I have been through several phases in my Chinese studies. The one I have stuck with is picking an article or selection from a book or a Chinesepod lesson and typing it in Pinyin, using NJStar as a word processor. I can now read most of the more common words and often but not always can guess the pinyin of the ones I don't know. As last resort, I look up the unknown characters, using NJStar radical table and stroke number. While this is OK for improving my reading, it needs a lot more work to (i) write and (ii) pronounce it correctly. I find NJStar's pinyin conversion tool and vocabulary builder very useful as well as Rosetta Stone's pronounciation drill...
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