Learn/Teach English – Help for the discouraged intermediate Learner

It happens to all of us second language learners – we get discouraged from time to time.  It’s called the doldrums.  We don’t sense we are making any progress toward our goal of being able to speak and understand this new language well.

So what will help?  In this video, I share my personal experience with Spanish and how adding more reading to my day has removed the discouragement and fueled this next phase of language acquisition.


Reading is Best for the Intermediate Stage

Hey there. Are you at the intermediate level of learning English?  Have you been working with English for a while? Are you feeling discouraged about how well you can understand or even speak English?  I have a suggestion for you that might help. So, sit back, relax, listen and just try to understand as much as you can.

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

Maybe you have been working with English for a while and maybe you hoped, you thought, you might be better able to understand or speak English now. And you aren’t where you want it to be. That is normal and I feel the same way about my Spanish. 

You probably know that I’ve been working on my Spanish for about a year and a half. And right now I have invested, I have invested, I have spent about 720 or so hours in Spanish. 

Yes, I write down how much time I spend listening to Spanish podcasts/people, watching YouTube videos in Spanish, reading Spanish, hearing Spanish. I write down how many hours a day. So, I keep track of it.

Recently, hm….two, three weeks ago. I was feeling discouraged. I was feeling like I’m not getting any better and it’s gonna take hours and hours of doing the same thing. It seemed….ah… disheartening, discouraging. But then I had a thought. I had an idea.

I decided to add more reading in Spanish to my day without increasing the time. So, I reduced the time I spent watching Spanish YouTube videos and I upped, I increased, the time I spent reading. 

Let me tell you, this change has made a big difference! Within one week I started to feel like I was making progress. It was very encouraging.

I also found out that I was looking forward to reading. When I thought, ‘Oh, I get to read in Spanish’, that made me feel happy. 

Well, you might ask:  “Maria, what are you reading in Spanish? What can I read in English?”

I switched reading my Bible every morning from English to Spanish. For Mother’s Day in May Mike bought me a small Spanish-language Bible and I’ve used it. I take it to church. I take it to church because it’s small and it helps. 

But I wasn’t reading it all the time for my morning, quiet time with the Lord. But I started doing that and I began to recognize lots and lots of words and they started to stick in my brain. What else did I read?

When somebody was making a podcast that I listened to, I would print out the transcript, the written words,(like for this video I’ll make a transcript) and I would read the transcripts. I do read the transcripts…uh… after I listen and that helps. 

I read blog posts in Spanish. I read text messages in WhatsApp,  messages in Spanish. I have been texting more and more with people. So, I am reading their Spanish and I’m writing Spanish.

Do I look up words for writing? Yes, I do, I do. I check, I check with Google translate to make sure, especially if I don’t know the word.

Do I look up words in the reading? No, I don’t. In my Bible, I just underline in pencil a word that I really don’t know. Because I think: ‘Maybe next year when I come to this passage again, I will know the word.’  But I don’t look up words in the Spanish book I’m reading, I’m reading a book on my Kindle in Spanish and I don’t look up the words. I read to get the general idea.

So, that’s my suggestion. That’s my experience. You might try it. It might help, it might not. We all learn differently. We have different learning styles.

But if you do decide to give it a try, to try reading more, tell me about it. Leave me a comment below this video or go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com You’ll find the transcripts there and you can also comment that way and let me know what works for you. 

And if you have a different suggestion and you are at the intermediate stage, let me know!  That, that might help me with my Spanish. Well, that’s it for this episode. This is Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments. Here’s my email.)



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