Another way to look at it:
You cannot spend a year reading without learning proper pronunciation if you wish to speak intellible.
A year of reading without being able to pronouce will fossilize a non-native accent, possible forever, but definitely difficult to fix – and it will have to be fixed at some point which will be at a very minimum as difficult as it would have been to get it close to correct in the beginning.
Olle Kjellin (Facebook Pronunciation Best Practice) has a theory that one should spend something like a couple of months, first listening, then just getting 10 or 20 sentences spoken perfectly (he believes just a few sentences will generalize to much of the language if prosody and other elements are near perfect in addition to simple pronunciation of the phonemes.
Not sure I agree completely with him but he makes a compelling case and I strongly suspect the truth is much closer to his method than most of us expect.
In any case, as an adult, I want to READ (LingQ) and LISTEN to a lot of the language, at a level that is interesting in order to learn the language unconsciously.
Reading requires pronunciation, even if you do it in your head you are still pronouncing (unless you are an accomplished speed reader and can go to fluent reading in a new language without going through the subvocalization stage.)
However, directly to speed reading want teach you word order, prosody or anything about “hearing” the spoken language, and it’s likely you would not pick up nearly as much vocabulary as quickly.
Speed readers read out of order even in reverse quite often, care little for noticing grammar markers, are comfortable with ambiguity so just ignore words they don’t know as long as the sense comes through.
As adults we also need vocabulary to avoid having to read every grammar/primary school book equivalent we read in our native language.
Comprehensible input requires knowing a number of words at least partially. Getting to 5000 recognizable words let’s us read interesting material sooner which is where we actually LEARN those 5000 words.
In a roman charater language you can burn through those 5000 words the first 30 days, and have them comfortable at 3 months.
This means we can read books for younger people at the first 1000 words or so, and by 5000 we can read most anything with dictionary support (at least in roman character languages.)
The sooner we can read material we enjoy and know more or less 80% of the words the sooner we can turn reading into a self-sustaining, truly pleasurable way to learn.
Much the same applies to listening, which requires words as ammunition to work through the trick of hearing continuous speech and of course many of us bridge this skill by watching movies and TV with subtitle in the TARGET language for a time or intermittently.
We eed pronunciation even to input our reading but we also need it to understand what others are saying (it’ related to mirror neurons which is a whole other post.)
We need vocabular to read and to understand spoken speech – especially at an interesting level.
As soon as we can pronounce understandly – comfortable for natives even if not perfectly – we can speed up our language development by speaking the target language as much as possible.
We all know – anyone who has ever tried to speak a foreign language – that nothing finds major holes in our vocabulary faster than trying to say something you just want to communcate to another person.
One new idea I am experimenting with is to learn the English (L1) frequency list in my target language.
After all, the things I’ll want to say are the 95% the same words and simple phrases that English speakers already say most often…
[Feel free to disagree, correct, expand, offer alternatives, as I am constantly working on optimizing this path and so do not (yet) expect that it is as effective as it could be…]