Previous studies suggest that writing helps reading development in Chinese in both first and second language settings by enabling higher-quality orthographic representation of the characters. This study investigated the comparative effectiveness of reading, animation, and writing in developing foreign language learners' orthographic knowledge of Chinese and found that, for learners with existing orthographic knowledge, the three learning conditions facilitated character learning in different ways: Writing and animation both led to better form recognition, while reading produced superior meaning and sound recalls. In addition, the effect of animation in meaning recall was also better than writing. In developing the skill of reproducing characters from memory, writing was superior. Implications for the teaching and learning of Chinese characters are offered.