In my opinion most of language learning is listening. Once the sentences begin to make sense to your ears,you can begin to speak.
Personally,after my course at school that gave me the basis, I really started learning English by listenning to songs while I brushed it up with a Assimil book and cd's.Then I watched series and films.First with French subtitles,then English ones.
and of course,each time I had the opportunity I talked to anglophones, as soon as I realised I could build sentences.
A few months ago I read a Harry Potter book in the original language.
But I 've just realised recently I was advanced. First ,one of my friend on Italki told me.But also and especially when I passed a level test in English,just yesterday.
I've also just read yesterday that being able to read a book is a proficient ability.and JK Rowling is not so easy to read
Here's my experience with English. Currently I'm trying to reproduce it with German and Spanish.