Would you get discouraged if you read the first page of a novel in the language you wanted to learn, and couldn't understand a word of it?
I would normally advise you to firstly read that little bit of your language text book that tells you what noise each letter makes ( I get a bit discouraged if I don't know how to pronounce the words to myself in my head).
Then start to read your novel. Don't be discouraged if you don't understand a word of the first page. Carry on reading the first chapter at the same pace you read in english, without looking up anywords in a dictionary, and without re-reading anything. When you have finished the chapter note to yourself anything at all that you picked up about that first chapter. I am sure you will be suprised at what you can say about it.
Now read the next bit of your language text book. Don't bother with their exercises, don't try to memorise any of the vocabulary, just read what they are teaching you.
Then read chapter two of your novel.
Does anyone want to try it? Or nominate a language that you would like me to demonstrate this on?