Fast reading and Dickens!
Alex, when I was a child, David Copperfield was one of my favourite novels too! I can still remember finding this very old set of Charles Dickens novels on the windowsill of my primary school classroom. The books were tiny with very small print and very thin paper that was gold rimmed. They looked like prayer books. Because they were so small I could read them under my desk when I was bored! Come to think of it, this kind of reading probably contributed to my short sightedness which was diagnosed a few years later. I was only about nine or ten when I began to read Charles Dickens and I think that there were a lot of words that I didn't understand but I was drawn into the rich descriptive passages and of course the really strong characterisationand plot of his novels.
I read a lot of classic novels from that windowsill and lots of them I only partially understood but I learnt to read on without worrying too much about all the words that I didn't understand. Of course the more I read the more I developed my vocabulary through just guessing. I can't remember ever looking up words or even asking anybody about meaning. I just liked reading fast and I still do!
You mention articles and phrasal verbs as being very difficult to get right. I think most learners would agree with you there. I'm afraid that I don't have any special technique that I can suggest except to read more and notice more. Sounds simple but it isn't, I know. Both of these parts of language are very high frequency and in a way insiduous. You have probably been taught lots of rules about their use but actually find it difficult to apply them. Read more and identify any uses of articles that stick out to you for any reason. It's true that phrasal verbs are much more prevalent in speech. I just had a quick check of what I had written but couldn't find many here.I've highlighted some patterns with articles and a few phrasal verbs today and will try and do this in the future too.
Lexis and patterns from today;
on the widowsill
come to think of it
to be drawn into something
the rich descrptive passages
the really strong characterisation
to learn to read on
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