How Many Times . . . Learning Method . . . Learning Approach

Steve K. espouses several listenings and recitations of mini-stories. If I understand correctly, he has urged people to replay, re-recite and re-listen to one mini-story maybe 30 to 50 times. Is anybody doing that? Is that how we’re supposed to learn? I’m serious. Certainly my method isn’t working. I don’t listen to and re-recite one mini-story dozens of times. Have cultivated almost 22,000 known words but my fluency is pathetic. Can someone enlighten me? What do you find a sufficient number of listenings and recitations of one mini-story to feel as if you’re improving? Is that your primary LingQ learning method? I used to submit writing samples to LingQ . . . no more. There’s also the tedium of one story endlessly repeated. As Steve has also said, “The brain likes novelty,” so learners must chase new learning material. I’m looking for a sensible learning method (the how-to LingQ learning method confused me) and perspective on how to learn with LingQ. Shall certainly appreciate any feedback you avail me. :slight_smile:


He is mostly referring to his maximum amount of times that he has listened overall but not in one sitting. He listens and then comes back some time in the future to listen and find the gaps that he may have missed from the previous listening sessions.

I usually passive listen to content that I have previously actively listened to in order to get the repetition of the words that I may have acquired from the active listening. Personally, I can listen to the same content without getting bored since my goal is to simply understand what is being said. My advice is to passively listen to content that you have actively listen to before as much as you want. Every listening session has some benefit in some way. Continue listening and it will get easier.


Much obliged, chytran. Inspiring words.

Hi, Humble_Learner!

Sorry to hear that your LingQ experience is so unsatisfactory!
There´s “a lot” (!) that you can do to change that.

But it would be good if you could give us some details first before we can come up with learning tips/strategies:

  1. Why do you want to study French and what are your goals? That is:
  • Do you just want to understand French media (= listening and reading comprehension)?
  • How important is oral fluency for you?
  • How important is writing for you? etc.
  1. With more than 20k words in French, why do you still focus on LingQ´s Mini-Stories?

  2. Looking at your overall statistics, you haven’t listened to French a lot, have you?
    Or have you also listened to French outside of LingQ?

  3. “I used to submit writing samples to LingQ . . . no more.” Why did you give up? And have you tried other writing forums like instead?

  4. You seem to have used LingQ`s spaced repetition system excessively (instead of reading and listening more). What were your motives for doing so?

  5. Is LingQ your only / primary learning tool or do you also use other methods / tools?

  6. What was your level of French when you started to use LingQ? That is, did you start from zero?

  7. What does your study routine on LingQ look like (frequency and activities)?

  8. What´s your time budget per day / week?

Strictu sensu, there´s no such thing as “passive” listening.
There´s only “active” listening with fully focused attention or with switches of focused attention.
See our LingQ discussion here:


Thanks for the insight. I will check out the discussion

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You´re welcome.
Unfortunately, the discussion got a little longwinded in the end.
But I think it’s still interesting, esp. the point about “multitasking” in
general (that is, it´s not as beneficial as is often assumed!).

Nevertheless, your piece of advice, "continue listening and it will get easier. "
is excellent!

I’m not even able to repeat twice the same content, other people are able to do it for more times without any problem.

If this is a secret for learning I’m screwed but I don’t think so as I’ve never done it and my languages are very good, a part from the last one that I’m learning.

I’m only able to repeat things when I have an advanced level on the language. For example, I watched “Alien” multiple times but for my personal enjoyment and not for studying or learning the language.

If I do that for learning at a beginner stage I get super bored and in the long term the result could be worse for my mind energy.

If you find a scientific study that says that this method is super important compared to other methods and accelerate my learning way more than doing other things, then I will change approach and train my mind to repeat boring content and make it enjoyable for the sake of learning quicker and better.

But for now, I consider all these as opinions, like many others so if you like it and you find it useful for yourself than do it, otherwise choose what resonate better for you. Imho.

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Interested in a LingQ booster strategy (for French), Humble_Learner?
If so, you should check out our ultrareading-while-listening approach combined with timeboxing (i.e., Pomodoro and Co):
*** UPDATE ***
… wrong link @Davide, thanks!
Here are two correct links:

*** UPDATE - END ***

It’s “intense”, but probably the most effective approach to using audio readers like LingQ!
However, at your language level, it should be absolutely doable on a daily basis.

If you need some more French resources for this, just ask us.

Hope that helps

@Peter: the link you posted is the same as this thread.


I wouldn’t say he has URGED. In fact everything he talks about is his own experience and what he’s found to work FOR HIM. He generally states to do whatever keeps you motivated, even if that’s SRS all the time which he generally doesn’t think is effective, other than a change of pace or done every once and awhile.

Back to repetition and mini-stories and what he’s stated. He says he likes to repeat the mini stories, particularly in the early parts of learning a language. He won’t stick on one lesson for 50x before moving on. He might listen to 10 different lessons and come back and repeat them later (at a later date or maybe later in the day). As someone also pointed out he may come back a long time from the last time he listened to them.

He’s stated many times in the past couple of years that he likens the mini-stories to his “gym work”.

Sooo…if you find it helpful to repeat the lessons, do so. I personally found it helpful in the beginning of learning a language myself, but it is NOT NECESSARY. Some folks here don’t repeat a lesson at all, and once you reach a certain skill level you’ll probably never want to repeat any lesson at all either, even if you did so in the beginning.

The most common words are going to repeat over and over in anything you read, so it’s really not necessary to repeat read lessons. You’ll see those words elsewhere in new content. I think the reason Steve may like to go back to his “gym work” with the mini-stories is just to get a little more emphasis on the most common words. Totally not necessary, but that’s what he likes to do and what he feels helps him.

As Peter pointed out…at 21,000 words you should be beyond the mini stories level. Certainly if you feel you are not understanding them though, you maybe should go through them as you really should understand them both reading and listening at your level. If you aren’t understanding them then it sounds like you haven’t put a lot of time towards reading and listening as Peter also pointed out and you’ll simply just need to be putting in hours against that. If you do understand them, then move on. They are not particularly interesting. You’ll want to read and listen to things that interest YOU. If you see some lessons in the lesson feed that sound interesting then check them out…or better yet, import material from the web that YOU find interesting. Make the process enjoyable. This should be fun for you at this stage.

Looking at your reading stats, your # of words read seems pretty light. I would think it should be double where you are now, but if you had been at a higher level in French before joining LingQ or you read outside of LingQ then the stats may not reflect your real # of words read. Your listening status are very low too…you should probably be near 250-300 hours at this point. Again, if you are listening to lessons, podcasts, tv shows, etc outside of LingQ then it may not be reflecting all your study.

I’d suggest spending 80% or more of your “study” time reading and listening if you aren’t already and see how that helps.

When you say your fluency is pathetic, what do you mean? Are you able to read most things? Are you having trouble listening and understanding? Speaking? All of these things need practice. At 21,000 words you also may still be rather light on vocabulary to understand native material or native people speaking. Especially if you haven’t been reading/listening much.

Anyway, just some thoughts based on the stats I see, which may not be reflective of what you’ve done. Answering some of Peter’s questions may help to identify some better ideas.


You and everybody else said lots of great things. Am astonished at the feedback. Thank you very much., Peter. I’ll respond later today. Tutoring English right now and speaking with a Belgian language partner this afternoon, so . . . busy language day. German is your native tongue, huh? Fun. Ich weiße ein bischien Deutsch auch. Kewl language. Best wishes.


I concur with Eric: LingQ’s Mini Stories are like “gym work” (warmup) for Steve.
And I have also found it helpful to return to these basics from time to time,
esp. in my weaker second languages like Portuguese.

However, I tend to completely ignore these stories in my stronger second

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Cool, Deine Deutschketnnisse!

Just take your time…
and when you´re ready, we´re here to help :slight_smile:

Honestly, I tend only to listen to them until I can effortlessly understand each iota of information therein, which ordinarily takes no more than five listening exposures, with readings in between each listening exposure. I do tend to return to them from time to time but my personal preference it to listen actively and master all vocabulary in each audio before moving on. For something like the Mini Stories, I’d typically spend no more than a day on each or two days at the most and I’d recommend listening to each only until it’s no longer a challenge and then move on. I think the founder is more of a passive listener, but this style makes me feel a bit insecure; there’s not “one size fits all” cookie-cutter method, you just have to find whatever works for you through trial and error.

Firstly break it down more: what does “my fluency is pathetic” mean?
Measure yourself against: Can you read it? Can you speak it? Can you understand spoken version?

For me I’m focusing specifically on understanding the spoken version because according to my own personal theory, that is primordial.

I am listening to the mini stories over and over again.
Does it “work”?
Sure it does. I can understand those stories and the corresponding situations.

I believe (and I’m armchair quarterbacking here) that your brain boxes vocabulary according to “scenes” or “conversations within specific scenes”.
So ask yourself this: would you be able to have a conversation about the type of “scene” within the mini-stories?

I bet the answer is yes.

If you asked a different question: could you understand any given conversation from a random scene that is not within the mini-stories, probably not.

I think it’s a self-defeating goal to create an expectation of arbitrary understanding as the first goal.

For me, I have a goal of understanding easy stuff like TPRS youtube channels first, then sesame street style stuff then low intermediate podcasters then finally high intermediate podcasters.

I am targeting specific podcasters. For example “russian with max”. My goal is not “I want to be fluent in russian”. My goal is “I want to be able to understand russian with max”. Then I might expand my goal to “I want to understand the ‘better than us’ russian language netflix series” and so on.

At some point, I expect I will find I am fluent. But setting a goal of “fluency” as in “I can understand anything” as a first goal is a recipe for giving up. IMO.

Baby steps.

EDIT: There’s something else… It helps you stay motivated by achieving small intermediate goals.
So I read further down and noticed you are doing French.

Here’s my tip for French to help with your motivation:
Go to youtube.
Find “alice ayel”.
Watch some of her stories. You’ll find you can understand a ton of them right off the bat. That will be motivating.
When you have finished a fair few of Alice Ayel’s videos, start watching the “innerfrench” guy. He speaks super clearly and uses only words from intermediate frequency. He is super easy to watch.
^^^ those two things should help your motivation.
Also: in between alice ayel and the innerfrench guy is “Extr@ french” which is kind of “friends” inspired TV series which gradually increases from super easy french to low intermediate. You might want to try that in between alice ayel and the innerfrench guy.

Other french podcasters I watched when I did french for six months were “Solange te parle”, “A piece of french” and at the end (my goal) “Cyprien” and “Squeezie”.

Hope that helps.