As I understand it, language learning isn’t really done out of a textbook or any sort of study necessarily. You learn a language by immersing in it. So, consuming podcasts, shows, books, media, what have you… native material of course. Don’t get me wrong, study is important. It helps build the structure which allows you to actually understand what you hear and read.
But that’s just a theory I subscribe to and not actual, helpful advice. So spiel over, now for practical stuff.
(Disclaimer, this is just what I do and have found useful but YMMV. I hope it might give you some ideas… Apologies if I get carried away)
Obviously, the best way to get better at listening is to, well, listen. And do a lot of it. I started immersing in a lot of content a little while ago and already my listening comprehension has increased noticeably.
Before I started, I could barely keep up with the Genki Workbook audio comprehension clips. Now when I’m watching a fairly basic Slice of Life anime or Youtuber, I can pick up on a lot more and get the general idea of what’s going on. Of course visual cues help too. But it’s the same with podcasts.
Often times I’ll watch content with Japanese subtitles and read that. As well, I like to read NHK news easy and a few other sites around. One thing I’ve noticed is that my reading ability is leaps and bounds better than my speaking and listening, as you have as well. I definitely credit WK with this. Aozora bunko is an online library of Japanese content that is past copyright so it’s free to read online. As well as Bilingual manga, which you can quickly switch b-n English and Japanese.
I would highly recommend watching Cure Dolly’s Japanese from Scratch series on Youtube. I just finished it up a few weeks ago and it was incredibly enlightening. I have been studying Japanese for a decent while now and the way she presents Japanese as the logical language that it is filled in a lot of gaps that textbook learning had left for me. The series is around 75 videos long, but I just listened to it at 2x speed and watched maybe 2-3 videos a day. It might take some getting used to the Android gimmick (you’ll understand if you decide to watch them) but the content is fantastic.
This one I’m not really sure how to approach. I, in large part, subscribe to the Mass Immersion Approach (MIA) / AJATT method (although not nearly as extreme) which basically says that speaking early on only serves to develop bad habits and it’s unrealistic to assume a native speaker would correct you constantly, much less if you even have access to one to speak with. However, I’m planning on studying abroad in Japan next semester, so speaking is something I’ll definitely have to do. At the moment, I’ve not really found a good solution to this. I’ll let you know what I come up with
My day looks something like this:
I try to actively immerse at least 3 hours a day (1 hour of audio, 1 hour of reading, 1 hour of SRS w/ native audio) Usually I do more, sometimes I do less, it just depends on how much schoolwork I have. When I’m doing schoolwork, usually I just throw on a podcast in Japanese or listen to some of the audio that I’ve ripped off of shows I’ve previously watched. I finished up Cure Dolly, so now I’ve started watching Nihongo no Mori’s N3 series on Youtube, which is actually taught in Japanese. To my surprise though, I’m able to understand it fairly well. So far I like it, but I’m only a few videos in.
Anyway, that’s my spiel. Take it with a grain of salt of course. I’m by no means an expert. But so far I’m happy with how it’s been working out for me. Like I mentioned, I’m planning on going to Japan soon, so I’ve been going ham on my studies. Especially being a student in quarantine, I’m blessed to be in a situation that affords me time to focus on my studies. Again, apologies for rambling. And best of luck to you in your studies!