Ways of improving listening skills

I find that my listing skills in French are well behind my reading and speaking skills in the language. I am at Intermediate 1 level and understand about 80 - 90% of an article when I read it, but if I was to just listen to the same article before reading it I am lucky if I understand 20%.

No doubt other people experience the same thing but I definitely have a weakness with listening as I attend a small French conversation group and although I am probably the best at speaking and reading, I seem to be one of the worst at understanding the speaking within the group.

I am keen to hear members views, particularly those who might have a similar problem, on the most efficient way within LingQ of improving listening skills. Is it:-

  1. Listening to an article two or three times without reading it first, trying to understand it. Only on reaching the limits of understanding in listening, reading it to get a fuller understanding, or;

  2. Reading the article first, then listening to it whilst reading at the same time, then listening only to see how much is understood (clearly much more), or;

  3. Halfway between the two above, i.e. reading the article first then listening without reading along and trying to get fuller understanding.

There may better ways than these three. I find 1, above difficult and frustrating and do not look forward to it. I enjoy doing 2 above and although it makes me spend more time with the language, I am not sure it is the most effective method.

I would be most interested in members thoughts.

Hours of native level listening.
At an early stage, listening 24 times to a 1 hour file is better than listening to 24 files of one hour.
You’ll probably want to have shorter file than one hour and I am sure you’ll want to have a few hours of files. If you work with one hour file only you will get tired of listening to it before you understand anything.
Don’t try to understand everything, first you’ll get sounds, then words but very few of them, try to understand the general sense, you will understand more and more - it will take time.
Play with speed, listening at slow pace will help you to understand more, listening at faster pace will make normal pace sounds more easy.

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I forgot.
You probably feel your progress to be very slow. Take a short break from french and try listening to another language you never listen to before. You’ll understand how far you already are in understanding french. If you think you are done, sorry.
Try listening to something new in french. Don’t worry it will come with more time.

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Listening is a more difficult skill than reading or even writing.
But this skill is very important because without understanding your partner you can’t have a real conversation.
However, it you undertrand only 20% of the content by listening, it’s sensless to listen before reading.
Read and listen at the same time - you can improve by that you listening and not to be frustrated.
After you undestand 60-70% of the content you can listen without reading IMO.

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