You’ll find a great deal of discussion about those topics in this site. Let’s say that there are different approaches.
Most people using this site subscribe to some extent to Steve Kaufmann’s suggestion that (after some time browsing through introductory, more grammar-based material), the critical step consists of exposing oneself to a lot of “input” in the shape of both reading material and audio in the target language. As you familiarize yourself with the language through that input, you begin talking with natives.
I’ve explained my own current routine in a separate thread:
¡Feliz año nuevo, Ftornay, con unos días de retraso! Thanks for your words about how to learn a language. Currently I am doing a lot of input, reading and listening a lot, and trying to accumulate vocabulary. I do not forget about writing (not in this site) and speaking skills, little by little. I will read your words about your study routine. Thanks a lot! Regards!
I think the people here on this site have it right: Speak sometimes, listen a lot, and read even more.
I read at least 1500 words a day, and try to listen when I can (when I’m not in college, I would even listen upwards up to an hour a day), and read out loud when I can. I need to start to really focus on listening and practicing conversations.
However, I am not a fan of how this site is organized. The library makes it very difficult for me search for texts. If it was organized via topics (such as Science, History, Current Events, and Conversation practice), it would make things much more simple and accessible. Example, one can only get so far when learning about topics that don’t pertain to every day situations.
At least, some of my shared podcasts in Russian, German and English I try to organize via topical courses, for example in Russian:
Русский с нуля (lessons for beginners)
Рассказы о России
5 минут о политике
Страницы истории России
Пословицы и поговорки
О природе и животных
Or my English courses:
Let’s start (lessons for beginners)
The English prepositions
English Grammar and Vocabulary
Conversations with Evgueny (My interviews with the native speakers)
News and politics
How we learn languages
Everyday topics in embedded lessons
About the American Presidentrs
Customs and traditions
Or in German:
Deutsch von Anfang an (lessons for beginners)
Alltagsthemen in verschiedenen Niveaus
Geschichte und Kultur
Deutsch als Geschäftssprache
Grammatik und Synonymie
Wie wir Sprachen lernen
Kurze Sachtexte usw.
Hi Dimethylamine! Thanks for your view about language learning! I am doing a lot of reading and listening (in this case, when I am at the bus stop (while I am waiting for the bus to my job), on the bus, while I go to walk (sometimes between two or three hours). I think I need to start conversations with native speakers, but it is difficult to find people with similar interests (how to learn languages, History, Art, etc). On the other hand, I think you are right about how the library is organized. Thanks for your words! And, sorry for my poor English.