I'm so into tadoku that I sometimes can't understand why not all of the people wanting to be a fluent user of English are hooked up with tadoku. Tadoku works not only for your reading ability but all aspects of you using English. I can enjoy TED speeches or podcast programs and that's because I learned/acquired lots of new words and phrases from tadoku, reading many kinds of books. I can speak English far better than other English learners in general even I've rarely attended English conversations classes. Of course, books I can read easily were greatly increased , and so far my weakest skill, writing, has gotten much better than I've expected some years ago.
Then what is that controversial title? It might not be the case for many of you, but I came to notice that my way of speaking is always like making a sentence and it's not at all like natural conversation like native speakers do. So what if I go easy on reading and try to have more time to speak. Speaking lessons are terribly expensive and I'm not so crazy about spending big money on chitchat time, but unfortunately, there is nobody I can enjoy speaking in English with, so it can't be helped but to spend a little bit as an experiment.
The first approach I came up with is an online conversation class and I've tried three different companies. There seem to be more than one hundred companies for online conversation and many of them area based in Philippine. The advantage of those companies is definitely the cost. I don't know the average price, but I took some lessons with 500 yen for 25 minutes. It's equivalent to drinking a cup of coffee in Tokyo, so it's not too much just to see if the system works right for you or you'll be able to fine a good partner teacher. I had a talk with about five teachers so far and I came to like one young male teacher. He's like my son and he's really interested in Japanese culture or people, been to Tokyo once and planning to come back again soon, so I'll have a lesson with him once a week or so.
Yet, I was not fully satisfied with those lessons because almost all teachers are not native speakers of English, so sometimes I'm a bit bored because there are no phrases or words they speak that I'm not familiar with. Of course their fluency is much much bigger than me, but it seems my irrevocably exceeds theirs and I have to rephrase what I want to say. It's bothersome and annoying when you ARE the student...
Luckily, I was able to find another online conversation company and whose teachers are all from English speaking counties. I had a class only with two teachers, but one male teacher is a semi retired person and I thought I'd have lots to talk with him. It's not as inexpensive as other lessons, but 1000 yen for 25 minutes are still affordable, I think.
Huh! I was talking about my experiences of online conversation and already wrote this much.... before I mention anything related to the title... My my... let me try to explain in short. As you read lots of books, you'll get used to written expressions but not colloquial ones, so it could refrain you from having a comfortable relaxing conversation. That's what I'm wondering lately.