Balance of Repetition and New Content

I am wondering what your opinion is on the balance of repetition and new content. How many times do you usually read a particular text? Does that number increase or decrease depending on if you have audio available for that article? If you do not have audio to enable you to do listening, how many times will you read a particular article or do you find it is better to move on to new content so you can see more words in a variety of contexts?

I guess I am wondering what the balance is between “mastering” a particular lesson or article, and moving on and seeing words in a wider variety of contexts? Which is better? From what I understand, Steve does not tend to hold much to “mastering” an article, but then the question is…then how long should I be spending on a particular piece of content?

Thank you,

  • Josh

I tend to listen to the audio first without reading the text, to see how much I understand from that alone (as my listening comprehension tends to lag behind the other skills). Then I listen to it again while reading the text simultaneously. Then I read it myself (usually in my mind and not out loud) as I go through the text and create lingqs or otherwise mark something. That’s my “full completion” of a text.


In Spanish I never reread anymore. I’m advanced enough that if I’m reading with LingQ I’ll understand the meaning of basically everything, and if not, I decide not to worry about it. In German, a language I have just recently started learning, I reread three or four times to understand everything; however, this does not mean I necessarily reread the entire lesson. In the first mini story I read the first part three times and listened a few times then moved on to the second part and read it twice and listened. The questions I only read once since they are not as important to me. So, to summarize, I would reread early on in a language, but once you are past beginner content I would move on to new content as quickly as you can.

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Even at the level I’m at now with Spanish, I will re-read if the text is interesting enough. This is mostly to learn my yellow lingqs or to squeeze the meaning out of a particular phrase, grammatical construction, etc. If I have audio, I often read first to learn the meanings of the words, and then again while listening to the audio. Then, if my understanding was/is good, I’ll listen while doing other things (driving, walking, etc.) I would only generally do this with articles, stories, or other lingq lessons. I wouldn’t do this with a full-length book chapter.

I agree with your take on Steve’s approach. And my approach is variation of that: do what you like, do what you can, and move on when you want.


In my limited experience, there seems to be a benefit to seeing and hearing a particular word in a variety of contexts rather than nailing down a particular text to perfection. I have found that when I strive to perfect a text, then I tend to only recognize a particular word in the original context I studied it in.

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I usually only read and listen to articles in the beginning stages 2-5 times. If the accent and pronunciation of the voice is clear, then I usually listen more. Past the beginning stages, I hardly reread and relisten to anything, unless it’s an old article which had the clear voice.

I overall think it’s better to just move on, if you get tired of the lesson, just go to the next. Eventually you will come back to the lesson and it will be 10 times easier.

Good luck.

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I never read more than once because to do so i find boring. I just consume more and more language and the important stuff repeats. New stuff can make older fuzzy stuff clearer.

You can read here 100 different opinions, but don’t be dependent on other people!
Do what suits to you best of all!
Somebody repeats the same text 5-10 times, somebody doesn’t repeat even for the second time because it seems to him “boring”.
I think that if you start a new language , you have to repeat every text several times to familiarize yourself with new words and constructions.
But if you reach the good Intermediate or advanced level, you needn’t to repeat anything.

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I have a similar word count in Spanish to you but I pretty much only read long texts (e.g. books) because importing articles doesn’t seem worth it to me for the tiny payoff in LingQ creation and word count increase. So I don’t reread at all anymore, unless it’s Memorias de Idhún which I have read twice and might read again one day…