Is it rather strange when some online friends knew that though I am chinese I do not know how to read and write in Chinese. However, there is help available for those like myself who has never been to a Chinese school before.
Chinese Pinyin is the romanization of the Chinese "written sound". Romanization approximates Mandarin pronunciation with Western spellings and includes a tone mark to signify the pitch of a word.
Just like alphabet A - Z to English, Pinyin provides a phonetic alphabet for Chinese and is taught from Grade 1 in Chinese elementary schools. It is a fundamental tool used for learning the spelling of Chinese characters throughout Chinese language study.
Pinyin is used by most modern Chinese dictionaries to denote pronunciation of characters. It is also an efficient input method in Chinese computer software, which is natively supported by Microsoft Windows OS.
After mastering Pinyin, you can easily read Chinese books with Pinyin marked, learn Chinese characters by looking in the dictionary, or input Chinese characters into your computer, it will take your Chinese study to a higher level.