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dbo Offline OP
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I purchased the PhotoReading course several months ago, but never found the time to learn it. As I got further and further behind in all of my reading, I finally decided to make it a priority to learn PhotoReading. Even though I have a lot of different things I want to use PhotoReading for, I decided to make learning the Italian language my first application, because it would be easy to evaluate my progress since I was not studying it in the conventional way.

I got interested in learning Italian through a Skype laughter club based in Italy. They have regular laughter calls, and during a call there is no talking (only laughing), all "talking" is done by writing in the chat window. Since most of the people on the call are from Italy, most of the writing in the chat window is in Italian. Since I have an interest in learning foreign languages anyway, I decided to see how much Italian I could learn from the chat sessions (without any outside study). I have been doing this for months, and learned the common greetings and some other things. Some of the Italians in the laughter club also became my Facebook friends, so I am also exposed to a lot of Italian in Facebook postings....

Once I decided to learn PhotoReading, I started with the PhotoReading book, and did the "Level 1" reading. I also skimmed through the email messages I had received after I purchased the PhotoReading course. Then I started using PhotoReading....

When I decided to use Italian as the first subject of my PhotoReading, I went to a bookstore to find books that would be suitable for PhotoReading. I already had a purpose and some questions, so I previewed each book to see if the format was suitable, and then did a PhotoReading step #3 of the book to see how well the PhotoReading process would flow. I ended up getting three books in print format, and then I bought a couple of e-books as well.

After PhotoReading the books in the bookstore, I noticed later that my reading comprehension of Facebook postings had improved significantly. Before PhotoReading the Italian books, I would try to pick out the words I recognized / knew in the Facebook postings, and usually I would need to look at the translation to understand it. However, after the PhotoReading, I would try to read the old way at first, word-by-word ... but then I switched to reading the way I read in English, just letting the words flow by. All of a sudden, I started to understand the structure and context of the sentences, and I could guess what a lot of the words were by the context, similar to how we can guess new words when reading something in English. When postings are only 1-2 sentences long, I could often understand them without relying on the translation.

Next, I PhotoRead one of the e-books. It was a vocabulary book with about 5300 entries, so it was like a smaller version of a dictionary. My e-reader device had a small screen size, so I had to read lots and lots of screens. I did the PhotoReading step #3 for the entire e-book in one sitting, just to see how long it would take, and it took me 45 minutes. It would have been more effective to PhotoRead it in 15 minute sessions, however. I also listened to the companion audio CD from the other e-book one night. I turned down the volume low enough so I could still hear it, but not so loud that it would keep me awake. I did not make any effort to consciously listen to it, so it was getting downloaded to my nonconscious mind, similar to PhotoReading....

After PhotoReading the vocabulary e-book, I gained even more confidence in reading Italian postings, and now I browse through the Italian postings in a similar way as I browse through the English ones. I can get a sense of what the Italian postings are about, and decide if I want to read it more thoroughly and understand it better. I usually don't even look at the translation, unless it is something more important to me. While I sometimes understand things wrong in Italian, I usually do understand what it is about.... Also, in the Skype sessions, I am understanding more and more without looking it up in the dictionary. I do make a note of words I want to learn, and then use those as trigger words for future PhotoReading sessions. And lately, a couple of the people in the Skype laughter club commented on how well I speak/write Italian now. So, it is not just my imagination.

I think that much of my increased understanding of Italian is because I am applying the PhotoReading principles / mindset to how I read in the Italian language.

I had an interesting experience this week with PhotoReading. I took my car in for service, and while I was waiting, I PhotoRead part of the vocabulary e-book again. This time, I did all of the steps for one letter at a time, so I went through the steps for all of the A's first, then the B's, etc. After the PhotoReading step #3, I activated by skimming and selecting Italian words that I had seen before and wanted to learn. Also, some of the words are in a different color font, because these are considered to be the most essential words to learn, so I activated those words as well. My activation process was to first try to guess the meaning of a word, and then look at the meaning. After getting the meaning of one word, I just moved on to the next word of interest, I did not make the usual effort to try to memorize it. I think it is important to maintain a flow while PhotoReading, and not get stuck anywhere. Just have confidence that I am getting what I need.

When I was PhotoReading the Italian vocabulary book, I imagined that I was in a room with all of the Italians in the Skype laughter club, and that the room was full of Italian language knowledge and I was absorbing this knowledge while I was PhotoReading.... When my car was ready, I went over to the cashier, who was at the opposite side of the room from where I had been PhotoReading. He looked at the bill for my car, and he started to read off the amount in Italian, then he caught himself, and apologized saying he didn't know why he did that, he never did that before! I am not making this up. He told me that he was born in Italy, and so Italian was his first language. By the way, I was probably 15-20 feet away from him while I was PhotoReading, so there is no way he consciously would have known that I was PhotoReading an Italian book, and since I was using an e-reader there was no book cover either.

I am also starting to use PhotoReading for reading in English, but I will post about that later in separate threads....

I am wondering if anyone else has experience learning a foreign language using PhotoReading, as well as any feedback on my PhotoReading methods.

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dbo, Very informative and motivating post. Paul Scheele (Photoreading Creator) did write about increased intuition from PR so your experience with the Italian mechanic may have something to do with that.
I am going to use PR to help with learning French and Spanish shortly so it is really fascinating to read about your PR language learning experience so please keep on writing about it.

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Let us know how you go.

Alex

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dbo Offline OP
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Since the last time I posted here, I have been starting to use PhotoReading for books in English, so I have not been spending much time PhotoReading Italian. However, last week I PhotoRead an Italian phrasebook with about 1500 entries in PDF format. The next day, I watched a new 5-minute talk from one of my Facebook friends. In the past, I understood little or nothing of what she was saying, because she talks so fast. But this time, I was able to follow along with it and learn from it. There was still a lot that went over my head, but I felt like I understood what she was talking about, and I could have taken notes on some of the material. Maybe the most interesting thing was that I recognized words that I have trouble pronouncing, including one word which I could not figure out how to pronounce before. When I heard her pronunciation, I instantly recognized the word, and it seems easy to pronounce now. Another thing I noticed was that I was using her intonation to increase my understanding and comprehension of her talk.

While I expected PhotoReading to help with my reading skills, I did not expect it to help much with my listening skills.

Over the past month, I have continued to see improvement with my reading skills in Italian. Some days are better than others. I think a lot of it has to do with my mindset when I am reading something in Italian. When I am in the PhotoReading mindset, I read something in layers, I don't try to understand everything in the first reading. I can then do additional readings / passes to get deeper comprehension, if I have the time and interest. While my comprehension level in Italian is not nearly as deep as in English, I am finding some of the Italian materials to be just as interesting and engaging as many English materials, so my Italian comprehension level is "good enough" in some cases.

I recently purchased the Easy Learn Languages course, and I am interesting in trying the Easy Learn Languages Paraliminal. I expect this Paraliminal to be helpful in learning Italian, as well as being in an optimal mindset when I am reading or listening to Italian.

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That's great, thanks for sharing.

Alex


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