I spent three years learning Spanish in high school and never reached this accomplishment. I really don’t understand why this wasn’t even a goal or activity talked about in those classes.
Last year, during the height of the pandemic, I decided to try learning Spanish seriously again. I downloaded a bunch of kids books that were way above my level. I was using Anki, taking iTalki classes, using DuoLingo, trying Pimsleur, and doing massive audio input with podcasts. And my progress was so slow, so unnoticeable that I lost most of my motivation.
This year, I decided to just focus on reading, with the aim of being able to comfortably read novels by 2022. I got to about 12-13K known words on LingQ before I decided to revisit my collection of children’s books.
Today, I finished Los 2 Mellizos en: Los Bichos y el Químico Loco by Amy Potter. It’s free on Amazon and aimed at 7-year-olds. It took me two days to read and while I wouldn’t say it was a comfortable read, I understood the entire story. Miraculous!
I was a Scholastic Book Fair kid and this feels so much like that. Being able to read at this level has given me access to an entire new world of children’s literature. So exciting!
If you made it through this long post, my big question is what would you recommend I do next? I’ll definitely keep reading books, but I’m wondering if I should do a more intensive read of this book and break down all of the new/fuzzy vocab, phrases, and grammar?
I’ve been using DuoLingo in addition to LingQ and I’ve found that the more intensive studying / forced grammar repetition actually helps my reading ability so I’m wondering if studying this book more closely would help in the same way. What have you guys done?
¡Enhorabuena! Es un enorme logro y está claro que es el fruto de una gran dedicación. Comprendo perfectamente que estés emocionada, a mí me pasa igual cuando consigo algo así en un nuevo idioma.
Personalmente, cuando yo alcanzo un nivel suficiente en un idioma para poder leer novelas lo que hago es leer más. Te recomendaría en concreto pasar a leer novelas que te interesen en Lingq e ir subiendo el nivel. Descubrirás que mejoras muchísimo con cada nueva novela. En concreto creo que es mejor que leas novelas escritas originalmente en español. Si te interesa la literatura juvenil prueba con la colección “Barco de Vapor”. Te recomiendo que en general leas en Lingq, aun cuando puedas leer independientemente. Ya the has demostrado a ti misma que puedes hacerlo, lo que es muy importante, pero para mejorar es bueno poder consultar cada palabra de forma cómoda y seguir las estadísticas que te proporciona Lingq. Por supuesto, añade lectura independiente cuando te entren ganas, toda exposición al idioma es positiva.
Al mismo tiempo, lo que yo suelo hacer a ese nivel es comenzar a ver vídeos sin subtítulos en youtube, en concreto vídeos no muy largos sobre temas que te interesen y dirigidos a nativos. Ayuda mucho que ofrezcan un contexto rico, por ejemplo los tutoriales sobre actividades físicas: deportes, baile, reparaciones, …
De esa forma, puedes solo leer en LIngq, sin tener que buscar audio, y a la vez entrenar tu oído con los vídeos. Añade a tus estadísticas de escucha en Lingq el tiempo que hayas estado viendo vídeos. Eso es lo que yo suelo hacer y estoy contento con los resultados.
Por supuesto, en algún momento puedes plantearte comenzar a practicar conversación, sea a distancia o mediante inmersión en algún país de habla hispana.
Ánimo y mucho éxito
Like yourself, I bought a few books in German meant for 9 years old. They use very simple grammar structures, however, the range of vocabulary makes it impossible to do a free flow reading. My goal is to reach 40K known words on LingQ and then revisit them again to see If I can read them fluently. I have more work to do in this regard. Right now I have put them on the back burner.
What I am doing right now is to focus on reading “bilingual books” because parallel translation in English makes it an easy read and improves my vocabulary range. And, I am also not lost for an overall plot.
Maybe you can give bilingual books a try and see how the same ideas are expressed in Spanish and in the process if you can pick up more vocabulary and grammar structures. (Added advantage: you are not constantly looking up words thus not disrupting the flow of reading.)
The most important words will keep coming up if you increase your reading dosage. I think it is counterproductive to memorize less important words until the cow comes. I will simply lookout for ways to make my reading experience more comprehensible. Therefore, I recommend reading bilingual books.
Writing in English because my Spanish writing is slow and bad. But thank you for all of the great advice!! I will add the Barco de Vapor collection to my list of books to read.
I definitely plan on reading in LingQ still. I’m actually reading an adult novel in LingQ right now. But for these children’s books, I’m not able to upload them to LingQ without downloading software and removing the DRM on them which I don’t want to do, so I’ll have to read them independently. I also agree with you about it being better to read works that were originally written in Spanish. I don’t know where Amy Potter is from but she only writes in Spanish. My next Spanish book will be Los Fantasmas de Fernando by a Mexican author.
The idea about YouTube videos is a good one I haven’t thought of. I follow a couple of Spanish YouTube channels about books so I may start importing those into LingQ.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to read my post and reply with your wisdom!
Getting to 40K known words is a goal of mine as well! I feel by then, I will be able to read adult books more comfortably.
I did find myself looking up some words when I started reading this children’s book, but after a few pages, I realized that I didn’t need to know every single word in order to understand what was happening. Once I let go of that desire to know every single word, I was able to sit back, read, and enjoy. It may have helped that Spanish and English aren’t so far apart though.
You are the second person to say I should just keep reading, so I’ll do that. And I’ll be on the look out for bilingual books that interest me.
40K known words are not the actual 40K known words. Just keep this in mind. They are a lot lesser because of different forms of the same word being treated as a separate word on LingQ.
They are kind of inflated. In any case, the more , the better.
I would find another book that you enjoy and read that and after that another book and so on. If you can listen at the same time the better if not find something you can listen to if you can. Cheers.