The Chinese also learn their written language with the help of an alphabet. It consists of 37 sounds and looks like:
The symbols are in order from top to bottom, right to left. They are pronounced (roughly):
r aan ie ah eee tzih jü jee guh duh buo
en ay oh ooo tsih chü chee kuh tuh puo
ong ow uh ü sih shü shee huh nuh muo
oeng oe eh ür luh fuo
... so while English-speaking schoolchildren are reciting "ay bee cee dee" their Chinese-speaking counterparts are reciting "buo puo muo fuo." (There might actually be other non-English European-language weird letters with umlauts or whatnot that better represent the sounds, but unfortunately the only one I know is ü.)
I learned the teaching alphabet as a kid. Unfortunately, I learned it so well that I failed to learn the actual characters they were next to, because it was easier to just use the crutch than memorize the real character. Thus, I'm functionally illiterate. I also only barely speak Mandarin - basically at the level of an 8 year old kid - which is just enough to get by with the non-English-speaking fellow workers at the Chinese takeout if I use a lot of hand waving.
The most useful thing I've ever done with this bit of knowledge was to help someone translate some arcane Buddhist texts. It was filled with rare words that she didn't know, but it did come with the teaching alphabet next to them. As she was perfectly literate with all of the actual characters, she'd forgotten the teaching alphabet. So I read everything out loud, having no clue what I was saying, and then she was able to take lots of notes and explain it back to me.