When to start using other materials?
I know the answer is probably 'straight away!' but i'm on the second stage of the tree and still can't read much Dutch. I've found an online childrens book and can't read that yet.
I was wondering when other people felt that they could read other materials e.g. very basic books, or listen to spoken text e.g. podcasts and music.
Every so often i lose my motivation so it would be nice having an idea of when i would be able to read something outside of Duolingo :)
I think it's a good idea to use other beginner's resources, such as textbooks or other websites that are a bit more grammar oriented and a bit more traditional in their structure. Maybe check out wikibooks, they have textbooks for many languages (I'm not sure about the quality, but it's worth a shot if you don't want to spend money).
Personally I like Lingq to read texts, but it's not free.
I enjoy exploring anything about the language I am learning. While learning on this site, you can explore children's and adults lessons on Youtube. I have found many lessons on YT(children cartoons, or teaching children Dutch also many grownups, such as: Learn Dutch lessons with Bart de Pau) that are very helpful and help clarify certain concepts. Good luck!!
I'm not using any external materials and I'm doing just fine. I've been thinking about getting Rosetta Stone (I've used it before and I really, really like it) but you don't need to splurge cash on that - Memrise, Babbel, or hands down my favourite Anki are also pretty good sources.
I started when I was about 3 sections into the tree trying to read a kid's book. I basically translated 1 page every day or two - my vocabulary was so limited it was a pretty big strain. That's about all you can expect, at the start you just don't know most of the words, let alone grammar, idioms, etc.
Soon after, I started watching Dutch kids TV, preferably on topics I had some kind of grounding in. Het Klokhuis is great on npo.nl (http://www.npo.nl/het-klokhuis/VPWON_1256937), it has subtitles available, and since you can actually see what's going on, you can infer a lot of the words. Great for expanding vocabulary and getting a sense of how conversation flows, as well as hearing words in different voices. Also, I got to learn about all the foods to look forward to when I move there in June ;)