New Language Mission: Spanish through LR (Listening – Reading) Method

Hello! As many of you know, I’ve been hard at work for the last few months on writing and marketing new language related books. It’s been a roller coaster and I am ready to dive back into some real language learning again and today is the day I’m going to start a new language challenge!

So, the new challenge is to learn Spanish to a true level of conversational fluency utilizing only the LR Method, AKA: the Listening Reading Method. The LR method has been around for awhile and has a few fans who are adamant about its effectiveness. It is also, however, looked upon with quite a bit of skepticism in the language learning community as it seems to be fairly difficult to find very many people who have actually tried it and reported on its results. In fact, I routinely see questions on forums, Reddit, and Facebook groups asking about it with little to no real responses. I’m going to change that.


What exactly is involved in this Spanish language challenge?

I am going to dedicate 40 hours over the course of the next 30 days to using only the LR method to learn Spanish to conversational fluency (approx: B1-B2 CEFR level). The book I am going to use is “The Poet” by Micheal Connelly. I have both the English and Spanish texts as well as the audiobook in Spanish. I plan to:

1. Listen to the Spanish audio while following along with the English text. (18.5 hours)

2. Listen to the Spanish audio again, while following along with the Spanish text. (18.5 hours)

3. Relisten to only the Spanish audio of my three favorite chapters. (3 hours)

At the end of the challenge, I am going to record a 30 minute iTalki tutoring session with a Spanish native speaker who is familiar with CEFR levels and ask them to asses my Spanish.

I will use no other reference materials, books, audio, or video involving Spanish for the next 45 days.

What is my Spanish level now?

My current level of Spanish is approximately A1. I know maybe 100 words (outside of cognates)in Spanish and a few dozen basic phrases here and there. I am not functional at the moment. A few years ago, I could function around A2, but haven’t used any Spanish for at least 2 years at this point.

I truly have no expectations at this point and have absolutely no idea whether or not this will prove to be even the least bit effective. I will post updates at least once per week.

Wish me luck!

I Have All the Language Toys! – Now What?

     If you’re like me, you are probably super excited about learning a language. You probably also enjoy what I call “The resource round-up”. What is the “resource round-up”? It’s that exciting stage right BEFORE you dive into learning a new language when you scrounge for resources to help propel your learning to new heights. I’ll talk about how to do a proper round-up in a future post.

     For now, let’s assume you are all “resourced up” and ready to explode! I’ll paint the picture. You’ve got a dozen free language websites in your favorites with all the vocabulary lists, grammar points, common phrases, native audio, and encouragement you could ever possibly want. You’ve gone on an shopping spree and now you have 6 or 8 or 20 new books including multiple courses, vocabulary books, dictionaries, verb guides, and who knows what else because you really haven’t looked them over that well yet. Maybe you’ve downloaded some podcasts, audio courses, or even some simple audiobooks. Maybe your bookshelf looks something like one of mine:

my shelf     Maybe it looks like a less (or even more) extreme version of mine.  Basically, we are assuming that you are 100% totally geared and psyched up to drive your shelf into Language World and kick some major butt.  You’ve got the firepower.  You’ve got the attitude and the confidence.  You’ve got the desire.  What’s stopping you?

     Oh yeah…  What do I do now?  I always run into this too.  Honestly, it doesn’t get much easier the more languages you know.  I’ve never started two languages the exact same way.  No two languages are the same, why should the methods be?

You may be saying “Great advice Sherlock, what am I supposed to do now?”  Well, bear with me for a little while longer and I will have you ready to move on from “Resource Round-up” to “Language Launch” in a matter of minutes. Read More

How To Set Language Learning Goals You Can Reach

I imagine that we are all familiar with the concept of goals and if you are reading this after reading the title of this post, then I’m also assuming that you believe (at least to some extent) that goals are important.  In fact I would bet that as a language learner, you have many goals.  I would also bet that you have made goals in the past that you were not (for some reason or another) able to reach.  I know I have. Read More


Language Learning Goals for 2014- Mandarin, Spanish, and Indonesian

Hello fellow language enthusiasts!  It’s about that time.  In this post, I’d like to lay out my language plans for 2014.  This will be an ambitious year indeed as I look to add THREE (3) , yes III, languages to my “speaks conversationally” list, bringing the total to 6.  What do I consider “conversational fluency?  Good question.  Here is a quick and dirty explanation of what I consider conversational fluency and consequently, what I aim for on my personal language missions: Read More