexia in English. Our previous work has demonstrated that dynamic color cues can draw children’s attention to key characteristics of letter-sound-correspondences, whereas the two-hand actions with tangible letters help children to better solve spelling tasks.

Pictures & Videos


Papers and Awards

  • Fan, M.*, Fan, J., Antle, A.N., Jin, S (2019). Character Alive: A Tangible Reading and Writing System for Chinese Children At-risk for Dyslexia. In Extended Abstracts of Proceedings of Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA’19), ACM Press, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, May 4-9, 2019, LBW113, 1-6.
  • Fan, M*, Wu, Y, Fan, J, Cui, X., Lin, S (2023). CharacterAlive: Designing and Evaluating a Tangible System to Support Children’s Chinese Radical and Character Learning. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 1-17. 10.1080/10447318.2024.2313922
Scroll to Top