Does White Noise, Rain,... Help You with Reading?

As we read a lot using LingQ, one day I’ve started to listen to a Live Rain Youtube Program. There are a lot of different types of rain and I’ve started to use one that I felt good.

With my surprise, I can definitely say that I can concentrate more when I read only and listen to it at the same time. Or I can read for longer blocks of time than before without being tired.

Have you ever tried anything similar? Does this make sense?

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I need to try this! I’ll let you know how it goes!

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@MarkE: awesome. Here’s a link of the Relaxed Guy. :smiley: The Relaxed Guy - YouTube

Too distracting for me definitely hampering with my understanding of the text.

I thought the same, for example thunders distract me but not all noises. :open_mouth:

Interesting experiment, Davide!

But why use the random but constant sound of rain, the sea, etc. while reading when listening simultaneously to the audio version of a text both enhances and accelerates the reading process even more, esp. for beginners and intermediate learners?

IMO, reading alone is no match for (ultra)reading while listening.
And the same goes for reading+random noises…

Yeah, maybe, but not everyone wants to do ultrareading Peter. :smiley:

One reason could be just for enjoying reading and relaxing, for example before going to bed and so on, and as a side effect doing some clicking here and there with LingQ.

Another reason, for example here, it’s that I have an average of 6/7 Pomodoros per day and only two dedicated to reading+listening. It’s what I can handle for now.

Another reason is mental effort that need to be trained and not everyone has yours.

and so on. :smiley:

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“Yeah, maybe, but not everyone wants to do ultrareading Peter. :D”
Of course not :slight_smile:
However, at least at the beginner / intermediate stages, slow or fast-paced “reading-while-listening” is probably the most effective and efficient approach compared to (focused) “listening-alone” and (focused) “reading-alone”.

Therefore, I wouldn´t replace “reading-while-listening” with “reading+random noise”. But if “reading+random noise” is a complementary and relaxing activity in the evening, why not?

Personally, I´d prefer to give my eyes some rest and listen to an audio book, the sound of the rain / sea, etc. when I want to relax in the evening, but tastes differ :slight_smile:


Whirring of a well stuffed fridge is relaxing :slight_smile:

I’ve had such experience, still do sometime. Not always it helps to concentrate, I think it depends on the type of distractions you suffer from. Sounds help when I’m just bored, but overall feeling well.
When it’s severe anxiety, white noise is not much of a help. When it’s ADHD symptoms, there should also be specific treatment for it. BTW, I personally love the sound of a transformer box or of powerlines, it was hard to find but I managed to do so, God bless YouTube :slight_smile:

Yeah, maybe, but not everyone wants to do ultrareading yet

That’s an interesting idea. If this were true, using directly a solution could help to understand the type of distraction we are affected by.

Who knows. Probably but in the list of problems it doesn’t take first place. But sometimes you find directly the solution without thinking about the cause.

scary. :smiley:

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“Yeah, maybe, but not everyone wants to do ultrareading
Here again the Borg logic takes over:
“Resistance is futile - in the long run”. :slight_smile:

But joking aside, it’s good to have “ultrareading” in the general language learning toolbox because it increases the number of effective options that can be used or not.


I usually do reading without listening, if I can’t find a good narration.

A good narration is indeed important. I find very difficult to listen to someone if it’s dragging or inconsistent etc.

When I find courses like that I just skip them because the quality of the speaker is important. Audio quality is important as well but the speaker first, audio second. I can cope with a bad audio quality if it’s not too bad and if I listen to the story only one time. Not if I would like to repeat the story though.


“because the quality of the speaker is important” (Davide)
I couldn´t agree more.

For example, I love Stephen King´s “Dark Tower series” (not everything, but a lot), and
the narrator Frank Muller (Frank Muller - Wikipedia) did a hell of a job of bringing this series to life in English.

In contrast, when I listened to the Spanish version on Audible a few days ago, I was completely disappointed because the narrator was so boring. After a few hours I had to stop listening because I couldn’t take it anymore.

So my “voice artist / narrator test” is very simple:
Do I want to listen to the voice of narrator XY in bed at night or not? If not, then the whole audio book or audio drama isn´t for me…


What is Ultra reading?

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Very dangerous question. :smiley:

@Peter: I think you should open a thread specifically for this so that we can link there and add any useful info about it.

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Hi herrm,

It´s daily “high-volume” reading-while-listening (ca. 8-10k words read and listened to a day - at least with languages that have a familiar writing system) that is based on

  • habits
  • timeboxing (2 Pomodoro blocks à 25 min a day)
  • content flexible audio reader software (LingQ, ReadLang, etc.)
  • a combo like “audio book + e-book imported into the audio reader” (or “podcast + transcript”, etc.)
  • where the audio speed (> 1.0x - 1.5x) is a kind of “pacemaker” for the reading speed.

However, this approach isn´t suitable for the beginning stages (A1-A2), but it´s designed for the intermediate level B1 to achieve an advanced level (B2-C1 / C1) in listening and reading comprehension in the most (time-)efficient way.

In short: It´s a kind of accelerated mass immersion technique.

I´m working on an e-book version right now. However, here are some of the basic ideas (from my reply to @tjbandel from the “feeling-demotivated”-thread:

"it mostly feels like a chore which needs to be done, and I am learning for a purpose as per say, not because I particularly find it 'fun to learn languages'." (tjbandel) You should be aware that there´s a lot of marketese in all types of skill acquisition products (languages, math, fitness, etc.). Everything is the "fastest, easiest, and most fun way ever".

Learners who fall for these promises tend to have two types of experiences:

  1. If it’s fast, easy, and fun, it’s more or less useless because learning a challenging skill is, well, “challenging” :slight_smile:

  2. After a few hours they see:

  • it´s not fast, but time-intensive
  • it´s not easy, but they´re confronted with increasing levels of difficulty
  • it´s not always fun, esp. at the beginning of the learning process.

So if learners aren´t able to adapt their mindsets to the learning realities the´re confronted with, they´re toast.

In my teaching experience, many learners aren´t able to change their attitudes. Why? Because “the feeling like it” mindset is itself an established bad habit :slight_smile:

So what can you do? Here a few tips:

  1. Switch to a habit-based approach. Let´s say 2 Pomodoro blocks à 25 min 5-6 days a week.
    I repeat: If you don’t tackle this attitude problem, it doesn’t matter if you take a few weeks or months off, because you’ll be faced with the same demotivation problems over and over again - in short, they’ll haunt you!

  2. Use quantifiable metrics as goals, not some “vague feeling of fluency” (that´s like trying to nail a pudding to the wall).
    As a native speaker of English with Polish as your L2 that would be something like:

  • ca. 3 million words read
  • ca. 500 hours listening
  • ca. 100 hours speaking
  1. Use an ultrareading-while-listening approach (= “book / audiobook” - combo) because
  • it´s very (time-)efficient (you read and listen simultaneously and you read a lot)
  • it improves your “focused attention” more than reading / listening alone
  • it works as a “natural SRS” because of the high volume of words read
  1. Use a time-boxing approach, esp. Pomodoro is your friend here.
    If you practice “ultrareading-while-listening” in 2 Pomodoro blocks (25 min each) per day, 6 days per week, you will have read between 2.4 and 3.1 million words after one year (tip: you should strive to read about 4-5k words per Pomodoro block by increasing the speed of the audio to 1.2, 1.25, etc. on Audible, Youtube, LingQ, etc.).

  2. Choose at first interesting / fascinating non-fiction texts (e.g., the Harari trilogy mentioned above), then contemporary (popular) fiction that you find fascinating. If it´s the “Witcher Saga” in Polish, then go for it :slight_smile:

  3. Tweak this approach a little bit by:

  • exporting the LingQ flashcards to Anki. Usually 5-10 min of Anki a day can be quite helpful. Or if you need some grammar / verb conjugation drills, check the free decks for Polish on Memrise.
  • listening to other Polish content (the news, podcasts, whatever) 30 min a day in your down time (while ironing the clothes, washing the dishes, etc.)
  • speaking (at first self-talks where you try to summarize what has been read, later Italki and Co sessions) for another 30 mins.
    I don´t mention writing here, but chatting, for example, is also your friend.

If you can do this for about a year (and I repeat: a habit-based learning style is a “best practice” in this context!), ca. 2 hours a day, ca. 6 days a week, all your stats on LingQ will skyrocket.
Then you should be at B2-C1 / C1 level in Polish. In comparison, you’ve only reached about 20% of this language learning journey at the moment!

If that´s too much every day, just go for 1 Pomodoro block à 25 min a day. But then your language learning journey will take a bit longer.

Hope that helps


At the moment, I´ve collected the basic ideas on my profile page (Entrar - LingQ ) because I keep copying the same text passage into all possible replies.

However, I don’t want to open a dedicated thread on ultra-reading right now because I’d rather work on my e-book version first.

After that (and with the feedback of a few interested test readers), it´ll be more productive for all of us to further discuss the pros and cons of this technique (based on concrete experiences/stats, etc.) in a dedicated LingQ thread.

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Yes, I understand. It’s like that different threads unlock different angles and it’s very interesting to gather those information to have a complete picture.

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