i think what you are doing is a good technique - in the beginning. i teach pali sometimes. i use the same technique to help students to translate pali to english - but only in the beginning.
in english the verb comes after the subject. since you are familiar with the sentence structure in english, your method would make you feel more comfortable while translating / learning pali.
but to get a feel of the pali language, you can also start reading the pali texts. choose the suttas (translated ones) that you like. then try to read them in pali. your mind will gradually absorb the way the sentences are structured in pali.
at the same time continue with your lily de silva book. later you can get grammar books by other authors as well - for cross reference.
metta and mudita to you.